​Local Alumni crew welcome teams in New York

17 June 2016

“I love that the race keeps coming to New York. Every year I go down to the marina to see the boats and meet some of the crew and I am excited to be sharing my story in the Race Village this year,” says Brian Luster, a Brooklyn resident who took part in the 2005-06 edition of the race.

Brian and fellow local Alumni crew will be at the Clipper Race Village in Liberty Landing Marina today until the race start on Monday, to share stories from his race adventure.

Brian first heard about the race when he saw the fleet arrive in New York. Working on the South Street Seaport Museum's historic schooner Pioneer, one day he was sailing in New York Harbour when the fleet sailed past the Statue of Liberty.

Brian says: “I grew up sailing on Cayuga Lake in upstate New York and I loved the idea that the crew were all amateurs sailing identical boats. I had had a variety of outdoor adventures and I thought that the Clipper Race looked like a perfect next step.

“Sailing Leg 5 was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. At the same time, it was one of the most horrible. (I say that with great fondness; almost as soon as I had finished the leg, I was wishing I could do it again. That desire only gets greater with the passage of time.) It was an incredibly hard voyage. I like to say that we had four major storms, with generally bad weather in between. It was cold and rough and wet, right from the start in Qingdao, China but it was all thrilling. It's hard to describe how it felt to be a part of something so big.

“To someone thinking about visiting the fleet here I would say do it! Go down to the marina. Talk to the crews. Go on board a boat and imagine yourself living there for a month - or longer!”

Joining Brian is New Yorker Greg Kyle who participated in the 2011-12 race and Sam Hagler, from the 2013-14 edition. Speaking of the fleet’s arrival into his home city once again, Sam says: “I live a few blocks from North Cove Marina and walk my dog by the marina. When Greg’s race was in New York I was walking my dog and stopped to speak with some of the crew.

“They explained more about the race and for the rest of the time the boats were in the city I stopped by each day and got more and more interested in possibly participating. Going online and reading more about the challenge led me to submit my application.

“My prior sailing experience had more to do with "please move your blocking the sun" than ocean racing. At the age of 73, I was the oldest male to participate in the race and I had real concerns about being able to keep up with my fellow crew members. It turned out to be a great experience. Our crew, Henri Lloyd (the winning boat) were quick to support each other.

“As long as you put out the effort to the best of your ability, the rest of the crew was there to help. That feeling of being one with your team was great. Many of the crew continue to correspond and meet up two years after our race.

“If you are looking for a great adventure and a way to test yourself, not just physically, but in your ability to get along with people in all situations, the race is the way to go!”

If you would like to meet some of the local crew to discover more about their race and step on board the fleet for a free open boat tour visit the Race Village from 16 - 20 June.

Click here for more details.

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