STORIES OF BOATS Sayula, how amateur Mexicans made sailing history

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Did you know that the first round-the-world stage sailing race was won by a Mexican amateur crew? I also deserve credit for a superboat!

THE MYTH OF SAYULA (1974)

If you look at the roll of honor of the legendary Whitbread (the round-the-world crewed boat race in stages, today’s Ocean Race), it is strange to see the Mexican flag associated with the winning boat of the first edition, the 1973-74 edition(where three sailors died).

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This was the great feat of Mexican businessman Ramon Carlin, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 92. Aboard the Sayula 65, a beautiful Swan 65, it took 152 total days to complete the race’s 32,000-plus mile course.

BRITISH AND FRENCH REMAINED WITH THE PALM OF THEIR NOSES

Other times. Carlin was not a professional; his crew consisted of friends and family. At the start, the snooty British media mocked him, painting him and his crew complete with sombreros and ready for a siesta.

Instead, the American took a big payback (remember that the likes of Eric Tabarly and Chay Blyth, Doi Malingri and Giorgio Falck were in the regatta).

A fine documentary, “The Weekend Sailor,” was also made about Carlin’s happy ending adventure, which tells how an amateur managed to defeat the greatest sailors in one of the toughest challenges ever.

WATCH THE TRAILER FOR WEEKEND SAILOR

VOR-20111102-03A CLOSE-KNIT CREW AND A SUPERBOAT

Credit to a close-knit crew (Carlin’s wife even acted as cook on the first leg, from Portsmouth to Cape Town) and a superboat: a true Sparkman & Stephens fimed jewel produced in forty-one examples from 1971 to 1989.

The Swan 65 is still one of the most race-winning and comfortable cruising hulls ever built.

RAMON CARLIN’S VIDEO REMEMBRANCE


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