With the Americas Cup buzz around the SF Bay, Muscle Milk MEGA athlete, Memo Gidley, and his Basic Instinct crew, surprised some of the local sailing veterans, by taking third in class in last weekend’s YRA season ending Island Tour Regatta on the San Francisco Bay.
Both Memo and his crew are relative newcomers to the local sailboat racing scene, having been sailing together for only this past season. And even though Memo was raised on the water and has been sailing his whole life, it’s only in the last year that he started racing. “Growing up I sailed, but never really understood anything about the dynamics of what makes a sailboat go fast,” said Gidley. “It is so interesting and I am fascinated by the unlimited combinations of adjustments that you can make on the sails and boat for more speed.”
Memo is not new to racing, as one of the top and most well known racing drivers in the US, Memo has been perfecting his skills as a driver for the last fifteen years when he first stepped into the cockpit. Memo is known as the underdog that fought his way to the top and now continues to stay there despite never ending challenges that he has overcome. “There are a lot of similarities to auto racing, hard work, dedication, attention to detail and teamwork are keys,” said Gidley. “And the bottom line is you can never stop learning. For me right now I have a lot to learn, however, I am surrounded by a lot of great sailboat racers and I am like a sponge taking it all in!”
Gidley and his crew consisting of tactician Gary Gebhard, trimmer Taylor Joy, trimmer Bob Lesnett, and first mate and 70 something year old Mom Mary, had a relative mistake free race and were all happy with their performance. “We were really a little short crewed to be racing this class but we all decided we would just take our time and go for it,” said Gidley. “I do believe that even though it is a little more dangerous and on the edge with a small crew, for us we are learning at a fast rate.”
Does Gidley ever see a career in racing sailboats? “Even though I have no plans to ever quit car racing as my full time gig, I think if you have a passion for something and you work hard at it, the future is wide open,” said Gidley. “When I started as a race car mechanic with the goal of being a top professional driver, I still hear people snickering in the background because in their mind I was too poor and starting too late. I am glad I have been able to inspire others like myself from the least likely to succeed class!”