About Bruce Schwab, OceanPlanet Energy & the Team
As an adolescent Bruce spent two years cruising with his father and brothers. Afterwards, settling in Northern California he led the Rigging Shop at Svendsens Marine from 1981 to 2000. During this time he restored his 1930 30sq Meter “Rumbleseat” (now based in Tortola as “Diva”).
After winning many crewed, double-handed, and solo sailing races, including the 1996 Singlehanded Transpac aboard Rumbleseat, he retired from Svendsens to oversee the design & building of the all-American Open 60 OceanPlanet. After completing his first circumnavigation in the 2002/2003 Around Alone Race, he came to Portland, Maine to refit OceanPlanet for the 2004/2005 Vendee Globe Race (solo, nonstop, around the world).
On February 25, 2005, Bruce became the first American in history to officially finish the Vendee Globe with a time of 109 days and 20 hours. Since then, Bruce has devoted himself to providing clients anywhere in the world with the best marine energy storage and charging systems through the business he developed in Bath, ME OceanPlanet Energy. Now living in the mid-coast town of Woolwich, Maine, Bruce is an avid bicycle racer and regularly plays his collection of acoustic guitars.
Julia grew up spending summers in Camden, ME where she developed a love of the ocean & sailing. In 2001, she earned her B.S. in Electrical Engineering then did a 3 year stint as an engineer before realizing she needed to spend more time on the water. She left the office and spent the next decade teaching expedition based sailing and semesters at sea.
She joined the OPE Team in the fall of 2013. She holds a USCG Master 500 GRT Oceans and an ABYC Electrical Certification. She continues to get her sea time fix by teaching Outward Bound sailing courses & supporting scientists on research vessels in Antarctica.
She spends her off time traveling & adventuring as much as possible.
Tom learned to sail on the New Meadows River in Casco Bay. After many years of travel, life in San Francisco, and a combined career as a musician, music educator, yacht commissioner and repair specialist; Tom returned to Maine with his family in 2002.
Tom has worked in multiple capacities at a number of boatyards in Maine over the years and OPE was lucky to acquire his diverse set of skills in the spring of 2016.
When he is not working with OPE, he continues to share his talents as a musician (in multiple bands) and a music teacher. He also spends as much time as he can on his 32’ wooden schooner and pursues his interest in writing fiction and non-fiction.
Jack Shimek started his technology interest at age 8 with crystal radios and as a radio ham at age 12 on equipment that he built at home. Later he became an engineer and gained experience in manufacturing, factory automation and robotics. After lengthy travels in Central America he developed a keen interest in off-grid living and indulges that now by towing a camper about the country when he’s not working on yacht electrical systems!
Jack joined the OPE Team in early 2017 and has taken the lead on developing our testing lab. He is the only non-professional boater on the staff, but he still qualifies as a sailor from his experience on his 11ft Penguin dinghy which he sailed on Lake Travis near Austin during his college days.