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BOC/AROUND ALONE EXPERIENCE - What's so special about the BOC? I am just a cruiser. I am not racing. How is this relevant to me?

We mention the BOC/Around Alone events often in our literature because they have been the ultimate testing ground for boats, equipment and people. We are very proud of our participation in the BOC/Around Alone races, which were run every four years. In the fifty foot class there were Monitors on three boats in the 1986-87 race, and in the 1990-91 race there were were five boats with Monitors. In 1994-95 there were seven Monitors and no other brands of windvane were used. In 1998-99 there were five Monitors in the race and, once again, no other brands of windvane were used! Why?

Because in the two previous races the Monitor had performed and the few other brands of windvanes used had not. Most other manufacturers of windvanes have never had a single unit tested in a BOC/Around Alone race. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have been involved in these three races. In our first BOC we were quite nervous because our equipment was going to be tested far beyond conditions previously experienced. Monitors had sailed around Cape Horn many times but these BOC/AA boats were bigger, they were racing and they stayed in the Southern Ocean for months in every leg. We never had a BOC/AA disaster but we learned that there was room for improvement. After nine months we had the opportunity to study what the Southern Ocean and a 28,000 mile circumnavigation, in racing conditions with a single skipper trying to handle a 50 footer in the worst possible conditions, could do to our Monitors. Six years of cruising would put a lot less wear on a Monitor.

More than 40 changes and improvements have resulted from our experience and today's Monitor is a significant improvement over the earlier models, many of which are still sailing and performing well (we sometimes ruefully say that "used Monitors are our biggest competitor"!). The BOC/AA has tested our equipment beyond imagination and this has benefited the regular cruising sailor who is eventually bound to be caught in bad weather. It is nice to know that you are not the test pilot. Surfing in giant waves at 25 knots on a 50 footer is a test beyond the imagination of most sailors.

BOC Boats

"Airforce" - a Chuck Payne custom 45 design BOC boat for Dick Cross.

"Airco Distributor" - A Roger Martin custom 50 design for Michael Plant, winner of the 1987 BOC, class II. This boat participated in several BOC events under different names, with different skippers - but the same Monitor.

Hal Roth's Santa Cruz 50 "Sebago" - Mt. Desert, Maine. BOC participant, 1986-87 & 1990-91