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One Design Spotlight: Bruce Busbey's Highlanders Pequod & Moby Dick

Family and Friends - Bruce Busbey poses with his crew, his wife Debbie Busbey and long-time friend Connie Sheets.

Name: Bruce Busbey
Boat Names: Pequod (#2007) & Moby Dick (#500)
Class: Highlander
Crew: Debbie Busbey, Connie Sheets
Years in class: 50 (grew up with my dad racing Highlanders, 15 as an official member)
Homebase: Western Carolina Sailing Club in Greenville, SC

Why did you choose this class and what do you like most about it? 

I think the class chose me, I grew up racing Highlanders with my father and others, then took some time out to race Thistles and Flying Scots but came back to the comfort and speed of the Highlander. 

What is the biggest challenge your team has had to overcome and how did you do it? 

The biggest challenge was getting T-boned during a heavy air race in the second-to-last race at the 2017 Nationals. We were positioned well to win the regatta and got hit by an out of control boat at the leeward mark. It spun us around 360 degrees and we were within inches of capsizing. I had fallen into the boat but my crew had the presence of mind to get to the high side and just managed to keep us from flipping. After seeing the hole in my vintage wood Highlander and thinking we had lost the regatta, my crew was able to calm me down and we finished with a 3rd place in the race. 

What is currently your biggest challenge/goal? 

My biggest challenge is keeping my edge. As I have gotten older, the stress associated with trying to win all the time has taken some of the fun out of sailing. My goal is to keep my edge but try to do it in a lower stress fashion–not get so wound up before the races and just try to have a little fun. 

What are you most looking forward to this season? 

I’m looking forward to seeing what my new Quantum sails can do in the different sailing venues and wind conditions. Midwinters was the first time I used the sails and for the 7-10 mile per hour breeze, they were the fastest sails I have ever owned. 

How has Quantum helped you meet your challenges? 

The support has been first class and the sails came without any quality issues. They fit properly the first time and look like they are very well made. 

What are you most proud of about your team/program? 

We enjoy sailing and racing together and have a very good team dynamic. Everything on the boat gets done with minimal talking and chatter, allows us to concentrate on the task at hand. 

How do you keep your team involved?

I married one of my crew so that helped to keep her involved! Connie, my other crew, just loves to sample various wines with my wife. It’s a win-win for me. 

What's is your advice to a new team to the class or for other teams trying to succeed? 

Make sailing/racing a way to enhance your family or friendship. Make it something you all enjoy doing together as a team. Even if you don’t have the best finishes you can always enjoy each other’s company. And once you have that, practicing in order to get better might just be a natural evolution!

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