Team Stay Gold’s story begins with the words every boat owner dreads hearing… “Your engine is shot and you’ll need a new one” What my wife heard was “This is going to cost you your first born child” and what I heard was “IT’S TIME TO GO BOAT SHOPPING!”
For the next few weeks I was a sailor without a boat. As an active-duty Navy Chief who spends more time on the water than he does on dry land, being without a boat was like a landlubber being without a place to call home. For weeks I spent nearly every waking hour searching YachtWorld and Craigslist, visiting marinas, checking sailboat forums and generally obsessing about being without a boat… until at long last, I saw her. The one. She was (bright) gold in color, set up to race, had a brand new engine and was within our budget.
She was also dirty, beat up and had been sitting in the marina, neglected for over a year and half with no place to call home. She was longing to go to sea, just as I was. My wife asked, ‘are you sure?’ and with that we adopted her as part of our family.
We briefly looked into repainting her to a non-yellow based color, until we received the cost estimate – at which time we decided gold was a good color for a boat and with that she was destined to Stay Gold! Before long, the local race circuit was calling. Despite my newness to racing, I am an experienced sailor and I’m always looking for an opportunity to be out on the water. It was important to me to build a crew not necessarily of seasoned sailors, but of individuals hungry for adventure, and anxious to sail, race and learn. Team Stay Gold is only as strong as the sailors that take her to sea so we’ve built our crew of mechanics, students, entrepreneurs and service-members, utilizing each individual’s unique skillset to adapt and overcome to the obstacles we’re faced with out at sea.
With zero racing experience but a ton of heart and a group of adventurous and willing individuals in place, we signed up for a local buoy race.
Naturally, we were late to the start, messed up on all the basics and hardly even finished within the time limit allowed – but we were hooked. Since that first terrible performance (admittedly not the last), our class standings haven’t improved much, but that’s not what we’re about. We’ve experienced some kind of issue during nearly every major race. Spinnakers blowing up, narrowly missing running aground on Blakely Island trying to dodge an out of control competitor and losing control of our main when the outhaul sheared in 15 knot winds.
We find parallels between our lives, our boat and our crew on every outing. We’re all works-in-progress, working hard to give our all – even when faced with major adversity, keeping in mind it’s not about the destination but the journey along the way. Team Stay Gold has evolved into more than just a race team.