Bruce Schwab

Bruce Schwab, is an American sailor and ocean racer who circumnavigated the globe two times on his Open 60 racing yacht OceanPlanet being the 240th and 254th sailor to solo circumnavigate the globe [http://www.solocircumnavigation.com/SoloSailingCircumnavigation/SinglehandedCircumnavigators.htm] and first American to officially complete the famous Vendée Globe Race in 2004-2005,

Born April 15 1960 in Oxnard, California, Bruce moved to the Seattle area in 1965, lived there until 1973 when he went on a three year cruise with his father and two younger brothers (Steve, one year younger, and Chris, four years younger). Bruce returned to Seattle in 1976, graduated from Ballard High School in 1978 and attended the University of Washington for a short time however longed for adventure. Instead, Bruce Schwab pursued his love for adventure and the sea, becoming a professional sailor, yacht rigger, and guitarist. He is famous for being the first American sailor to officially finish the Vendee Globe race in 2004-2005. The Vendee Globe Race is a solo, nonstop, around the world yachting race sailing on Open 60s, without assistance. The starting and finishing ports are in Les Sables d'Olonne, France where the race is run every four years. Early career, racing, awards:

Spent a year in Santa Cruz racing ultralights, then started working and racing in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1980. He started winning shorthanded races in 1983, including doublehanded Farallones, in which he eventually was an 8-time division winner. Bruce won his first singlehanded race in 1984, the Three Bridge Fiasco, on "Svendle", a boat borrowed from his employer, Svend Svendsen of Svendsens Boatworks. Bruce continued to win countless one design and PHRF races, with many wins and season championships, but had most notable results in solo racing. Bruce launched his famous highly-modified 1930 "30 Square Meter", named Rumbleseat at the end of 1993 after the vessel had sat for 13 years in the shop storage at Svendsens Boat Yard. With Rumblseat, Bruce won the Singlehanded Farallones in 1994, and then the Singlehanded Transpac in 1996. Rumbleseat was the "Queen" guest boat at the 1997 Pacific Sail Expo boat show, and was eventually sold to well-known Caribbean sailor and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Robin Tattersall, OBE. In 1999, Bruce was awarded the US Sailing's Arthur B. Hanson rescue medal for participating in the rescue of a fellow racer who had capsized his boat in the doublehanded Farallones Race. [http://www.ussailing.org/safety/Rescues/1999_DH_Farallones.htm] "'

The lure of the Vendee Globe:"'

Working as a rigger at Svendsens Boatworks allowed Bruce to learn many aspects of boat design, fabrication, painting, composites, and especially preparation for ocean racing. After having worked at Svendsens for nearly 20 years, until the end of 1999 he left to form Rumbleseat Rigging. Also at that time, he started the effort to design and build an Open 60 for the 2000 Vendee Globe Race, which no American had yet officially finished. Not an easy road:

Despite many people helping to fundraise, Bruce was unsuccessful in securing a title sponsor to build his new Open 60, which is how Open 60 class boats are usually built. He formed the Made in America Foundation to raise funds and gained further support through credit and loans to keep the project going. He missed his objective of making the 2000 Vendee Globe, which OP was originally designed for, and then fellow American solo Racer Brad Van Liew convinced Bruce to race the 2002-2003 Around Alone upon the Open 60s completion.

Learning experience:

The Around Alone was a real struggle, Bruce was the only American entered in the Open 60 class, and also the only Class 1 entry without a title sponsor (Americans Brad Van Liew and Tim Kent raced in Class 2). In the First Leg of the race (to Brixham, England), the OceanPlanet’s boom broke requiring 1,000 nautical miles of sailing without the mainsail to finish the leg. Later in the race, on Leg 3 (Cape Town to New Zealand), Bruce suffered a water ballast tank leak and flooded the boat. On Leg 4, to Brazil, the boom broke again in a harrowing crash jibe after getting nailed by a giant breaking wave. Bruce then had to sail around Cape Horn without the mainsail and stopping in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands only to spend 8 days repairing the boom. Despite these mishaps, Bruce made it to the finish of the Around Alone in Newport, Rhode Island and was the 240th person to solo circumnavigate the globe. The Around Alone is now the Velux 5 Oceans Race, ‘’VELUX 5 Oceans Race’’’.

The Vendee Globe

The Around Alone race proved to be a training ground for Bruce. He modified his Open 60 racing yacht to prepare for the non stop Vendee Globe race in 2004-2005. Once again he competed among top European sailors while he was without a major sponsor. He completed the Vendee in 9th place being the first American to officially finish the race on February 25, 2005 and the 254th person to solo circumnavigate the globe. The race which started in Les Sables required the sailors to race in the roaring forties and extreme fifty latitudes where danger of hitting an iceberg is ever present along with huge seas that run endless around the globe without the presence of land to slow the seas velocity and waves. Ron Barr of Sports By Line interviewed Bruce during the Vendee Globe and following his finish, the video interview can be accessed through the following link http://digitcast.com/interviewbruce.htm

Bruce Schwab and Ocean Planet are now based in Maine [http://www.oceanplanet.org] . Bruce desires to compete in the 2008-2009 Vendee Globe and continue in the ‘’’IMOCA racing series www.imoca.org .’’’

References

[ [http://www.solocircumnavigation.com/SoloSailingCircumnavigation/SinglehandedCircumnavigators.htm SinglehandedCircumnavigators ] ] [ [http://www.eol-sports.com/en/91-vendee-globe-bruce-schwab.htm Vendee Globe - Bruce Schwab ] ] [ [http://www.ussailing.org/safety/Rescues/1999_DH_Farallones.htm 3/1/99 DH Farallones Race, San Francisco, CA ] ] [http://www.oceanplanet.org]


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