From age 18, LT Chris Branning, USCG, made his bed every morning at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, commonly known as “King’s Point”. In his mind, the academy presented the shortest route to his childhood dream: flying military aviation. So, Chris made the decision to sacrifice thirsty Thursdays and all-of the animal-house trappings of a typical college experience to march, study, and spend a year at sea. Even he could never have imagined how far those choices would take him. Chris Branning is more than “OK” with being a detail-oriented perfectionist. It’s a valuable trait for any rescue aviator for the UCCG, where now LT Branning, who is a “Rescue Helicopter Pilot” as his current day job, moonlights as a part time racing offshore navigator. Hi moonlighting began in 2007, where he navigated “Morning Light”, a TransPac52, a 52-foot racing sailboat, as part of a team was 11 young sailors ranging in age from 18-23 years old. They placed 3rd in their division competing against seasoned “professionals.” See the Disney documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliuVqWKq5w
Fast forward to the summer of 2016, where Lt Branning, who has now has rapidly ascended the professional ranks, having just set a record on Rio100 who sped across the Pacific to set a new Pacific Cup Fastest Passage record. With an elapsed time of 5 days, 2 hours, 41 mins and 13 seconds, Rio100 knocked two hours off the record set in 2004. We are privileged & fortunate to have Chris enlighten us at this year’s 2017 Strictly Sail Boat Show on Sunday, April 9th “Marine Weather, Seamanship & Navigation Strategies, & Boat Outfitting Symposium” sharing his formula for success at last year’s Pacific Cup 2016 race, as it may apply to offshore cruising as well!