​Best Friends From New York to take on Ocean Adventure

19 June 2018

NAME: David Laufer

AGE: 58


PROFESSION: Public Affairs Executive

LEGS: Mighty Pacific Leg 6 and US Coast-to-Coast Leg 7

NAME: Michael Richman

AGE: 58


PROFESSION: Real Estate Developer

LEGS: Mighty Pacific Leg 6 and US Coast-to-Coast Leg 7

For two best friends from New York, the current Clipper Race Stopover in New York is a sign of things to come, with the pair busy planning their own adventure after signing on for the 2019-20 edition of the race.

Michael Richman, a Real Estate Developer from New York, and David Laufer, a Public Affairs Executive from Brooklyn have both signed on for Legs 6 and 7 in the Clipper 2019-20 Race. The two experienced sailors had long dreamed about sailing around the world and realised that it could become a reality when he came across the Clipper Race.

David says: “I saw an ad in the NY Times, went to the website, and was hooked. I have always loved sailing and it’s the sail of a lifetime. I have also had the dream of becoming proficient enough on larger boats to charter and sail a vessel around some islands (Caribbean and Aegean). This seems like a tremendous way of gaining that capability and confidence.”

Michael agrees, adding: “It has been a fantasy of mine for a long time. I have read stories about circumnavigation and think it will be an enormous sense of accomplishment.”

The decision to take on the ultimate ocean challenge together was an easy one. David explains: “Mike and I have known each other since infancy. We were born one month apart, and we were put in the crib together as new-borns by our mothers who were close friends. We were close as kids and have remained so. He was my best man, we have raised our families in NYC, and all skied together. We have sailed together on Mike’s J-24, so it was only natural to see if he wanted to do it too.”

Mike adds: “It was a simultaneous decision. David sent me an email with nothing in the body but a link to the Clipper Race website. I asked if he was planning on joining and said that if he did, I would too. That started the whole thing!”

The possibility of sailing into their city where they were born and raised was a huge factor behind why the New Yorkers opted to sign up for the US Coast-to-Coast Leg 7, and neither could walk away from the challenge of crossing the North Pacific – the world’s biggest and remote ocean.

David explains: “Leg 6 has the appeal - and terror - of a vast, rigorous oceanic crossing. And I have never been to China, so what better way to visit than to start there?”

The pair have completed the first of their four levels of compulsory training and whilst both agree it was an exhausting week, it has only increased their excitement about taking part in the race for real.

“Level one training was a solid step in the process of preparing for the race,” says Michael.

“I sailed with a solid, diverse group of people. Everyone had differing skill sets and levels of experience, but by the end of the week we came together as a team under the guidance of our Skipper and his Mate! Living on board is definitely an acquired skill… The hands-on training makes a difference.”

IMAGE: Michael and David with their Level 1 Training team.

Whilst David will be overseas for the New York Stopover, Michael is using the fleet’s time in his own backyard to learn more about his upcoming adventure, saying: “I am signed up to assist the race during the layover in New York City. I am excited to see the Clipper 70 yachts situated in New York Harbour and to speak with the various teams about their experiences. I am bringing my wife to help too… just another step in getting her to “buy into” the adventure.”

Whilst it is the early days of their Clipper Race journey, both have a clear idea of what they hope to achieve. David says: “Like any true odyssey, it’s not just about the outer journey, but the inner journey. I look forward to the physical and mental demands.” For Michael, he comments: “I hope to take away from this a collection of experiences and stories I can share for years to come.”

The current edition of the Clipper Race is in New York and you can see the latest updates on the Clipper Race website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

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