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County sailor first to join Canadian Ocean Racing program

Canadian-Ocean-Racing-photoHis sights are set on competing in the world’s most extreme ocean racing events but first, the County’s favourite young sailor has to do his time sanding, scrubbing and cleaning the boat.

Sandy Macpherson

Sandy Macpherson

Sandy Macpherson, 21, was named the first ‘aspiring offshore athlete’ to join the Canadian Ocean Racing program. His first duty is a six-week stint in Vancouver as part of the team getting the boat ready for launch after two years of being onshore.

Canadian Offshore Racing is a newly-formed team of young, professional sailors from Canada who will transform the ex-Spirit of Canada boat, now dubbed ‘O Canada’. Macpherson says it’s  an Open 60, the largest and fastest short-handed racing boat in the world.

“Raising the profile of offshore sailing in Canada has always been my goal — it is a dream come true to work with a program that will do exactly that,” he said. “I am the youngest of the team but have enough offshore miles to my name that they feel I will be an asset to the team both on shore while we complete the maintenance and offshore sailing.”

Macpherson learned to sail at about age 10, out of the Prince Edward County Yacht Club. Over his career, he has logged more than 30,000 nautical miles including one transatlantic crossing and several other long distance races. He was the first to sail around Lake Ontario single-handed, non-stop, which was part of a Canadian Cancer Society fundraiser. (Click here for more stories about Sandy’s adventures.)

Macpherson will gain even more offshore experience with the new team, being mentored by “Canada’s best sailor” Eric Holden, who, with Morgen Watson, won the Clipper Round the World Race.

“Holden was the first Canadian Skipper to enter and ultimately win that race,” said Macpherson. “Wanting to build off the momentum of the win, they created the Canadian Ocean Racing program to inspire fellow Canadian sailors to dream big about offshore racing.”

After about six weeks of cleaning, scrubbing and prepping the boat, the real fun begins.

“Once the boat is in the water we plan on doing some small races here on the west coast as PR stunts and then we will begin the journey to Toronto,” said Macpherson. “We will sail through the Panama Canal, stopping occasionally for provisioning. The initial plan is to stop in San Francisco, Acapulco, Panama, St Bart’s, Ft. Lauderdale, New York, Halifax and finish in Toronto. We will be in Toronto for the Pan Am games in July.”

Once that’s finished the boat is expected to go to France to compete in Trans-Ocean races.

“I’m not sure if I will be involved after Toronto but we will see,” said Macpherson who is still developing his own Mini Transat campaign.

“This is an amazing boat, with an amazing team behind it,” Macpherson said on his blog at “I can’t thank the people who have helped me through my projects enough because without you, I wouldn’t be here.”
Click here to follow Sandy’s adventures on Facebook

Click here for more on the Prince Edward Yacht Club’s Sailing Camp

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesSports & Recreation


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  1. Susan says:

    Good for you! Great adventure..enjoy

  2. Emily says:

    Would be if someone was quite interested in pursuing this path.

  3. Marnie says:

    Is it really anyone’s business?

  4. Emily says:

    Sounds exciting! How does one afford that path at 21?

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