Dalton DeVos
12th of May, 2015

In At the Deep End

It is a mighty hot seat to step in to. It is all change at the back of 52 SUPER SERIES champions for this season as America’s Cup winner and multiple Match Race world champion Ed Baird moves aside as the owners Doug and Dalton DeVos have found enough time this season to enjoy steering their new TP52 Quantum Racing.

And it has to be emphasized there is nothing more to it than that. Doug has managed to set aside a little more time to make it to regattas in Europe, whilst son Dalton has the 2015 season as time between graduating from college last winter and starting work. They will share the helm at alternating regattas. That’s the theory anyway. At 22, Dalton, has been racing his Melges 32 program with some considerable success, but early May in Palma for the Palma Vela regatta was the first time ever he had helmed a TP52. And he appeared to take to it like the proverbial duck to water, learning fast from the best, the crop of America’s Cup, MedCup and 52 SUPER SERIES winners that are the Quantum Racing team. Dalton is in the depths of preparation for his first ever 52 SUPER SERIES regatta, the Ford Vignale Valencia Sailing week. Talk about a baptism of fire!

Above and beyond any worry, nerves or obvious stress Dalton appears to be taking the step up from the Melges 32 to the TP52 all in hs stride:

I am so happy to be here. It is just awesome. It is like sailing in the Major League of sailing. The Melges 32 are very competitive and awesome boats but when you add 20 feet it becomes a serious boat.
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

DeVos Jr opens. Although the family had an early TP52 this is his first time on a modern generation boat and on the helm:

We had a Windquest TP52 program back in 2005, that was the first time I was ever on board a TP52 but Palma Vela has been the first time ever I have driven a TP52.
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

Watching him learning around the track in Palma there are rough edges to be smoothed off, techniques to be finessed and Dalton is in complete accord:

It is great fun. Ed (Baird) has been just telling me what to do, and if you can follow what he tells you then it will be OK. And I know that. It has been so much fun. Much too much fun. I have told my dad that when he comes back he will not be steering! That did not go down too well.
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

Dalton DeVos is used to having coaches yelling at him on the football and baseball field, so stepping in to the learning experience with Baird, Adrian Stead, Juan Vila et al, is not too initmidating, he says:

I have played a semester of college baseball, and I played a lot of sports in high school. I have always played sport and the most important thing is to keep being open to learning. And if you are coachable there is no limit to how far you can go.

But surely you find it stressful?

A little bit, a little bit. But the guys are so welcoming. And I would not really expect that because they are at the top of the sport, but they are extremely good at holding my hand through it all. It makes a big difference and I just love them for it.
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

And the learning process is just beginning, what does he think he need to learn most about?

Everything! It is a bigger boat, things happen slower and more precisely. You cannot just flip it around like at 32 and they can’t just catch up if you turn it too fast. Everything has to be a lot more precise. At the starts you have to understand a lot more of what is going on in the starts. So then I know what Ed is going to tell me before he tells me, ot at least I know what he might tell me. I understand a lot more of these small things in the sport then I can prepare better for things.
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

And, unfortunately for you, this is about an opportunity to race this year, it is not likely to be your long term future?

I just graduated from college in December. I majored in Marketing and Management. I was at school in Grand Valley State University , in Grand Rapids Michigan. I did not do any sailing there but I was constantly sailing the 32 through my four years there. It was fun.
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

Almost all of the crew are new to Dalton…

Ed Baird was tactician for my cousin Ryan and we run a two boat program together, which is a lot of fun. We do debriefs together. And I sailed with Tommy Burnham a few times early on, on Delta, when I was sailing in High School.
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

And give us a potted history of your family sailing?

Sailing in the family goes way back. My grandpa started it all just getting cruiser which he decided he wanted to race. And then my Uncle Dick who is the oldest in my Dad’s family and Dad who is the youngest, he basically convinced him they needed to start racing a little bit more, saying ‘this is fun’. My Dad did not like sailing when he was younger. There is video of him hanging on to the winch with one hand and on to my Grandma’s with the other, crying it is so funny. Now he cannot be so different from that. He cannot get enough. If he could sail every day of the year he would!
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

And so what is your program and your Dad’s with Quantum Racing this season?

I will race Valencia. Dad will steer in Porto Cervo and I think Copa del Rey I will be there and so far I am not sure if he will be there, but I am secretly hoping he won’t make it there! I think I will just do this year as real life is calling and I need to get to work. I will always be in the sport one way or another.
Dalton DeVos, Quantum Racing

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