Crownsville man is setting sail for sponsors for BOC Challenge

OUTDOORS

July 11, 1993|By PETER BAKER

After he set a course record and won the single-handed leg of the recent Bermuda One-Two sailing race, Tim Troy said he was reasonably certain he had a fast boat. After he won the double-handed leg back to Newport, R.I., as well, he said he was certain of it.

Now the questions facing the Baltimore businessman from Crownsville are how to make it faster, stronger and safer in time for the BOC Challenge, a single-handed race around the world.

"That first leg was a great feeling," Troy said last week. "You know you are doing a lot of things right when you can beat a field that includes Warren Luhrs and Thursday's Child.

"But there is still lots of work to be done to make the boat right for the BOC."

The Bermuda One-Two is more than 25,000 miles and seven months shorter than the BOC, and a race through the roughest of the planet's oceans will indeed present a tougher test for Troy's 60-foot sloop, Margaret-Anna.

But Luhrs, of the boat-building firm that bears his name, has racked up impressive credentials through the years on Thursday's Child, and beating him on both legs of the One-Two begins to prove Troy's capabilities as a skipper.

Sponsors are beginning to take notice of those capabilities.

* Larry Leonard's Sobstad sail loft in Annapolis is backing Troy with an inventory of its new Genesis series of carbon-fiber sails.

L * Ronstan Marine, Inc., is providing equipment and hardware.

* Deka batteries of Pennsylvania supplies banks of its new gel batteries.

* Cypress Marine has donated yard space and extensive general assistance and will paint the Margaret-Anna with the logo of a major financial backer -- if one can be found.

In some cases, such as with Sobstad's Genesis series sails, Troy said the Margaret-Anna will become a floating laboratory in the BOC, a maxed-out sailing machine that is likely to encounter the widest range of sailing conditions possible -- from dead calm to 60-knot winds and 50-foot seas.

"You have to be able to make the boat go fast in all those conditions," Troy said. "These sails are a marvel, unlike almost anything else out there.

"Now the boat has to be made good enough to make them do their best work."

The Margaret-Anna raced in the last BOC as the Jarkan Yacht Builders out of New Zealand and performed well and safely.

But in the time since Troy bought the boat from racer Kanga Birdles, American single-hander Mike Plant was lost at sea, and there is perhaps a more thorough and cautious approach to the race this time around.

By the start of the BOC, in September 1994, Troy expects to have completed a laundry list of changes, including stepping a new, carbon-fiber mast to reduce weight aloft, reworking the water ballast system for more precise trim and altering the boat's interior to make it more livable and to reduce overall weight.

American single-handed racers always have struggled to raise major sponsorship from U.S. companies, while the Europeans, in particular, have fielded lavish campaigns in the BOC.

Troy, who named his boat after his two young daughters and whose wife, Renee, is actively involved in the campaign and the Student Ocean Challenge educational program, said he has no misgivings, no illusions.

If he fails to find a major sponsor, he will make it on his own.

"I will be at the starting line," Troy said. "And I will make it around."

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