Alexander Kraebel, one of Red Star Sailing Sailing Team's core members, competed in the 2018 Newport to Bermuda Race aboard the Taylor 41 Temptress. The crew aboard Temptress missed winning their class by 21 minutes on corrected time, after spending over a hundred hours on the water.
Alex received his invitation in March to run the foredeck on Temptress and made an immediate impact helping the crew prepare the boat for the 635 mile “Thrash to the Onion Patch,” including servicing winches, replacing the engine’s starter motor, and other assorted boat work. The crew practiced extensively before the regatta; Alex was involved in every practice before the event. Alex’s dedication allowed him to learn all of the nuisances of the boat. The crew raced in the New York Yacht Club’s Leukemia Regatta, in which the attained a fourth place, and the NYYC’s Annual Regatta, finishing second. These events where supplemented with multiple weekend practices in Narragansett Bay and a series of overnight practices, off the coast of Rhode Island. Proper crew and boat preparation resulted in a class line honors victory.
“After a really good start, sailing in light airs upwind, we made some really good tactical calls that got us out in front early. We lead into the next transition, which turned into a tight spinnaker reach in 8-12 knots, headed right for our “spot” to cross the Gulf Stream. The crew gelled well immediately, making my job on the foredeck much easier. We were able to position ourselves well within our fleet and continue leading. The confidence gained from our practice granted us the ability to make quick and easy sail changes, changing gears with the breeze. We did run into the back of a high pressure ridge, leaving us becalmed for six hours, but as soon as we got just enough wind to sail, it was back to business. The last 36 hours of sailing were spent close reaching, with a jib top reacher, in 10-20 knots of breeze, thanks to the low that dove down from the north. There’s nothing better than sailing a well prepared boat with a cohesive crew. Due to the breeze and the Gulfstream forecast, the fleet was never outside of 20 miles of each other. Typically in a Bermuda Race, you might see one or two boats, however, each night the array of masthead lights emulated a small city on the horizon. Upon the approach to our line honors victory, at 0300 in the morning, there were boats everywhere, it was spectacular. I really enjoyed sailing aboard Temptress. I’d like to express my gratitude to Jay Gowell, the skipper of Temptress, and the rest of the crew for an great race. I’d also like to thank Charlie Welsh, the Red Star team, and Zhik for providing me with the support necessary to experience such an amazing race, and allowing me to focus on pushing myself and the boat. Looking forward to our next adventures” – Alexander Brock Kraebel