OAP entry for Antarctica Cup

The race through the Southern Ocean has its first minority entry

Thursday June 6th 2002, Author: John Roberson, Location: Transoceanic
A group of sailing's 'elder statesmen' have signed up for the Antarctica Cup. This Southern California based entry headed by Buzz Boettcher are calling themselves the Graybeard Syndicate.

Boettcher, in his early fifties and a former professional skipper on some of the top racing boats of the seventies and eighties, was still actively racing sailboats in the nineties, and has got together with an old sailing buddy Bob Logan, to make use of their age and experience.

Experience is something that Buzz has 'in spades', with nine Trans-Pac races, four Fastnets, two Sydney/Hobarts, a trans-Atlantic and a Bermuda race, just being the cream on his C.V.

Buzz Boettcher cut his offshore teeth on Trans-Pac races from Los Angeles to Hawaii, and though he admits the Southern Ocean is a different ball game, believes this experience will be of value.

"No doubt Southern Ocean sailing is a whole world different from doing a Transpac," he says, "but one of the things you learn early on, in being successful in Trans-Pacific races is pushing the boat just beyond the known limits"

He adds, "you kinda look at what does it take to win a distance race, and one of the primary factors is experience."

Then Boettcher threw down the gauntlet to his fellow Californian Paul Cayard, "obviously the premier entry in this race right now is Paul Cayard."

"It seems like I look back over when Paul and I raced each other, and yeah, he would usually beat me around the bouys, no doubt about it, but whenever we go offshore, I can't think of a time that he was at the finish line ahead of us."

The leader of the Graybeard team said that they were originally going to have a crew of over fifties, but then realized they needed a bowman, so bought the minimum age down to forty five.

Talking about announcing his entry, Buzz admitted, "we'll get the people who are going to say, 'you guys are crazy, you're absolutely nuts, somebody's going to have a heart attack, and die on your boat', and others who are going to say, 'hey, go for it'. That's part of everyday life I guess."

He points out that there are three sailors on the current Volvo Race who are over fifty, and that by the time the Antartica Cup starts in December 2004, there will be more of the current batch of round the world sailors who have reached forty five.

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