“Right after this Open 50 dropped in my lap, I had to go to sea for 16 days,” writes Ronnie Simpson, a regular contributor to Latitude 38. He went to sea to deliver the Santa Cruz 52 City Lights back from Oahu to San Francisco following the Pacific Cup.
But Ronnie has “hit the ground running” with his latest, most exciting and ambitious project. “In October of 2023, I will be setting sail in the inaugural edition of the Global Solo Challenge race from Spain back to Spain. This is a solo, nonstop around-the-world race, though pit stops can be made. The first boat home wins. This boat is an older Open 50 that completed two solo races around the world and was then owned by Philippe Kahn as Pegasus. Most recently, she was sailed 17,000 miles solo from California to Maine with current owner Whitall Stokes. I will now be taking control of the boat for two years.”
“In the few days that I’ve been on land, we have made great strides in making this first week of sea trials a success. On August 22-27, I am flying out to Maine with a pro sailor from Hawaii and a media man from the East Coast. The owner will also be there, and we will sea-trial the boat and practice for four days so that we can then dial in our business plans, sponsorship goals and budgetary requirements. On September 1, we aim to launch a professionally built website that will include professional media content and fundraising photography and video. The site will also have sponsor packets, business plans and more.
“After the official campaign launch in early September, we will begin campaigning the boat south from deep-draft yacht club to deep-draft yacht club, conducting fundraising speaking presentations while taking members of the community sailing. We aim to take as many people sailing as we possibly can over the following months. As well as exposing the public to this type of sailing and this type of race, we aim to promote veterans’ sailing, environmental conservation, and diversity in sailing. We will continue south until we reach the Caribbean and compete in some crewed racing with donors aboard, including the Caribbean 600. From there, it’s a quick trip back to Maine to complete a final re-fit, then a solo passage to Europe for the start.”
“As a combat-wounded veteran, I will also be sailing to benefit the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization US Patriot Sailing and can accept charitable campaign contributions through their website. I set up a GoFundMe account and have already reached over $14,000 of my initial goal of $25,000 in seed money. We have raised close to $20,000 in just a handful of days, which is both incredible and inspiring. The outpouring of support that I am already receiving for this endeavor is truly heartwarming and makes me believe even more that this is something we can pull off. I am so grateful for everyone’s support. I will represent Hawaii Yacht Club in the race.
“While preparing for the first trip to Maine, I formed Ronnie Simpson Racing, LLC, to handle the business side of this campaign. The initial entry fee to the race was paid this morning, so we will soon be listed on their website. We have ordered crew gear to present a professional appearance, and we have secured a sailing crew, media crew, web builder and shore manager. We have also signed on a handful of sponsors including Colligo Marine. Used TP52 spinnakers out of Hawaii have been secured as additional delivery and practice kites. Tickets to Maine are booked. The boat was splashed a few days ago after an extensive time being rebuilt in the shed under the renowned hands of Brian Harris and his crew at Maine Yacht Center.
“This is a pretty huge undertaking. I am pushing hard to secure an additional $10,000 to the GoFundMe account, which is https://gofund.me/62f14b4d. The nonprofit donation link is www.uspatriotsailing.org/Donation-Form.” Until the new website is up and running, catch up with Ronnie on Instagram @captainron_official.