Ben Lobaugh Online

I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

Piloting Neptune’s Car

This evening I received a pleasure few will have, the chance to pilot the beautiful award winning racing sailboat Neptune’s Car. Neptune’s Car is a beautiful 1989 Santa Cruz 70′ racing sailboat designed by Bill Lee for racing from California to Hawaii. Neptune’s Car has won awards at races an she is fast!

Neptune's Car

When she is not out racing, Neptune’s Car is used by Sailing Seattle as a private charter. Several times a day she takes enthralled passengers across Elliot Bay in the Puget Sound. A friend was in town for a visit so I booked us on the 2.5 hour sunset cruise and after talking to the 2 crew members for about a half hour they asked me to take the helm, which I piloted from for the rest of the cruise!

She is big, she is beautiful, handles like a dream, turns on a dime, and cuts through the water like a hot knife through butter.

Law regulates the maximum sail area for charter boats and she had an 85% headsail up. The crew guessed she would make around 12 knots as a general max, but the wind had gone down significantly through the day and was pretty low.Even still I got her up to 11.9 knots and quite impressed the crew and myself, though I think I scared the daylights out of the passengers since I had her heeled over so far her rail was almost in the water.

It is not a night I will soon (or ever) forget. Sailboat racing has forever injected itself into my blood stream and I have to have more!

EDIT:: Snapped a picture of her docked the next day

Neptune's Car docked at Sailing Seattle

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1 Comment

  1. Chris Earle

    Your post brought a smile. I haven’t raced since sailing as crew in regattas on Lake Superior (November races could be “sporting”). In fact, I haven’t been on a sailboat since (1986-7). I just booked the 1-1/2 hour cruise to try to cajole my wife into buying something small with sails. I can only imagine how incredible piloting Netpune’s Car was. We hit 12 knots in high winds with the rail nearly burried. 12 knots with only 85%? Bloody brilliant!! :-).

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