The Vineyard’s appeal

Aurora in the Bermuda Race. (PPL photo)

Recently we had a chance to sit down and chat with Gus Carlson, Executive Vice President & Global Chief Marketing Officer of Thomson Reuters, and owner of Aurora and talk to him about his boat, the Vineyard and his company’s sponsorship of the race.

Q. You will be racing Aurora in this year’s Vineyard Race. Tell us a little bit about her.

A.  Aurora is my dream boat.  She is a Reichel Pugh-designed 66-foot sloop built in 1994 by McConaghy Boats in Australia.   She began her life Down Under as Exile, and is probably best known in this area as Blue Yankee, under the command of former SYC Commodore Bob Towse.  Aurora is the sixth sailboat I have owned and by far the biggest and most challenging.  The biggest boats I owned before Aurora were an IOR 50 called Samantha (ex-Gem) and more recently a Swan 46 called Trillium.  I bought Aurora in the spring of 2010 and quickly pulled together a crew for the Newport-Bermuda Race in June.   Our crew of 20 people – 17 men and 3 women representing 4 countries, including America’s Cup winner Gary Jobson, Steve Benjamin, and SYC members Rich Nugent, Kevin Dailey and Vikki Vandamm — sailed Aurora to 2nd place in her class of 12 boats, and 14th place overall in a fleet of almost 200.  It was a great experience and a great result for our first race together on a new boat.

Q. What made the difference in you doing so well in this year’s Bermuda race?

Chemistry.  Sure, we had the obvious basics you need to win – a great boat, a broad range of solid talent,and some veteran stars like Gary Jobson and Steve Benjamin to lead the way.  But the secret ingredient aboard Aurora was chemistry.  From the crew to the shoreside team to the sponsorship support from Thomson Reuters, we all came together extremely well in an incredibly short time – I bought Aurora only 8 weeks before the start of the race.  The fact that we were able to pull everything together AND do well in the race was gratifying to me.  It proves that if people believe in something, they can achieve great things.

Q. Of all the distance races you do, what makes the Vineyard Race unique?

The Vineyard is a thinking person’s race.  Strategy, not just speed, is key.  It is part inshore race and part offshore race, testing crews and particularly navigators and tacticians who must deal with the quirkiness of tides and winds in Long Island Sound as well as the changeable conditions in Buzzard’s Bay and around Block Island.  It can throw a variety of weather conditions at the fleet – from zephyrs to hurricane force winds.  Because of all these traits, the Vineyard attracts the best sailors and boats from the area.  It is a true test of seamanship and skill.

Q. This is the second year you and Thomson Reuters have been presenting sponsor for the Vineyard. What is it about the race that appeals to you as a sponsor?

A. Competitive sailing runs on intelligent information.  That’s what we call data that has been captured, collated, analyzed, and fine-tuned so that our professional customers in the financial, legal, healthcare, science and tax worlds can make critical decisions faster and with more confidence.  That’s the competitive advantage we offer.  When Thomson Reuters looks at sports to sponsor, we look for those that embody intelligent information.  Think about it.  Over the 238-mile course of the Vineyard Race, sailors will be capturing, collating, analyzing and fine-tuning a blizzard of data and turning it into intelligent information that will help them make better decisions faster and with more confidence.  The boats that do this the best will win.  That’s the competitive advantage.  It’s the same in the other sports we sponsor – whether it’s a Formula One race car driver or a professional golfer or tennis star.  They each must turn raw data into intelligent information to make better decisions than their competitors to win.  The alignment of all these sports with the Thomson Reuters brand promise of intelligent information is a powerful platform for us.

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One Response

  1. […] Gary Jobson, president of US Sailing, is racing in this weekend’s Vineyard Race aboard Gus Carlson’s Aurora. On Friday, while waiting for the race to begin, Gary sat down with us at Stamford Yacht Club to […]

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