Rent a Regatta Experience
Once in a while, a business venture so closely aligns with cultural trends that it seems like one gave birth to the other.
The newly developed opportunity by Open Ocean Experience (OOE) may qualify for that perception by creating an experience without the constraint of possession.
According to OOE’s creator Jesse Fielding, “The desire for bucket list experiences is one of the key drivers of the high-end travel industry, participating in a grand prix sailing event or record attempt is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events.”
The common thread of all these regattas is the participation of the fastest, most competitive boats in the world. Crewed by top sailing masters, navigators, weather routers, and crew, these maxi-class racing machines represent the state of the art in construction and design. The only caveat is that competing at this level is both extremely expensive and perhaps more importantly; time-consuming. A multi-regatta campaign can easily be $5 million a year.
The other option that has been available is to seek out, negotiate and charter one of these competitive boats. While that avoids the long-term commitment aspect, other hurdles include forming a racing team, a tremendous knowledge of the specific boat’s capabilities, trim, and crew availability, their skills, and last but not least insurance requirements. According to Jesse, “This level of knowledge is reserved for a handful of sailors who have put in a lot of time and effort just to do one regatta.”
Having participated in all aspects of the Grand Prix sailing world Jesse saw the need for a custom “step on-step off” regatta experience. He explained, “Before Open Ocean’s model, the only way to experience one of the elite regattas around the world was to independently charter a boat, hire a crew, and assume responsibility for the campaign via a traditional model. This path is often disjointed, riddled with surprises, and lacking clear responsibility which can lead to an undesirable outcome. He added, “the trend today is not to own everything but to experience as much as possible without the constraints and responsibilities of permanent possessions.” At the other extreme of the spectrum, one could purchase a seat on a boat but those are always the slower divisions.
Open Ocean can offer the Volvo 70 Il Mostro, with 6 slots for the charterer and all crew logistics, insurance and race sails included. “This is a true Grand Prix-level boat that will put you on the starting line with the best yachts in the world.” He added, “Il Mostro (The Monster) is in race-ready shape and has been continuously upgraded. If you have never sailed on a canting keel boat, you know it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
At no point does the client have to take responsibility for the boat or the crew, Jesse and OOR retain that responsibility. “Depending on how many sailors the charter wants to bring and their skill level we will crew the boat with a minimum of 8 professionals.” The cost for Les Voiles is around $450K. Charters can dial up or down their transportation and accommodations. In other words, you can fly private or coach, stay in a magnificent hilltop villa or sleep on the boat. Your charter, your choice.
There are five events that are planned for this winter. The Pineapple Cup—a race from Miami to Montego Bay, The RORC 600 Caribbean Race, Les Voiles de St. Barth, Antigua Sailing Week, and the Antigua to Bermuda Race (with record attempt).
Of course, it is more than the racing. The camaraderie, social events, lay day activities on Caribbean beaches, and just plain good fun that surround all these events place them exponentially high on the bucket list. Les Voiles de St. Barth for example is famous for its over-the-top Nikki Beach Party, truly one of the great parties in the world. Certainly racing from Antigua and ending up in Bermuda will be an unforgettable experience. Jesse has observed that “There must be something special in the water at these regattas because some of the teams have been coming back for decades.”
So, if grand prix sailing, sunny days, and warm winds are of interest, check out this innovative model of step-on-step off big boat chartering.