With movie star good looks and a personality to match, Nick Dana lights up any room he enters. Make no mistake though; this accomplished sailor is much more than a pretty face.
As the Bowman/Boat Captain on Team Alvimedica, the joint US/Turkey entry in the demanding Volvo Ocean Race, Nick plays a vital role as they race around the world in the longest and toughest event in sports.
The team is coming off two impressive podium finishes, Lisbon and Lorient, and a decisive Lorient in-port race win, not bad for the team dubbed ‘Young Guns’ for being the youngest team in the race – all but one crew member is in their late twenties or early thirties.
As well as flying the American flag, the boat also displays a Turkish one, which symbolizes sponsorship by Alvimedica, a young Turkish medical supplies company. The team found synergy with another young company interested building brand awareness around the world.
The Volvo Ocean Race spans nearly 40,000 nautical miles over nine months and is a test of sailing acumen and human perseverance. There are 10 stopovers, including exotic destinations like Abu Dhabi, Sanya, and Itajai.
This is Nicks third time around too, first as shore crew with Puma Ocean Racing in 2008-9 then as on board reporter with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2011-12.
Nick’s favorite moment of this edition is coming home to Newport, RI in Leg 6. Newport residents came out in thousands for their early morning arrival. It was epic.
Being raised in Newport, home to more Volvo Ocean Volvo Ocean veterans than anywhere else in the country, and also scion of the Newport Shipyard family, a sailing career could be called predestined. Indeed, Nick said he felt the call of the sea from a young age.
“Growing up in Newport affords certain opportunities… I was involved in races all over the world and then suddenly one day it was a profession,” he said.
It’s a career that allows him to indulge in another passion, surfing. The stopovers in the South Africa and Brazil were perfect opportunities.
Nick is also enjoys cooking in his free time, particularly BBQ and Italian, with a fresh, simple approach. His signature dish though is Potatoes au Gratin, courtesy of his mother’s recipe.
Nick jokes that his favorite wine is ‘the bottle on the table’ but then said pinot noir. These days he is more often enjoying the pinot while his beautiful Parisian girlfriend cooks.
A not-so-secret talent is his mechanical skill, both on and off the boat. A Maine Lobster boat, classic Chevy C10 truck and 1957 Volkswagen Bettle are among his many restoration projects while on land.
The nearly yearlong race affords many special experiences. One has to wonder the most memorable. It was easy for Nick.
‘Rounding Cape Horn in first. It’s a big moment for any sailor but to do it in the Volvo Ocean Race… It feels surreal.”
With a background in the Rolex Fastnet, Maxi Worlds and numerous J/Boat regattas, Nick’s life after the Volvo Ocean Race is sure to be just as exciting. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at @nickdana_.
Kara Hugglestone is a San Francisco-based branding professional, accessory designer, sailor and traveler. When time permits, she also indulges in her passion for things classic: cars, movies, wine and fashion. You can follow her on Twitter at @gallerykara.