North Sails LOFT NEWS
Story Contributors: Drew Mitchell
REMEMBERING TRAVIS MCGREGOR
A Cruiser, A Racer, A Friend
The first time I met Travis was on his Beneteau Oceanis 50 Turnagain when installing a new sail he purchased from North Sails Vancouver. 6 years later I was invited by Travis to race to Hawaii on the same boat in the 2018 edition of the Vic Maui.
When I first met Travis he was a full on cruiser and he decided to join the Vic Maui in the cruiser class to get some ocean miles under his belt. He enjoyed his first Vic Maui so much he decided to do it again in 2016. Travis also raced on many other boats in the PNW as his boat was set up for ocean sailing.
After racing Travis was a social guy and you could always be sure to find him enjoying a hoppy beer either on the docks or in a local brewery. I think a bit of the local racing and his enjoyment during his first two Vic Maui’s really started to push him to truly crave ocean racing. He put a real competitive team together for the 2018 Vic Maui which I was lucky enough to be invited.
Travis was competitive but results were not first priority, the list went like this 1) the personal safety of the crew 2) boat preservation and then 3) results. I learned a lot from Travis and his ability to prepare and organize an ocean racing boat and team. One of the coolest things Travis could do in my opinion was while laying down underneath he could tell if someone was not driving the boat correctly.
He put a lot of miles on Turnagain and it was almost like when he was on the boat, him and the boat were one… as weird as that sounds. He took very good care of Turnagain and I even remember when we got to Lahaina and he was giving the final crew briefing before we hit the docks to celebrate with family and the organizers and he said “so they are going to give us champagne and whatever you do, DO NOT spray it on the boat!”
Another little story about how safety orientated he was after we finished the 2018 Swiftsure Yacht race we hit the docks at 6 am for breakfast and listened on the radio for the rest of the finishers. I had done the math and we were looking good to win our division overall, Travis was listening but made every single crew member coffee and breakfast while I kept my ear glued to VHF. After breakfast the final few boats we were worried about finished, I did the math and I had announced that we won our Division. As soon as we found out that we had won, dock lines came off the dock and we headed out for a man overboard drill… you’d think after 24 hours of racing and winning the division the captain would let us sleep a little.
I asked Travis why he thought it was so important to go and do a man overboard drill at 6 am and I will never forget his reply, he said ” I want to practice this drill while everyone is overtired and worn out as that could be the same state we are in if someone falls overboard.”
Hear more about Travis and the impact he made on his friends and competitors.