Unlikely Geist Crew Wins Annual Figawi Sailboat Race
Four Indianapolis Sailing Club members scrounged up some other Hoosier crew members and a handful of east coast friends to capture first place in their division at the 38th annual Figawi sailboat race over Memorial Day weekend.
Captain Bob Solomon recruited fellow Indianapolis Sailing Club members Mike Crowell, John Nagle, and Steve Staletovich to compete in what is billed as the world’s top sailing event. Over 240 sailboats from around the world converge on Hyannis Marina in Cape Cod to race the 21 mile ocean course to Nantucket Island.
“We had probably the most unlikely crew entered in the race,” said Solomon.
Four other Hoosiers joined the “Perfect Summer” team along with some old friends of Solomon’s from his early east coast sailing days. Only two members had raced the Figawi before, most had never sailed on the ocean, and two members had never even raced a sailboat before. However, everyone had a role to fill on the team explained Solomon.
“Our friends that had never sailed before were our spotters. They tracked other boats from our division so we would know where they were during the race.”
What makes their win more remarkable is the level of talent present at the Figawi. Most crews were from the east coast, Florida, or Gulf of Mexico sailing clubs. Bringing a “pick-up team” of sailors and friends from Indiana to the biggest sailing competition in the world and winning was perhaps the biggest long-shot since Mine that Bird’s win this year at the Kentucky Derby.
“We got a big applause when I announced at the awards ceremony that we were a bunch of Hoosiers from Indiana,” Solomon said with a proud smile. “There is no scientific way to explain it, hope and enthusiasm makes sailboats go faster.”