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With less then 2 weeks to go…..!

I’d be a fool to say I wasn’t just a little worried…but, I’d be a bigger fool not to brag! Take a look at Alex’s bio for the singlehanded transpac entries! His race from SF to Kauai starts in just 12 days! Zander, Bea, Al, Winchester and I are incredibly proud of him!

Alex Mehran


Open 50
PHRF 129

I started sailing with my grandfather in North Haven, Maine, when I was six. He had raced in his younger years, but he had become a bluewater cruiser with a focus on high latitudes by the time I was around. We spent time learning seamanship, passage planning, dead reckoning and the merits of his beloved triangles over parallel rules. Penobscot Bay was a long way from my home in San Francisco, but I wanted badly to keep learning and my mom supported that fully. She found summer programs at Sausalito YC and ‘Saturday Sailing’ during the school year where we sailed lasers out of Corinthian YC. It was there that I met coach Pat Andreasen from St. Francis YC who ran the program. With my parents’ help, I kept up with the weekend sailing and started to attend Four Winds Camp for a month every summer. There was more freedom there given the calmer bay that we were in and the family environment that the camp created. Additionally, “Mr. D” owned the famous Dorade, which I took every available moment to work on and sail. I was on the crew when we took her to the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival twice. Those are two very important memories to me.

From there I joined up with the St. Francis Junior team and Pat Andreasen, and started sailing pretty much every day on the Cityfront in a Laser. I was a big kid at 11, so I got into the full rig quickly and started training with Rob Maxim, who became like a big brother to me. We traveled all around the country going to Junior Olympics, Nationals, North Americans and many other events. I then went to Stevenson School in Pebble Beach and brought my Laser along with me. Coach McAleer ran the program there and was also one of my teachers. He had sailed many TransPacs, so maybe the seeds of my current ambitions were sewn on our van rides home from practice. Mr. McAleer was a great mentor to me and the best educator that I ever had in my life. We both aspired to get involved in the growing high school sailing community and he started by coaching me at the Cressey Trophy qualifier in Santa Cruz my freshman year. We qualified and I went to sail in the nationals in Miami. From there we had the itch to keep going and, with borrowed FJs and a skeleton crew, we attended the Anteater Regatta, among others, which was great fun. Again with some support from my mom, we commissioned a fleet of several new FJs and a new floating dock that would become our training center in Monterrey in 1998. That gave the competitive program legs and it remains strong today with Mr. McAleer’s leadership. After Stevenson, I sailed at Brown while I was there. Again dedicating pretty much all of my free time toward practice and weekend races. The Brown team was a blast with a good mix of serious sailors and more light-hearted people who just loved being on the water. We had some great successes, but I think I started to take it a bit too seriously and burned out by the time I graduated.

After some years of getting my professional life going in Manhattan, it was time to move home to work for the family business and start a family with my wonderful wife Maggie. But first I needed to get back into sailing! My friend from Brown, Nick Halmos and I decided to take nine months and learn how to sail offshore. He had done a ton of sailing offshore, I had done much less, but we were both instrument-rated pilots and felt we would just figure it out. Shorthanded was the only option since we didn’t want to rely on a bunch of other people, and the Class 40 was the boat given our budget, its performance attributes, suitability for long offshore passages and the rapid growth of the class. The boat was craned off the deck of a large ship in Florida and dropped in the water, we named her Cutlass and off we went. It was an epic journey from Florida to Jamaica, Antigua, BVIs, Bermuda, Newport, Halifax and more. We learned a lot and had a great victory in the Bermuda 1-2, which was a very special moment for the program that both Nick and I had worked very hard on.

As mentioned, after Cutlass I got married and settled down in Diablo, California, with my wife. Now we have a beautiful son, Alexander ‘Zander’ Mehran III, who is the pride and joy of both of his parents. We also have three dogs, Albert, Bea and Winchester who are less happy about the new arrival, but as always are important family members. I work for my father and grandfather at Sunset Development Company in San Ramon running the operational end of our development Bishop Ranch.

Last but most important to this bio is that I charter an Open 50 that I call Truth and will be sailing her in the ’12 Solo Transpac. The boat is well-found, having a great designer in Merf Owen, excellent pedigree and having had great care and updating from her previous owner, Philippe Kahn. She is an all-carbon, canting keel open class yacht with an 80-ft three-spreader rig. The boat is an excellent offshore racing machine, so long as she is kept in hand, which is my primary mission in the race!

Navigation: Mix of paper charts and Expedition.

Steering: Twin rudder/tiller connected by an underdeck cross bar with a pilot tiller that has two Hydraulics Projects rams, one for each B&G pilot head end.

Communication: Inmarsat FB150, Ship Board Iridium, Handheld Iridium, SSB.

Food: Freeze dried that will be minimized through a solid grocery store run the night before. And candy. And coffee.

Special thanks: Wife Maggie for everything, Dad & Mom for support and helping me get started in sailing, all the rest of my family, my partners Zan, Merf, Gilles, Skip, Selig, Edward, Nick, Denis, Malcolm, Bob, Paul, Jesse, Dave and my friends and colleagues at Sunset. And Philippe and Team Pegasus for their hard work and generosity.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Yeah also best of luck from me…

    September 22, 2012
  2. Karen #

    wow! Best of luck to Alex. What an experience!

    June 18, 2012


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