Ryan BreymaierSailor of the Week: March 17-23
Ryan Breymaier (Annapolis, Md.), the sole U.S. sailor in the Barcelona World Race, is competing at a high level in his first-ever circumnavigation of the globe aboard the IMOCA Open 60 Team Neutrogena with German co-skipper Boris Herrmann. Ryan is using this ocean racing experience to educate a group of lucky ninth graders who are following his journey.
The Barcelona World Race is a non-stop, doublehanded around the world regatta, from Barcelona to Barcelona. This is the second edition of this non-stop regatta, the first being in 2007-08. The approximate length of the course is 25,000 nautical miles (46,300 km) following a Great Circle route, the shortest possible route traced across the map.
Ten of the 14 teams are still racing and have been on the water for 82 days. Ryan’s Team Neutrogena is in fifth place as the fleet sails through the South Atlantic.
Ryan has been corresponding via video conference with ninth grade students at t h e Awty International School in Houston, Texas and they have been following him and sending questions to the boat throughout the competition to stay up to date. The school is trying to add a multicultural component to all classes and this was its first attempt. Most of the students had never been on a sailboat before and were in awe of Breymaier’s journey.
“What I like about it is that in most classes, like history we are learning about things that have happened in the past,” said ninth grader Milagro Rivera. “Talking with Ryan we get to learn about what is happening with him currently and that is pretty interesting.”
He also discussed his new experiences with the core group from the All-American Offshore Team (AAOT), a start-up extension of the non-profit U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation.
Ryan picked up sailing later in life. He discovered his passion and natural talent fo r sailing at the age of 18 as a freshman at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Ryan traded in Lacrosse for his new interest and two years later became a professional sailor. He attributes his success to having a great teachers guide him through the sport in his early years, including Mike Ironmonger and Walter Prause. Ryan participated in the St. Mary's College of Maryland Big Boat Donation program and when he became a professional, Ryan got his start with George Collins' Chessie Racing program.
“These two programs were of very high level, so from the beginning, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and have some great sailors around me to learn from,” said Ryan.
Ryan got his big break into IMOCA Open 60 racing through Roland Jourdain’s Veolia Team of France. He worked for Roland for three years, who gave him the opportunity to use his boat for the Barcelona World Race. “My expectations are first to finish and take Roland's boat back to him in good shape,” Ryan mentioned. “After that, the stated goal has been fifth place given the level of competition, sailors and boats.”
Ryan was well prepared for this race and had logged 30,000 miles on the boat over three years, including racing, deliveries and training sails before the start of a race. “It was a natural training process and the best way I could have prepared without knowing until the last few months that I was actually going to sail the boat around the world myself,” he said.
As to why Ryan shares his experience with school children and others, he explains, “The main reason I am involved in the media aspect of the race I am doing now is to inspire people to try sailing,” said Ryan. “I would like some young people to see what I am doing, put down the mouse, turn off the computer games and go give sailing a try. I also want to show it’s not an elitist sport. Anyone can do it and do well at it.”
Ryan hopes to get his shot at the Volvo Ocean Race some day, and at the rate he is going, the sky is the limit.
View Ryan's interview with the All-American Offshore Team.
Follow Team Neutrogena in the Barcelona World Race.