One Design Spotlight: Ron Medlin's J/24 Bash

It's all about the team - The team credits their success to their team's chemistry. Photo by Chris Howell.

Name: Ron Medlin
Boat name: BASH
Class: J/24
Regular crew names: Sandy Cross, Rick Scott, Ben Bowie, Pete Gindhart, Clinton Bolton
Years in class: 20
Hometown/yacht club: Waccamaw Sailing Club - Wilmington, NC

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

I initially chose the J/24 because of the versatility of the boat. It can do so many things, hardcore one-design racing, handicap racing, solo racing, distance racing and family daysailing. What I like most about the boat now are the people in the class and the high level of competition.

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

The biggest challenge has been getting the right combinations of teammates on the boat. Team chemistry is so important. The current team works really well together and has experience. It has taken a lot of convincing and honest conversations with each other to get to where we are.

What is currently your biggest challenge/goal?

Our current goal is to qualify for the 2019 Worlds in Miami. The long term goal is a top 20 at Worlds and a top 3 at a Nationals or North Americans. It would take a combination of factors and luck to reach these long term goals.

What are you most looking forward to this season?

Competing at a high level, with my friends, and hopefully getting one of the coveted world qualification spots. The Nationals in Maine will be the highlight of the year. It is a beautiful place to sail and the hospitality is top notch!

How has Quantum helped you meet your challenges?

Quantum has put more effort into our program than anyone else we have worked with. From the first sail purchase, Travis Odenbach, and the other Quantum representatives have been with us every step of the way from basic tuning, to sail trim, to two boat testing, to coming on board at certain regattas to learn even more. It has been remarkable the level of support we have received. I cannot say enough about the level of support we have received from Travis and the rest of the Quantum team.

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

I am proud of how far we have come. Not too long ago we were in the back of the fleet. I am most proud that we have a team of young, (well, we used to be young now we are probably “middle aged”) amateurs, all of which have jobs, families and lives outside of sailing and are able to show up and compete at the top level of the class. I did not know if we could reach this level of success as a part-time, amateur program, but to do it with my friends and still be able to have well rounded lives is pretty awesome.

As a Corinthian team, what are you tips for being competitive against the rest of the fleet?

Eliminate excuses, put in the time and enjoy the journey. There is no reason why a team of amateurs cannot compete at the high level if you get the right chemistry and take advantage of the time you have. Figure out what the excuses are and eliminate them, from boat prep to tuning to teamwork. Never accept that someone else is faster because they are a “pro” or have something you do not. Anybody can be beat, get to work. Put the time in and before you know it that team that used to look untouchable will be sailing right beside you and you will hear “same, same” from the crew. Finally, enjoy the journey, enjoy each step on the ladder as you move up the fleet and celebrate it. If you were in the back of the fleet and now the middle, celebrate that. If you managed to sail a race day in over 20 kts and handle it for the first time and bring everyone home safely, enjoy it. This is supposed to fun.

How do you keep your team involved?

Along with us all having real jobs and responsibilities, we have to take time off from sailing. We keep in touch with messaging, pictures ect. The biggest thing we do is turn off the real world and focus 100% on sailing when we get to the regattas. I find an afternoon of focused practice right before the event is better than any just about anything else you can do.

What is the funniest (or most embarrassing) thing that has happened to your team?

We have a good time off the water for sure. Probably too many embarrassing moments to list. Our level of enjoyment has resulted in the team being politely asked to leave an establishment on more than one occasion. One that comes to mind is being cutoff at the Rooftop Bar in Charleston at about 11:00am one day.

What's the story behind your team name?

BASH is named after a horse I used to ride. He was a buckskin paint. He had a missing front tooth and was the most stubborn, impulsive and fastest horse at the farm. Webster’s defines “bash” as a 1) heavy blow or 2) a party, I thought that was the perfect name for a race boat.

What's is your advice to a class that is new to the class or for other teams trying to be successful?

Be a sponge, with a filter. There is so much good information out there and sailors willing to share it. We have learned so much from so many great sailors. I wish I had been more receptive to help early in my sailing career. Ask questions, read, understand and apply. I have never met a J24 sailor not willing to help another. Take advantage of it.

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