Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bio: Ron Simonson, Captain

Ron Simonson

Ron on Set
Born and raised in the south bay area of Los Angeles, Ron has spent most of his life near the ocean. A graduate of Torrance West High and California State University at Long Beach, he now resides in nearby Redondo Beach. When not pursuing his passion for sailing and racing, Ron works behind the camera as a member of Hollywood’s special effects community.

Growing up in Torrance, California the ocean was never far away. Starting with surfing—which is taught in high school gym class—Ron developed a love of the beach and water. However, it was in Sea Scouts that he was introduced to sailing and something that would become a personal passion. Spending summers sailing to the scout camp on Catalina Island, Ron grew to love and appreciate the challenge, hard work and patience that is required by ocean sailing. Shortly after high school Ron acquired his own sailboat, one of the fiberglass classics, a Cal 20. Used as mainly as a cruise boat—but sometimes a one class racer—Ron spent many weekends plying the waters between LA Harbor and Catalina.

After graduating from college and getting started in Hollywood, Ron upgraded from the Cal 20 to a Catalina 38. Christened ‘Temptress,’ the 38 was a crusing/racing hybrid of a boat which just happened to be hull #1 of the series. Catalina Yachts has always been primarily known as a fiberglass builder whose boats sailed well—but were not quite race material. The Catalina 38 tried to break that mold. The boat itself was not designed by Catalina, but by Sparkman and Stevens. And instead of being a cruise boat—like most of the other Catalina designs, the 38 was a race design. Ron’s boat actually started life as a racer in the Congressional Cup of 1980. It was this crusing/racing hybrid pedigree which lured Ron into buying the boat. Used as a cruiser for the first part of it’s life, the temptation to get into organized racing slowly grew and by the late 1990s it became a reality. Starting with weekday evening club races and then growing into the more professional weekend races, Ron’s passion for racing slowly began to outgrow the ability of his Catalina 38.

In 2003 Ron settled on upgrading his boat and found the perfect candidate—over 5000 miles away from Los Angeles! But to racers, there is no distance too far. Ron set off in the spring to see the boat that would become Sleeper in it’s home port outside of London. The Jeanneau 44 was already employed as a racer by it’s owner, competing in the cold and wet North Sea. It was love at first sea trial—the sailing term for ‘test drive.’ So the deal was made and the plans were made to ship the boat back from dreary London to the sunny waters of Southern California.

Once Sleeper was in California waters Ron’s passion for racing grew exponentially. Day long weekend races grew into multi-day offshore races—Around Catalina, Santa Barbara to King Harbor, Long Beach to Dana Point. Building up to Sleeper’s first complete Newport to Ensenada race in 2007.
Ron at the Helm of Sleeper

The Transpac has always been a lifelong dream of Ron’s. And now with the boat, the experienced crew and some sponsors to back him up 2013 will see that dream become reality...

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