2018-05-10 / Around Town

Newport Duo Playing Role in Vestas’ Quest

/By Sam Crichton/


Nick Dana on Team Alvimedica in 2015. 
Photo by Amory Ross/Volvo Ocean Ocean Nick Dana on Team Alvimedica in 2015. Photo by Amory Ross/Volvo Ocean Ocean When you hear the names Dana and Reggio around the docks of Newport, they are usually associated with flying the flag for the city at myriad local and international regattas. Nick Dana and Anderson Reggio know a lot about each other, having competed in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race with Alvimedica and now with Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

Dana is a veteran of three Volvo Ocean Race campaigns. In 2008-09, he was with the Puma team as shore crew. In 2011-12, he was the media crew member aboard Abu Dhabi, which finished fifth, and in 2014-15 he was multitasking as both the boat captain and bowman on Alvimedica with Rhode Island’s Charlie Enright and Mark Towill. Dana grew up on the docks of the Newport Shipyard, which his father, Charlie, and a local consortium took over in 1997. He spent his high school and college vacations from St. George’s and the College of Charleston in South Carolina, respectively, working on the shipyard’s boats. He put college on hold when he received the call for his first Volvo Ocean Race as shore crew for the Puma team in the 2008-2009 edition.


Shore crew member Anderson Reggio for Vestas 11th Hour Racing 
Photo via 11thhourracing.org Shore crew member Anderson Reggio for Vestas 11th Hour Racing Photo via 11thhourracing.org “Growing up in Newport, we just have love and respect for the ocean that makes it fun to pursue such opportunities,” he said. “Time on the water, there is no substitute for experience. Until I became an established sailor I worked at one point as a welder.”

Dana has a number of race records to his name, including the transatlantic record, the Newport-to-Bermuda record, and back-to-back line honors in the 2015 and 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart races.

Asked his personal career highlights, Dana said, “In the Volvo Ocean Race, it was rounding Cape Horn in first [place] with Alvimedica. Outside of this race, it was breaking the transatlantic record on Comanche.”


Nick Dana aboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing 
Photo by Will Suto/Volvo Ocean Race Nick Dana aboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing Photo by Will Suto/Volvo Ocean Race “[But] we have a saying onboard [Vestas]: never let the highs get too high or the lows get too low,” he said. “This allows us to stay focused through any situation. A love of everything about the sport drives me to push myself. Translating to the public just how cool and intense it is is frustrating at times, so I’m thankful to all the communication coming off the Volvo Ocean 65s. It is a great way to share and grow knowledge of the sport.”

Unlike Dana, Reggio is a transplant to Newport, having grown up in Connecticut, where he spent summers sailing out of the Pettipaug Yacht Club. For him, sailing was a hobby when he first moved to Newport; he had come to town to pursue a career in the hospitality industry and enjoyed sailing in his spare time.


Nick Dana, boat captain on Vestas 11th Hour Racing performs repairs in the Faulkland Islands. 
Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race Nick Dana, boat captain on Vestas 11th Hour Racing performs repairs in the Faulkland Islands. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race But he is now an integral part of the shore crew as the navigational support and performance analyst, which provides support to the sailing crew on Vestas. He fulfilled the same role during the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race with Enright, Towill and Dana on Alvimedica.

Reggio studied information technology and statistics in college, and these skills, along with those he has gained over his years working with a variety of boats and sailing classes, have given him the toolkit to “build the playbook” for Vestas.

“I’m incredibly fortunate to be asked to sail with amazing teams and sailors,” he said. “I try to provide a valuable service to all the teams I work with. I’m very self-aware of my area of expertise and how it can benefit the teams.”

When he is in work mode at a stopover, he works closely with Enright, the Vestas skipper, and navigator Simon Fisher to provide the tools to make it through a successful leg. He typically researches historic data of each leg and combines that with real-time forecasting.


Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race About how to become a professional in the sailing industry, Reggio said, “Being willing to work as hard as possible is very important. Your reputation enters the room five minutes before you do!”

He has been a part of outstanding achievements in the sport. “Doing two consecutive Volvo Ocean Races in the same role would be one of my career highlights to date,” he said. “A desire to be the best and win, and to see the teams I work with succeed is my motivation. The sheer adventure of it, [that] no two sail boat roles are ever the same, and it’s a never ending learning process... I love what I do.”

DID YOU KNOW?

The jury rig that got Vestas 11th Hour Racing from the Falkland Islands to Itajai after they lost their rig was a street lamp in a former life that was then a mast for an Antarctic cruising boat then discarded in a field behind what is known in the Falkland as the “asset yard.” Before they left Itajai, Vestas 11th Hour Racing donated the jury rig to a local sailing school in Itajai as their new flag pole.

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