, 2014

Boyd Bragg, 12, races in Scotland
and discovers family connections

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Boyd Bragg’s trip to Scotland in July was much more than a sailing adventure. Along with competing on the USA Team, Bragg received the royal treatment and got a little lesson in geneology.

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Boyd Bragg returns to shore after a long race day in Scotland.

Bragg, 12, the son of Bo and Camille Bragg of Irvington, is an accomplished sailor despite his young age. He started racing Optimist sail boats in the USODA sailing association when he was nine. And now, three years later, he earned a spot on the USA Team at the British National Championship in Largs, Scotland.

A student at Chesapeake Academy in Irvington, Boyd spent the winter on the road, training in New Jersey, Maryland and New York with different teams. Last spring, after qualifying in several large national and regional races, Boyd went to the USODA Team Trials in Wisconsin, where he made the cut for the USA Team.

Bo had taken Boyd to the US Nationals in Michigan, which Bo said was his son’s “best race ever,” just two weeks before the young sailor was scheduled to head to Scotland. The Braggs were also supposed to go to Maine in late July for a regional regatta, so Bo said he and his wife just couldn’t make the trip to Largs. Instead they sent Boyd and his sister, Reese, with their grandparents, Barbara and Bob Bragg.

Before the four departed, family friend Ron Milhills contacted Kilmarnock’s Deputy Mayor Susan Cockrell and Mayor Raymond Booth. It seems Largs is just north of Kilmarnock, Scotland, and Milhills thought it would be great to send the Braggs with a letter of communication from Kilmarnock, Virginia, officials. So Booth and Cockrell emailed Provost Jim Todd in Scotland and sent a letter of introduction on behalf of Boyd, Reese and his grandparents.

The Provost responded and invited the foursome to meet him when they arrived in Kilmarnock, Scotland. A private car even came to pick them up and they were given a tour of Dean Castle, which coincidentally was owned by the Boyd family. Boyd’s full name is Robert Boyd Bragg V and as it turned out, young Boyd was racing in the Firth of Clyde, adjacent to the Isle of Beaute where the Boyd name came from.

“My favorite thing about the trip to Scotland was meeting the provost of Kilmarnock and exploring the Beaune Castle,” said Boyd.

“How neat that Dad and his grandson had this opportunity to learn the family history there,” said Bo. “It was a trip with family ties and Kilmarnock ties, all revolving around this sailing trip.”

As for the race, which was held over a three-day period and day three was windy and cold, Boyd finished 29th out of 117 boats. Out of 20 Americans in the race, he finished third. After the first day of racing, Boyd was in eighth place and “we were crazy excited,” said Bo.

Boyd’s next goal is to qualify for the North American team and that regatta will be held in Puerto Rico in 2014.

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