The following is the June APS Chesapeake Racer Profile, a monthly hi-light in Spinsheet Magazine (written by Molly Winans):
It’s true, many Southern Bay sailors speak in a more southern fashion than their mid- and Upper Bay counterparts-think of Southern Bay Race Week’s tagline, “Y’all Come On, Let’s Race!” Alan Bomar’s accent goes a bit deeper than Virginia. The longtime J/24 sailor grew up sailing on Butterflies, Lightnings, and J/24s on Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta, GA, eventually sailing with the club team at Georgia Tech. Bomar moved to Hampton in 1984 and has been a fixture of the sailing scene ever since.
“When I first moved to the Hampton Roads area, I was single and free to go sailing all the time. I went every weekend,” He says. He crewed for John Hanna on his Pearson 37 and later a Mumm 36. After marrying his wife, Jan and having two kids, he found Rusty Burshell’s J/30 Cool Change was more conductive to his family sailing life. He brought his family’s 1977 J/24 Roundabout (“not quite as old as Tony Parker’s”) to the Bay in 1997 and has been actively racing her in PHRF C out of Hampton YC (HYC) with a solid High Point record, including winning in 2007 and placing second in 2008 and 2009.
Bomar and crew-often including his 17-year-old son William and sometimes 13-year-old daughter Abby-occasionally travel to Annapolis or to Fishing Bay, but more often than not stick to Hampton. “There’s good cooperation among local clubs to put on racing every weekend,” he says. “Hampton offers a great sailing venue with fairly predictable southwest or easterly winds, and the Lower Bay offers a great, wide platform for bigger events.”
Longtime crew Ray Nugent says, “Alan is calm and unflappable, radiating confidence from the back of the boat, keeping the crew on task during crises. Don’t let the gentlemanly demeanor fool, you, however . He is a fierce competitor and tactically savvy around the course.”
After breaking his leg while surf kayaking with his son late in 2008, Bomar was diagnosed with a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. His most aggressive treatment to date included recent back-to-back stem cell transplants. At the time of this writing, Bomar was nearing the end of his 100-day recovery period. His blood counts were good and improving, and he was looking forward to racing in the Leukemia Cup Regatta in Deltaville July 10-11 out of Fishing Bay YC. To learn more about the regatta and its goal of raising money to cure blood cancers, visit leukemiacup.org/va or fbyc.net.
SpinSheet: Who are your sailing mentors?
John Hanna, Rusty Burshell, and Ted Turner (I’ve never met him, but…).
Who are your best sailing buddies?
Nick Drake, Ray Nugent, David Hamm, and my son William.
Do you have a favorite sailing memory from 2009?
Last fall, my son wanted to do the frostbite series. One day, it was blowing 16 to 20 knots . It was just the two of us. We were over-powered, but it was an exciting memorable day. We didn’t win, but we tried. We didn’t break anything. We had a blast.
Is there a place on the Bay that makes you think, “This is why I live here.”
Probably just sailing in the Hampton Roads area. You can sail up the Elizabeth River or the James River. There is a variety of ships in the harbor. It’s always changing, always interesting.
What kind of music do you listen to?
1970s rock and roll: the Who, Yes and Jethro Tull.
What magazines do you read?
SpinSheet, Sailing World, Sailing, Garden & Gun, and various technology magazines (I’m an engineer at heart).
What is your favorite restaurant or watering hole?
On special occasions, we go do the commodore’s dining room at HYC. It’s nice looking out on the boats and Hampton University across the river.
Do you have any non-sailing passions?
I like to check out history museums. and I’m amazed by technology and how it evolved through history.
Do you have any advice for a young sailor?
Spend time on the water and race as many boats as you can.
Do you have any advice for sailors in general?
Be a mentor to someone who is new to sailing. Take someone under your arm and teach him or her about sailing and being a good crew.
Is there anything you would like to achieve on the water that you haven’t yet?
One year, I ‘d like to do well in the J/24 East Coast Championships.
If you won the lottery, what kind of boat would you buy?
A 37-foot WallyNano. I love the classic look and reverse transom.