We were a poor Yacht Club, lacking prestige, but with knowledgeable sailors who believed in one another and more importantly, our club. We also had the best boat. A 65' two masted Schooner named S/V "Apparition" and with her we would attempt to win the 550 mile race from New Orleans to Isla Majures, Mexico, against all the challenging Yacht clubs, including those who raced Americas Cup.
Apparition first began as a dream conceived in the desert of Saudi Arabia while, club member, John Harkins worked for United Emirates in Nigeria. There he and his company weathered life threats and spent after work hours locked securely in their hotel rooms, leaving them little to do but think.
With time on his hands, John pondered his early childhood, his father's naval influence. He became addicted to James A Mitchner's series, "Adventures in Paradise."
Thus taking his mechanical engineering degree and dreams in hand John designed Apparitions interior to accommodate a couple but made certain that Apparition could be reconfigured to hold 17 during racing situations.
Finally the months of work and waiting for the Southhampton English Ocean Shipyard to complete Apparition arrived and John left with his self-sufficient crew of one.
Making stops in Spain, Gibraltar, Canary Islands, Portugal, England, Barbados, the Grenadines, Virgin Islands, Southern US, and later crossed the English Channel, Bay of Biscay, Straights of Gibraltar, and parts of the Mediterranean Sea.
So winning the 550 mile race to Mexico should now be a snap for us?
The fastest Apparition has sailed was off the Canary islands in up to 40-50 knots apparent wind in a broad reach with yankee fore and main. We were reaching at 110 degrees off the bow and the knot log was reading above the limit at 12 knots. At times she would heel while slipping down the face of 20-30 foot waves creating a rooster tail some 20 feet. She never felt out of control and we were in a hurry!
John Harkins Apparition and our poor south shore yacht club managed to win the 550 mile race to Mexico three consecutive times and we may do it again,depending on where the wind blows us.
"Apparition" can be seen on my blog photos.....and let me just say if you're out on the water and happened to be racing , if Apparition's name is spelled backwards, she's out in front of you............