DOUG HANSEN and team have taken the show on the road to race in a Caribbean classic, Antigua Sailing Week.
Sailing is at its core is an activity that stems from the very heart of the human drive to learn and explore. Sailing has been the mechanism for travel and human exploration for tens of thousands of years, and we sailors are continuing a tradition of pushing boundaries that stretches back before history can record. Whether you are completely new to the sport or have been on the water for your entire life, you are always learning and growing. With sailing’s lifelong progression and its widespread reach, there is a unique shared experience between sailors from around the world that gives us an avenue to connect and compete with one another without even the need from a common language.
The truth is that we are somewhat isolated in our Pacific Northwest sailing community and a bit removed from the rest of the sailing world at large, thanks to the fact that we are in one of the far corners of the world as it’s drawn on a map. While this allows us to grow and develop a uniqueness of our own that is unmatched (think: the creation of R2AK, Van Isle 360, and all the wild boats being built in garages throughout the region), if ever presented with the opportunity to engage with another part of the sailing world at large, I jump at the chance.
Over the years, Steve Travis and the racing team onboard his TP52 Smoke (previously Flash, and before that Flash Gordon II) have packed their bags numerous times and taken the show on the road to travel to regattas around the world. They have racked up successful results in Cork, Ireland; Cowes in the U.K.; Porto Cervo, Italy; Annapolis, Maryland; and in St. Barth. This is possible thanks to welcoming community of boat owners and charter brokers that allows our team to come in and take over a boat for the week, Then, we do our best to learn the ins and outs of the boat to become competitive. I began sailing with Steve Travis and his crew onboard his previous boat Flash at the age of fifteen and competed in the traditional Northwest keel boat races around the Salish Sea. It took nearly four years of racing before I finally got the invitation and traveled with the team to my first international event in Cowes, and the experience changed my outlook on sailing forever.
Now nearly two decades later, I continue to race with Steve. His latest adventure is taking us to the Caribbean island of Antigua, and this time, he has raised the bar once again by chartering a Volvo 70. A classic of the Caribbean season, Antigua Sailing Week takes place the first week of May each year and is the final event on the winter racing calendar for many teams. This true “bucket list” trip has been a long time coming as we originally intended to race in the 2020 event, but unfortunately, that and the 2021 regatta was canceled. After two years of uncertainty, canceling of flights, rebooking, moving rental houses, and even changing to a different Volvo 70, it appears to have all finally come together.