Tom Whidden has many reasons to celebrate these days. Not only did the Eastbay 55 owner recently claim overall victory at the 2017 Candy Store Cup Superyacht Regatta, but he will also soon take delivery of a brand-new Grand Banks 60.
Whidden’s 92-foot luxury sailing yacht, Bequia, clinched victory on the last day of the 3-day Candy Store Cup, held off the coast of Newport, R.I., July 27-29. After Bequia defeated Freya by 58 seconds in a 23.7-mile race on Thursday, Freya retaliated with a 43-second victory on Friday. But Bequia sealed the deal on the final day when Freya was forced to retire with a split mainsail. Whidden took home a Class B victory prize of a glass vase filled with candy, as well as the overall Candy Store Cup Trophy.
“This was a very fun regatta,” says Tom, an Americas Cup winner who will be inducted into the Sailing Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., on Sept. 24, 2017. “The last day saw 20 to 30 knots of wind. They thought about canceling it, but went ahead. I’m glad they did!”
After enjoying his Eastbay 55 for 9 years, Tom recently purchased the game-changing Grand Banks 60, which will make its U.S. debut at the Newport International Boat Show, Sept. 14-17. The GB60 boasts speeds greater than 36 knots and a range surpassing 2,000 nautical miles at 10 knots. A very low center of gravity delivers an exceptional ride, and classic styling pays tribute to the Grand Banks legacy.
“I ordered the GB60 literally the same week I heard about it,” Tom says. “I appreciate the new hull style, the way the yacht trims. The structure, use of carbon fiber, the frames and rigidity appeals to me. I’m pretty confident it will be a great yacht.”
Tom’s decades of international sailing experience, as well as his role as CEO for North Technology Group, have fostered a deep appreciation for a well-crafted yacht with superior handling and performance. This, in turn, has made him a loyal Grand Banks customer. “I come from a very technical side of the yachting industry,” he says. “With Grand Banks CEO Mark Richards being a sailor, that brings a lot to the game as far as what you get in a yacht. I appreciate what they’re doing at Grand Banks right now.”