Two American Teams Invited to Inaugural Offshore Double Handed World Championship in Lorient, France

Following the event announcement from World Sailing, US Sailing requested and received two invitations to compete in the first ever Offshore Double Handed World Championship in Lorient, France this fall.  

US Sailing opened applications for US Nationals who submitted resumes for consideration to US Sailing’s International Selection Committee. As the Member National Authority (MNA) to World Sailing, US Sailing was able to facilitate the invitation process on behalf of the two teams, ensuring that they are compliant with registration requirements. The invitations to the two American teams were just confirmed this week so preparations and training sessions have begun.  

The two nominated teams are:  

  • Erica Lush and Tim Kent
  • Barbara (Basia) Karpinska and Vladimir (Kuli) Kulinichenko  


Credit to Stuart Wemple

Team Lush + Kent 

Erica Lush and Tim Kent have both accumulated a tremendous amount of offshore experience in their careers as sailors and have been enthusiastic about shorthanded sailing for a long time. 

Lush began racing double handed in 2020 as an effort to improve her all-around skills and challenge herself at a higher level and was immediately hooked. She sees single and double handed racing as the ultimate pathway to reaching her highest potential in this sport. Lush has amassed over 85,000 nautical miles offshore, including racing (crewed) through the Southern Ocean via the 3 Great Capes, becoming part of the first all-female crew to win an Around the World yacht race in 2024. She has spent her career learning technical skills alongside sailing strategy, including working for a year with IMOCA 60 teams, making her confident in her ability to fix things offshore when they go wrong – and to fine-tune a boat for the best performance. 

When she began seeking advice into how to progress as a shorthanded sailor, one piece given to her was to sail solo: If you can sail competitively single-handed, then you can definitely be competitive double handed. This was why the opportunity to race with Kent in the 2022 Shorthanded Bermuda to Newport Return Race was a no-brainer: teaming up with a more seasoned offshore sailor as she continued to gain her sea legs in the shorthanded environment was a sure way to learn quickly.

Kent began racing solo in 1997in the inaugural Chicago-to-Mackinac solo race. The hook was set in that event – shorthanded racing was for him. He won the race in 1999 and decided optimistically that he could race solo around the world. He entered the solo Around Alone Race in 2002 with an IMOCA 50 and placed second in Class 2. Kent also has a proven commitment to bringing more women intothis sport at a high level. As his two daughters were growing up, he made sure to provide impressive leadership opportunities for them from a young age. As a continued promise to his daughters, from the start of his Class 40 program Kent has had a woman as his co-skipper on every doublehanded race to ensure that he can provide more opportunities for women to excel in our sport.  

Lush and Kent raced together in the inaugural shorthanded Bermuda to Newport return race in 2022. Missing their largest spinnaker, which Kent and his daughter had thoughtlessly detonated in the Newport to Bermuda Race, the duo still beat the next boat in their class by over 5 hours.  

As far as the pair’s training goes, they are racing together in the 2024 Newport to Bermuda Race in the doublehanded division. This regatta was planned far before the invitation to the World Championship was received, but nicely aligns with preparations. The team’s training plan is expected to be dynamic, as they are not always in the same place, with Lush spending most of her summer racing in Europe and Kent predominantly in the States. The pair envisions a comprehensive physical training plan, as well as prioritizing time on the water in similar boats together as much as possible.  

Lush will be racing in France this July in the Tour Voile and also will be worki

ng as a preparatrice for another female skipper, aiding in navigation and shorthanded maneuvering in the same region the World Championships are set to take place in.  

Team Karpinska + Kulinichenko

Barbara (Basia) Karpinska and Vladimir (Kuli) Kulinichenko are both active sailboat racers both in and outside of the double handed community. Their experience spans ocean and offshore racing, fleet and team racing, as well as fully crewed and double handed.  

Karpinska’s ocean racing resume transcends borders, as she has completed all major ocean and offshore races in the western hemisphere, and has been a key figure in promoting the offshore double handed discipline since the movement began in 2019.  

Kulinichenko is a nautical engineer and accomplished professional sailor, having completed three of the famed Volvo (formerly Whitebread) Ocean Races.  

With their invitation only just confirmed, the pair is working dynamically to align their already packed summer racing schedules to ensure that they get time on the water together ahead of the Worlds. They both recently completed the Block Island Race in May, with Kulinichenko finishing first in class on his fully crewed J-121 and Karpinska and her partner, Todd Aven, finishing second in DH PHRF on a J-99 as the only double handed mixed team in the entire regatta. Since then, Kulinichenko has been racing in Saint Tropez and Karpinska has been active in Newport’s IC37 circuit. She will be racing in New York Yacht Club’s 2024 Annual Regatta on a Sunfast 3300 Avalon, which is a similar class to what will be raced in Lorient at the Worlds, as well as competing for NYYC on the Sonar team race squad for a variety of women’s and coed events. Later this month, Kulinichenko will race in the Newport to Bermuda Ocean Race on his J-121.  

With hopes to coordinate practice in France in the same boat the Worlds will be raced in, the pair is in talks with a French Jeanneau charter company that would include a French coach that is familiar with the waters of the upcoming racecourse, as well. Both Kulinichenko and Karpinska acknowledge the importance of spending time practicing together in the exact boat they will be racing in the Championship and are actively looking for a Sunfast 3000 on the East Coast to race in for the double handed Ida Lewis to the Vineyard Race as preparation for the Worlds. 

Physical and mental training is a key component to their plan this summer. Both prioritize health and wellness through clean eating and consistent exercise regimens. Kulinichenko and Karpinska are looking to partner with industry professionals to further enhance their training in both Florida and Massachusetts, where they are each based, respectively. Athletic trainers, a skilled sports dietician, knowledgeable sports psychologist, a physical therapist, and a massage therapist are all on their wish list so they are able to push harder and recuperate faster.  

“Distance races embody sailing in its purest form, and since 2019, I have been actively involved in pioneering Mixed Offshore Doublehanded sailing as a new Olympic discipline,” shared Karpinska. “It is a privilege and an honor to represent a country on the international stage. Having spent half my life in the USA, I am deeply moved to be selected for this responsibility as an immigrant. Coming from Poland, a nation renowned for its strong and resilient women, I cherish the opportunity to advance gender equity in our sport. I am thrilled about the inaugural event in France, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” 

The Championship 

The 2024 Double Handed World Offshore Championships is expected to feature twenty mixed teams and racing will follow an elimination series format, with the top five advancing to the final race. The preliminary series includes two overnight races, and a third race that will be over 48 hours in duration.  

The fleet will race in the identical Sun Fast 30 One Design, one of the first production model sailboats built from recyclable resin, which highlights the latest developments in sustainable boat building and an overall trend in the industry.  

Credit to Becca Hassel

The event will be organized by Lorient Grand Large, Yacht Club de France, and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and hosted at Lorient Grand Large with equipment supplied by Cap Regatta and support from Groupe Carboman and the French Sailing Federation (FFVoile). The FFVoile has appointed Christophe Gaumont as Race Director.

All eyes will be on Lorient September 24 – October 1.  

More info on the World Championship HERE.