Pleaid Racing is back for their second Atlantic Cup raced by Ed Cesare and Chad Corning. Both Ed and Chad were brand new to the Class 40 in 2013 when they entered the Atlantic Cup just before the start of the race. With only big boat offshore experience they quickly grasped how different and challenging double-handed racing is. Now with a full season of racing on Pleiad, Ed and Chad are out to top last year’s finish.
Said Ed of their expectations for this year; “We were playing with house money last year. It took a while to get the deal done for the boat so Chad and I left Charleston with only four hours of sailing our boat. Now we have a season under our belts and there is more pressure to score well. But to quote Billy Jean King, ‘Pressure is a privilege’.”
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Southwestern Connecticut; first in Stamford and later in Norwalk
Did you go to University? If so, where? Connecticut College – Go Camels. I majored in American History and met my wife Christine.
Describe yourself in one word. - Intentional
Did you or do you play any other competitive sports? I’m a sports nut – I was a three -season athlete in school – soccer, hockey and lacrosse in the Spring. I love baseball but went 0 for Middle School and that was that. I played varsity soccer in college and was on the sailing team.
Are you married? Do you have any children? I’ve been married to my wife Christine for nearly 27 years. We have a son Nick who is a freshman at Gettysburg College (go Bullets)
How old were you when you first went sailing? I guess I must have been 6 or 7 –sailing on my family’s Rhodes 19.
How did you get into competitive sailing? Really I became a competitor before I became a competitive sailor. I went through the training programs at Mystic Seaport as a teenager, rather than through the Junior Program at our local club. I really got into racing later – in college
Describe sailing to you in one word. Holistic
In what way are you superstitious before a race? I’m very superstitious about hats. I’ll wear one until it feels like the karma has left it.
Number of transatlantic crossings under sail: I’ve done three transatlantic races
What is one of your goals for your sailing career? To race around the Horn
What are your sailing strengths? I’ve got a lot of experience in navigation and weather, I drive well – done enough sailing to be a good all arounder. I think my greatest strength is mental toughness.
What do you like most about being offshore? What do you like least? I love the way the whole world shrinks around a boat offshore and both the boat and her crew share a very focused existence. Least – The food.
What is your favorite sports team? The New York Mets – unfortunately
What is your favorite type of music? I have pretty eclectic tastes. My son Nick says, “Dad you are such an inde guy”.
What is the most played song on your I-pod? Well I just checked and its says “Untie my Shoe Laces” by Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. That doesn’t sound right, I would have guessed a CLASH song.
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet? Herman Melville
What’s your favorite thing to eat when you’re offshore? Least favorite? Eggs and fried SPAM – the must have breakfast aboard Larry Huntington’s SNOW LION. That one freeze-dried meal that I can never remember until I pour the water on it.
What is your favorite movie line? “Your Momma ain’t going to be on the bus” – Coach Boone in “Remember the Titans”
What do you do to relax during your free time? Where’s the clicker?
Do you have any hidden talents? I like to cook – I’ve spent a career in venture capital where it takes FOREVER to get stuff done. So – I like to buy the ingredients, cook the meal, eat it and clean up – done….
Is the mental or physical aspect of the race the hardest? The hardest part of any long distance race with race tracking is the mental game. You can’t get too high or too low when the scheds come in.
In one word describe the Atlantic Cup experience. Important
What is your biggest fear being alone on deck? Coming from the fully crewed world with very little shorthanded experience the increased level of risk is palpable. That said – I don’t think being alone on deck is any scarier than being two up.
What does carbon neutrality mean to you? The Mission of Pleiad Racing is to market the Wellness Economy and help move the world to “Personal and Planetary Wellness” Carbon Neutrality is a part of that. We applaud Manuka SEM for leading the way and particularly thank 11th Hour for their strong support of the event.
What is your 2014 race schedule? We will do Atlantic Cup and Bermuda Race. After that we are contemplating Route du Rhum. If we do not do that race, we will do Stonington to Booth Bay Harbor Ocean Race, Ida Lewis and the Vineyard. The boat would then do the Fall Florida Races, C-600 and Voile de St. Barts. The 2015 Atlantic Cup and Transatlantic are a definite regardless.
Who’s your co-skipper and why have you chosen him or her? Chad Corning and I will again be teaming up this coming season. We mesh really well from a skills standpoint and share the same somewhat stylized sense of humor
What do you see as the biggest challenge for this year’s Atlantic Cup? We were playing with house money last year. It took a while to get the deal done for the boat so Chad and I left Charleston with only four hours of sailing our boat. Now we have a season under our belts and there is more pressure to score well. But to quote Billy Jean King, “Pressure is a privilege”.
Who do you see as your toughest competition? Uhmm…. Waiter – check – please?!
Did you learn anything from last year’s race that will change your execution in this year’s race? Yes – we’ve learned to let the pilot drive – it’s good at it!
Have you made any new improvements to your boat? We’ve painted the mast and boom and put a proper race bottom on the boat. We will also have a 3A kite this year – this was a MAJOR hole in the inventory last year.
What’s your first major tactical decision after the start in Charleston? How obliquely to enter the Stream… to coin an adverb…. In New York? It’s just hammer down until Block Island, then: which side?
Will you play zone or man-to-man defense in this year’s race? Not sure – the book on Michael Hennessy is that you have to bump him hard off the line of scrimmage before he gets deep.
How do you decide to go around Block Island? Last year we tried to monitor observations and imagery to figure out the best wind field. That was a …….. disappointment – any ideas?
Is it true that if you sleep on the offshore legs you’ll lose? No – not at all. If you get tired, you make bad decisions and boat handling mistakes. Except for Rob Windsor – he hasn’t slept since the 90s and it doesn’t seem to matter.
Because of the limited number of sails you’re allowed to carry how does sail preservation and damage figure in your strategy? Honestly – we haven’t sailed the boat hard enough yet, downwind at least, to figure that out
Did you go to University? If so, where? Hobart College
Describe yourself in one word. Reserved
Did you or do you play any other competitive sports? Marathons, Cycling
Are you married? Do you have any children? Married – Terra Corning, daughters Chloe (11) & Catherine (7)
How did you get into competitive sailing? Larchmont Yacht Club Junior Sailing
Describe sailing to you in one word. Cool
In what way are you superstitious before a race? Never predicting a win
Number of transatlantic crossings under sail: Zip
What is one of your goals for your sailing career? Winning a world championship
What are your sailing strengths? Trimming & helming
What do you like most about being offshore? What do you like least? Being “out there”, being cold & wet
What is your favorite sports team? Radio Shack Cycling
What is your favorite type of music? Reggae
What is the most played song on your I-pod? Under Mi Sensi – Barrington Levy
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you want to meet? Lord Sandwich – thanks man
What’s your favorite thing to eat when you’re offshore? Least favorite? Freeze Dried Chicken & Rice – Advil
What is your favorite movie line? “There is something outside ourselves that must be served” – Ronin
What do you do to relax during your free time? Read
Do you have any hidden talents? Play the drums….
Is the mental or physical aspect of the race the hardest? Yes! Both come at you at different times. When our offshore strategy did not work last year out Ed and I had almost two days of racing to stew – that was tough. Towards the end of the leg the mental and physical challenges gang up on you – it’s always great to get to the dock!
In one word describe the Atlantic Cup experience. Awesome.
What is your biggest fear being alone on deck? Falling off.
What does carbon neutrality mean to you? There is so much natural beauty out on the ocean. To be a part of it is very special and it follows that leaving no trace is the only way to do it.
What is your 2014 race schedule? Pleiad Racing is participating in the Atlantic Cup and the Bermuda Race. I’ll be working a full schedule with Argo Racing otherwise.
Who’s your co-skipper and why have you chosen him or her? Ed Cesare is a good friend and we teamed up last year. We have sailed together with other teams in the past and we knew our skills sets and chemistry would let us work well together.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for this year’s Atlantic Cup? Pushing the boat hard enough to be competitive with the newer boats.
Who do you see as your toughest competition? I have respect for all the teams in the race this year. Since all the boats are so different each will shine in different conditions.
Did you learn anything from last year’s race that will change your execution in this year’s race? Learning the operational tempo of double-handed sailing was the most valuable lesson. Now Ed and I know when to push and when to back off. We also learned that a somewhat more risky strategy is sometimes needed to make up for the limitations of our boat.
Have you made any new improvements to your boat? We’ve done some work on the mast, had the bottom re-done and have a new A3.
What’s your first major tactical decision after the start in Charleston? Gulf Stream strategy is the first thing you tackle after clearing the harbor. When to enter and exit the stream are the meatiest tactical decisions to be made on leg one. In New York? Getting out of NY Harbor cleanly is vital. This makes the start and tempo of the first few hours more intense than normal.
Will you play zone or man-to-man defense in this year’s race? We’re going to follow our own strategy. If things are close at either of the finishes we’ll take that as it comes.
How do you decide to go around Block Island? Pressure is king. In the last two editions of the Atlantic Cup this is where the leg was won. Do you sail extra distance and leave BI to port, or cut the corner and risk less pressure and less favorable current inside? Tough decision and one that we got wrong last year.
Is it true that if you sleep on the offshore legs you’ll lose? Nope. You have to rest when you can. Going hard for the whole race is not sustainable and will lead to trouble. Fatigue leads to bad decisions.
Because of the limited number of sails you’re allowed to carry how does sail preservation and damage figure in your strategy? You have to be very careful with your spinnakers, especially the A2. Damaging or destroying this sail is game over if you have a lot of running. Some teams carry two but most will use only one so you have to watch your step there. Keeping an eye on chafe and maintaining your sails prevents little problems from becoming big ones.
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