Team Zorro press release
Following is the preliminary draft of a press release I have composed for Team Zorro. Normally, I would replace real names with blog nicknames, but since this press release is going out with names included to news outlets all over New Mexico and West Texas, I am leaving the real names in. I am, however, obscuring the telephone numbers. If you are a member of the media and you want to get in touch, let me know.
18 August 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Texas, New Mexico Sailors to Compete in Men’s National Championship
A team of five sailors from the Rio Grande Sailing Club, which covers the western tip of Texas and all of New Mexico, has qualified to compete in the Mallory Cup, the Men’s National Sailing Championship, in San Francisco Bay, September 16-20, 2008.
It may come as a surprise to many that sailing happens at all in the desert Southwest, let alone racing at a championship level. However, the Rio Grande Sailing Club fields regular regattas in the spring and fall, and has many dedicated sailors who compete throughout both seasons.
This year’s team is the first from the region to make it to the national championship, and team captain Larry Jessee, of El Paso, is optimistic about the team’s prospects. “It’s not where you start; it’s where you finish,” he says. “I think we will surprise quite a few of the experts.”
Jessee’s crew consists of Dave Ampleford, originally from Penzance, England, and currently living in Albuquerque; Marty Stevenson, of Albuquerque; Charles Arasim, of Rio Rancho; and team alternate Richard Strasia, of Placitas. Together, these five men represent many decades of sailing and sailboat racing experience, in a variety of boat types and sailing conditions.
To qualify for the national championship, Jessee’s team first had to win the regional championship at Elephant Butte Lake in April. In stiff, gusty spring winds and heavy chop, his team beat the other teams in the championship by a sizeable margin in all five races of the round-robin regatta. The crew demonstrated a high level of seamanship and teamwork throughout the regatta as weather conditions progressively worsened.
Jessee and his crew will be representing Area F, a vast chunk of the United States covering New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Nebraska, in the national finals.
Conditions in San Francisco Bay are expected to be rough, with stiff winds and tidal currents. However, Jessee is confident that his crew will do well: Arasim is a veteran of the Newport-to-Ensenada ocean race, and Ampleford has had extensive experience with rough ocean conditions in his home sailing grounds around Penzance. Jessee has sailed offshore with the San Diego Etchells Fleet. Stevenson has been a stalwart member of Jessee’s crew for 7 years, during which time the crew won 117 straight regattas. Strasia has more than 30 years’ experience in the J/24, the racing yacht in which the Mallory Cup will be run. Even though this team is from the desert, it represents a great depth of sailing experience and talent.
Combined with his crew’s talents, Jessee has been a world-class athlete with a drive to win. He won world recognition as a pole vaulter, earning NCAA, national, and world records. He has been inducted into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame and the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame. In sailing, he made the Olympic trials in 1992, and he has competed with top-level sailors, including four-time America’s Cup champion Dennis Connor.
So, as strange as it sounds, yes, we do have sailing in the desert. And we have some pretty darn good sailors here, as well.
For further information, contact
Carol Anne Byrnes, Rio Grande Sailing Club secretary, 505-xxx-xxxx
Larry Jessee, 915-xxx-xxxx