Adventure Ahead for Tabor Boy’s XO Chip Connard ’19
Chip Connard ’19, Executive Officer (XO) of Tabor Boy, has been hard at work helping to make history with the schooner’s upcoming participation in the Marion Bermuda Race, her first time racing to Bermuda. The start is on June 14!
Any crossing to Bermuda on Tabor Boy is an adventure of a lifetime for the crew, so Chip and Cap were initially excited to offer their service to BYC as an escort vessel for the race this year. Surprising Chip and Cap, the BYC leaders instead encouraged Tabor Boy to enter the race to challenge the Spirit of Bermuda, one on one. Learning more about the race was an adventure in itself for Chip, who soon ventured to Bermuda with Cap to explore the idea. He said of the meeting, “Commodore Willie Forbes invited Captain Geil and me to attend a dinner at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) and meet in person with race organizers and representatives of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation. That evening, the Chairman of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, David Goodwin, threw down the gauntlet! This was followed with some good-natured banter including a generous offer to give us a two-day handicap! We accepted the challenge and countered by wishing the Spirit of Bermuda crew good luck in beating a bunch of high school kids!”
Chip’s personal history on the schooner is not that different than many of the student and alumni crew who will join him onboard for the race. His passi0n for Tabor Boy began in the summer of 2015 when he attended one of the week-long Orientation at Sea trips we offer to incoming students at Tabor. “Along with thirteen other new students, seven Tabor Boy student officers and three adults, I spent a week living onboard, learning how to sail the schooner, contributing my fair share of chore work, exploring Buzzards Bay and having a truly great time getting to know my peers. That fall season I sailed as a deckhand on the schooner crew almost every day of the week after classes, being trained in the operation of Tabor Boy by the experienced upperclassmen officers and Captain Geil. I rowed crew that spring, but it quickly became clear that I had fallen in love with Tabor Boy and couldn’t stand spending any time away from her.”
Chip has sailed on board every fall and spring since that year. His leadership lessons began in earnest the summer following his sophomore year when he was promoted to an officer position and worked for the Orientation at Sea program. “I was in charge of a watch and the schooner’s engine room for the orientation program that summer and during all of my junior year.” He was elected XO by his peers at the end of his junior year. He shared, “I have had the privilege this year of leading the student crew in our many adventures on the water together, building friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. By the time I graduate with nine seasons on board under my belt, I can say with complete confidence that I will have learned something new every day on board.”
Of course, Chip’s story is not unique, which is also why it is so powerful. Countless Tabor Boy crew have shared his passion for the schooner and the lessons she instills. And though the nature of the crew will be a little different for the race with some professional mates and alumni onboard, Chip will be the XO on Tabor Boy’s maiden Marion Bermuda Race!