Skipper Rob Freas, of Texas Gulf Coast SEAL fame, has been working to outfit a competitive offshore racing boat and is racing that boat with an all Sea Scout crew. Sea Scout Training Vessel Sirly is a 40’ ocean racer with hi-tech Kevlar®and Spectra® sails that runs at 7-9 knots on a reach and downwind with a 1500 sq ft spinnaker at up to 11-12 knots. SSTV Sirly is a very competitive boat and has been quite successful in the season so far. The culmination of this season will be the Harvest Moon Regatta in October, a 150 nm offshore race from Galveston to Aransas Pass in Texas.

Serious racing takes your sailing skills to a whole new level. Sea Scout Jack Otto says: When you are invited to race with Skipper Freas you think to yourself, “Finally I know enough about sailing to go race!” Long story short, you don’t. When I first raced I thought I was set and knew exactly what was going to happen, then I had the most educational 3 hours of my life. The things about a boat that you have cruised are taken to the next level when you race, the boat can go faster, much faster. I don’t believe there will be a speed that satisfies Skipper Freas. We all learn how to sail, but the part I like most about racing is the teamwork, and how we are all striving towards that one goal, winning.

Racing is also a personal growth opportunity. According to Sea Scout Hannah Mattes: I’ve never left a boat without learning something. Every race is a new opportunity, a new chance to grow and discover more about sailing and, consequently, myself. I’ve learned a ton about dedication, problem solving, creativity, and perseverance. Sailing opens the doors to a new kind of magic: who knew 7 knots and some heeling was so exhilarating? It’s such a rewarding and humbling experience, and that’s why I’ll never give up racing.

SEAL is a great way to build the confidence needed to get started racing. Sea Scout Savannah Cushman says: I have been in Sea Scouts for about four years now and let me just say, it is an incredible organization to be a part of. Especially for me, within the year of 2016. Due to my attendance at SEAL Course (Sea Scout Experience Advanced Leadership training) in Galveston, instructed by Skipper Rob Freas, the knowledge learned within the course and even prep before attending at the Lakewood Yacht Club, allowed me to be prepared for sailing races. Which, I planned to attend afterward, it wasn’t an easy process, there were nights of studying, asking tons of questions (better be safe, than sorry when you’re on the water), anything I could do to prepare myself. And, with the prep time I took beforehand, allowed me to attend in October the Harvest Moon Regatta with my instructor Skipper Freas as a crew member, and in February of this year, the Icicle Race 3. I personally come back to sailing, or even being on a boat as a second home. Being able to say to others that you go sailing as much as you can, isn’t something every other person can say. I take pride of what I’ve accomplished within Scouting, but I also take into consideration the knowledge I still don’t know. And, that’s another reason why I come back, to learn from the best and be able to hopefully later be able to replicate what you’ve been shown.

You can follow the team at https://www.facebook.com/txsskeelboat/ – if you are interested in participating, either send a message via that Facebook page or use the contact form on http://southern.seascout.org and we’ll get you in touch with Skipper Freas.