At a ceremony in Warren, Rhode Island, attended by U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, Rhode Island state Sen. Jack Reed, and sailing icon Gary Jobson, Pearson Composites formally presented Renaissance, the first hull in a new class of sailboats designed specifically for the U.S. Naval Academy's sail training program.
The 44-foot MKII replaces the 18-year-old MKI Navy 44 as the centerpiece of the Naval Academy's sail training program, which now requires every midshipman to qualify in small vessels during their first year at the academy, and will soon require midshipmen to sail a Command Seamanship and Navigation Training Squadron Cruise during their third summer.
Designed by Pedrick Yacht Designs of Newport, Rhode Island, the MKII mimics its stalwart predecessor in favoring durability and simplicity over speed. Because the Naval Academy puts these boats to work 250 days a year teaching basic sailing techniques, there's really no need for a wing keel or an asymmetrical spinnaker. The MKII's traditional setup, featuring a masthead genoa and halyards rigged to the base of the mast, delivers the classic sailing experience for the Academy's midshipmen.
Over the next several years, Pearson will build 23 more MKIIs to accommodate the 900 midshipmen the academy trains each summer.