The shores of Lake Michigan on a summer’s day bustle with cruisers and racers spending time out on the water with friends, family and crew – the warm weather, freshwater and consistent breeze is the magic that all Great Lakes sailors are drawn to. That pull has always been a strong one for the crew of the Pac52 “Callisto”. This is the story of Callisto.
A Michigan native, skipper Jim Murray grew up sailing Flying Juniors and Lasers with friends and family. In 2010, now living near Chicago, Jim and his wife Kate purchased a J/109 and started to race in the abundant local and regional races. Powered by a 100% Doyle Sails inventory from day one, the crew grew to include a mix of Detroit-area junior sailors from the 80s, local friends, and veteran distance-racing amateurs drawn from Jason Andrews and Shawn Dougherty’s Transpac-winning J/125 “Hamachi” and Rob Evans’ three-peat J/109 Mac Champs “Goat Rodeo.”
With a dozen Mackinac races and two J/109 Great Lakes Season Championships under their belt, the team began to turn their attention to offshore races. With a bucket list including Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean events, the search for a new platform began. The Pac52 fleet on the West Coast of the USA had caught the team’s attention. Representing a return to the offshore roots of the TP52 class, Pac52s combine a taller rig and deeper keel with enhanced hull structure in an effort to preserve power while providing better offshore stability (and comfort) than the better-known Super Series TP52s.
For the now “pro-am” Callisto crew, the Pac52 offers an opportunity to tick off their bucket list offshore races. Better than that, they will be sailing with long-term friends and colleagues alongside veteran ocean-racing pros.
While Covid-19 delayed the program’s offshore debut, the team took line honors and first overall in the 2021 Spinnaker Cup run from San Francisco to Monterey and first overall in California Offshore Race Week. Callisto placed third in Division Three and fifth overall in last summer’s Transpac, finishing in the early hours of the 24th of July against a picture-perfect Waikiki Beach backdrop.
The team has spent the winter sea trialling and testing ahead of the upcoming Caribbean 600 and Newport to Bermuda races. While plans are still in flux given pandemic restrictions, Team Callisto hope to line up next against Doyle-powered Warrior Won (Callisto’s sister ship and the overall winner of the 2021 Transpac) and Tala (the Botin 52 winner of IRC Zero in the 2022 RORC Transatlantic) in Antigua on February 21.
Alongside any campaign of this calibre, a team of experts are required to ensure it all runs seamlessly. Bill Colombo and Doyle Sails are proud to have been part of both Callisto Racing’s J/109 and now the Pac52, working hand-in-glove with program lead Jared Henderson and boat captain Nick Chadwick to deliver world-class sails and turnkey service the entire way. Bill and Doyle Sails San Francisco is supported by Justin Ferris, a well-respected offshore sailor with extensive experience in many Grand Prix fleets and an expert in Grand Prix sail design and technology for Doyle Sails. Justin and Bill work closely with Callisto Racing to ensure that their inventory of sails not only meets the design and performance brief but fits well within any rating or rule requirements.
Callisto Racing has taken the opportunity to maximise the yacht’s performance with the Structured Luff and Cableless technology that is exclusive to Doyle Sails. The technology reduces luff sag and loads, creating more driving force from greater projection.
For Doyle Sails, people are at the heart of what we do, and working with people like Jim, his family, and friends enables us to share our knowledge and help all sailors get the most enjoyment out of their sailing and be part of the story of Callisto.
The future is exciting, and we’re happy to be on the journey with Callisto Racing on their quest.
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