Crew Bios

Dennis Williams, Owner/Helmsman, Hobe Sound, FL: A long time sailor, Dennis has competed in one designs as well as enjoyed cruising in New England. His most recent race boat prior to Victory ’83 was an International 210! Victory ’83 has allowed him to fulfill a long time dream of racing on the 12 Metres, one kindled back in the 70’s when Independence and Courageous sailed out of Marblehead. His cool demeanor on the helm is one of the keys to the success of the program. The 2019 Worlds represents a chance to defend the World Title he won in 2009. Dennis has been a big supporter of the local 12 Metre fleet and in addition to the refit of Victory ‘83; he also funded the refit of Defender in order to add another boat to the local fleet.

Jim Gretzky, Navigator, Program Manager, Newport, RI: A life-long sailor with a long history in 12 Metres dating back to the early 80’s. His career includes principle design involvement with three America’s Cup campaigns: project designer for Defender, Heart of America as chief designer/program manager and Technical Coordinator for the 1992 PACT program. His company, Sail Spars Designs, LLC specializes in 12 Metre spars, rigging, refits and rating/performance optimization.

Randy Shore, Strategist, Portsmouth, RI: He is an original member of our Victory ’83 team. In charge of the sail program, he sails onboard as a member of the afterguard. When not sailing on Victory ‘83, Randy works at Quantum sails and keeps active in a variety of one design and offshore classes.

Tom Lihan, Tactician, Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Tom has been actively sailing his entire life and enjoyed success in college and in variety of boats since then. He is active in the Super yacht circuit and he campaigns his own Etchells with which he recently won the 2019 Midwinters. Working with the other members of the Afterguard, Tom is the key man guiding Victory ’83 tactically, keeping an eye on the competition and the course.

Rock Ferrigno, Main Trimmer, Newtown, CT: Rock has been sailing his entire life. He is a veteran of 4 America’s Cup campaigns (IACC Era) as well as having sailed on the maxi circuit. He won the AC as part of the America^3 team. Rock is our doctor on board as well as the man responsible for keeping the main properly trimmed. For Rock, the Victory ’83 program represents a chance to sail with and against many old friends.

Phil Dyer, Main Grinder/Caddy, Wickford, RI: Phil is a veteran 12 Metre sailor dating back to his early days with South Australia. He provides the muscle to keep the main trimmed! He is active in the local racing scene in addition to sailing on Victory ‘83. Once a season he gives into Temptation and races against Victory ’83 in the Queen’s Cup under IRC.

Richie Boyd, Trimmer, Newport, RI: Richie’s 12M career goes back to 1970 with Ted Turner on American Eagle and includes winning the Cup on Courageous with Ted Turner. He brings a calm, understated demeanor backed up with a depth of experience that helps keep the rest of us on track. His experience with Twelves is only the tip of an extensive background including metre boats, maxis and everything in between. When not on Victory ‘83, he can often be seen on Fortune, the 100-year-old schooner based in Newport.

Beau LeBlanc, Trimmer, Madison, CT: A veteran of numerous AC programs including the 12M America II in Fremantle and a Cup winner with Bill Koch’s America^3 program. He is active on a wide variety of yachts around the globe. He is an active member of the Southern Yacht Club Team Racing program that has enjoyed great success in recent years including winning the Hinman Masters in 2018.

Ned Hurwitch, Grinder, Cambridge, MA: Ned is a life-long sailor whose family are old friends with Dennis and Jim. Ned brings the power and endurance of youth to the middle of the boat. He and the rest of the grinding team provide the needed power on the winches to keep Victory ’83 moving at top speed.

Justin Lawrence, Grinder, East Hampton, NY: Justin brings youth and enthusiasm to the team. A can-do attitude and a great sense of humor help keep us all in good humor. When not sailing on Victory ‘83, Justin can be found exploring Antarctica as part of a doctorate program.

Mark Preston, Grinder, Newport, RI: Mark is an original Victory ‘83 crew member who decided to stay in Newport. His ready smile and hard work are a key part of the grinding power in the middle of the boat. When not sailing on Victory ‘83, Mark and his family can be found enjoying their own boat in local waters.

Peter Eagan, Grinder, Tiverton, RI: Peter is one of those guys that everyone wants on their boat. A ready smile and an awesome reach coupled with power. Who needs winches raising sails when he is jumping the halyard! Peter adds power to the middle of the boat and as a professional rigger, he helps make sure all systems are in perfect working order.

Wally Henry, Pit, Rocky Point, NY: Wally is a veteran 12 Metre sailor from the Heart of America days. He has won the AC with America^3 and the 12 Metre Worlds twice (KZ5 and Victory ’83). Wally is the control center in the middle of the boat that makes sure all operations are coordinated and go off as planned. When not sailing with Victory ‘83, he can be found on any number of super yachts around the World. He is active in his community coaching his local high school team, sharing his experience with a new generation of sailors.

Chip Parris, Mast, Narragansett, RI: Chip is a veteran 12 Metre sailor starting with Heart of America. He also won the Cup with the America^3 program. He has had a long sailing career spanning from metre boats to offshore racing. His experience and thoughtful review of the program has been very helpful in keeping us on track.

Tony Pearce, Mid Bow, Newport, RI: Tony started with the Victory ’83 in her first season and has been a key part of the program ever since. In addition to sailing on the boat, he also handles the running rigging, keeping it in top shape. When not sailing with Victory ‘83, he can be found building rigging for grand prix yachts. His other regular gig is working with the Rambler Team.

Karl Funk, Bow, Seattle, WA: Karl runs the pointy end of the boat with a keen eye and good humor. He works with the entire bow team to make sure the sail handling is top notch. His skills insure the sets and takedowns are fast and flawless. Between events (and sometimes during!), he lends his very experienced hands to any boat building chores that might need to be done. He can be found on a number of grand prix yachts around the world and has participated in the major offshore races including the Transatlantic, Fastnet, Bermuda and Sydney-Hobart.

Jeff Udell, Instrumentation, Navigation, Riverside, NJ: Jeff keeps the instrument package working accurately and flawlessly. He is on and off the boat as needed and can frequently be found in the navigator’s pit. When not working on Victory ‘83, he can be found navigating or keeping the electronics going on a variety of grand prix yachts.

Kim Roberts, Boat Captain, Tender, Newport, RI: Kim has been involved with the 12 Metres since 1980 with Clipper. He has been the lead builder on 5 twelves including Defender and Heart of America. He keeps Victory ’83 and the tender Destiny in top shape during and between events. He is an active member of the local Shields Fleet.

Avery Ellis, Tender mate, Newport, RI: Avery provides support on board the tender during events and to the program between events. When not working with Victory ‘83, he can be found working on other yachts and sailing locally, often with Kim on the Shields.