When Alan Orr and his wife Monica bought their Hunter 35.5 in 1993, they had no idea they were beginning a new aspect of their sailing lives. "We expected to enjoy the boat to cruise around Long Island Sound and the nearby islands of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and Block Island", said Alan. Which they indeed have done and enjoy immensely. But in Connecticut that summer, at the first Hunter sponsored rendezvous at Sailing Specialties, Orr’s Blue Bayou took first place, winning the Hunter Cup. They have been winning ever since.
"When I first started entering races with my boat at the Yacht Association of Long Island Sound, people would ask what type of boat I had," Alan said, "When I told them it was a Hunter, many told me that Hunters are not competitive racing boats". He set out to prove them wrong.
The crew of the Blue Bayou worked hard to improve their racing skills, and finally in 1999, they began to make a name for themselves on the racing circuit. The boat and crew took 2nd place in the City Island Yacht Club Distance, the Lloyd Harbor Yacht Club Stratford Shoal and Riverside Yacht Club races.They were making headway! Finally in the last distance race of 1999 the Blue Bayou became a winner for the first time at the Indian Harbor Gearbuster. They were also awarded the prestigious Windward Cup for winning the largest division in the fleet.
They now had the winning fever and in 2000 won or took second place in the Lloyd Harbor Spring series, the NY Athletic Club Stratford Shoal, the Mayor's Cup and the City Island Yacht Club distance races. They received the Carlsburg Skaal Bowl for sweeping their division in the Stamford Denmark Friendship Race.
By the end of the 2000 sailing season, Blue Bayou also won the Allegra Knapp Mertz trophy, which is awarded to the boat with the highest season average. The Blue Bayou was now known for we "blew by you" and won the race! Locally, Blue Bayou races in a fleet in Oyster Bay, Long Island with competition such as C&C, Beneteau, Olson, Tartan, Ericson, Sabre and Catalina, and they consistently win.
Needless to say, when Alan began his racing career, it was tough to find a crew. "Now, because of the boat’s success, people actually ask to crew with me!", Alan exclaimed. Racing the boat has taught Alan a great deal about sailing and learning how to sail a boat well. Because of its reputation, other skippers have also learned what a Hunter in skilled hands can accomplish.
Alan is proud that other skippers are intimidated when racing against him. "One guy told me after a sixty mile race that sailing against us was like a trip to the dentist", he remarked. He is very proud of the accomplishments and has exceeded all his expectations for this year. Alan and crew are certainly looking forward to next year's season and more continued success with Blue Bayou. Congratulations, and best of luck, skipper!