Virginian-Pilot’s Robert Suhay nearing the end of another world-record solo sailing trip

As the A1 designer for the Virginian-Pilot, Robert Suhay is the guy who designs many of the Pilot front pages we gush over at the Newseum.


But Robert is special in a lot of other ways, too. Last summer, he set a new world record for sailing solo on a dinghy when he trekked 326 miles up and down the Chesapeake Bay. In the face of an approaching tropical storm, no less.


This week, Robert set out to not only shatter his own record, but to do it in spectacular fashion. And he’s been wildly successful. First, he gathered up sponsors who supplied the dinghy — he dubbed it the Insomnia — custom-made sails, GPS equipment and other special gear.


Photos from Robert Suhay’s web site.

Tuesday, he set out from Beaufort, N.C…

…sailed solo around the treacherous Cape Hatteras, along North Carolina’s Outer Banks — you know, where a rash of shark attacks have happened this summer — through Hampton Roads, and up the Chesapeake Bay.


Robert surpassed his record around 6:30 EDT this morning, his wife, Lisa, reports via Twitter:


His plan is to land near Annapolis, Maryland, later today.

UPDATE: Minutes after I posted this, it appears Robert may be done. Tracking data shows him ashore at Adams Island, Maryland. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not he broke his own record.

Read more on Robert’s web site.

Follow his actual tracking data here.

Lisa hired a boat to take her out to see Robert as he passed through his home waters of Hampton Roads Thursday night.

Read her piece here in the Virginian-Pilot.

Robert’s friends have been showing their support via Twitter by posting selfies with his sail number written on their hands. Here’s mine:


Post yours with the hashtag #SailSelfie.

Find Robert’s Twitter feed here, but keep in mind: He’s a little too busy right not to tweet. If you want to track the end of his journey today, you might follow Lisa instead.

Go here to read more about Robert’s record-setting event last summer.

Birthdays for Friday, July 3

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to three brilliant visual journalists…


Bruce Austin is a content architect for Mood Media, a digital signage company in Fort Mill, S.C. A 1989 graduate of UNC Charlotte, Bruce spent seven years as an advertising designer for the Rock Hill, S.C., Herald before becoming ad design team leader at the Charlotte Observer in 1997. He left the Observer in 2008 to become marketing manager for Springs Creative Products Group in Rock Hill, S.C. He moved to Mood in 2012. Find his personal web site here. Bruce turns 49 today.


Chris Courtney is lead mentor for design for Bloc Inc., an online programming and user interface design instructor. A 1998 graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, Chris worked as a sports designer for the Tulsa World, the Indianapolis Star and the Chicago Tribune before becoming design director of RedEye in 2002. In 2008, he was named a senior designer at Tribune Interactive. He was promoted to mobile product manager in 2009. Chris spent much of 2010 successfully battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Read more about that here, here, here and here. Last year, he moved back into the newsroom, working less with apps and more with quick build sites and responsive web design. Chris left the Tribune last winter. Find DesignHawg — his personal web site and blog — here and his Twitter feed here. Chris turns 41 today.


Ernie Webb is a media specialist for the alumni association of Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. A 1999 graduate of that same institution, Ernie worked as a sportswriter and sports editor for the Independence (Kan.) Daily Reporter, the Emporia (Kan.) Gazette and the Monitor of McAllen, Texas, before signing on as the lead sports designer for the Topeka Capital-Journal in 2003. He moved to the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., in 2007 but then moved to the Tulsa (Okla.) World in 2009. He spent a year as a coordinator for regulatory affairs for Hill’s Pet Nutrition company and started work at his alma mater in 2011. Find his print portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Ernie turns 39 today.

Ernie, Chris and Bruce share a birthday with actors Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (better known as Tom Cruise), Patrick Wilson, Yeardley Smith, Connie Inge-Liese Nielsen, Lisa Olivia Munn, Karin Jan Smithers, Kurtwood Larson Smith and Lawrence Weiss Larry Harmon (the creator of Bozo); musicians Laura Ann Branigan, John Lee “Johnny” Lee and George Michael Cohan; TV hosts Kenneth Oberding (better known as Ken Ober), Sandra Lee Christiansen and Montel Brian Anthony Williams; radio host Carlos Alan Autry; director Henry Kenneth Alfred “Ken” Russell; sports greats Sebastian Vettel (auto racing), Juan Luis Rivera and Moisés Rojas Alou (both baseball); cancer victim Mary Elizabeth Anania Edwards; playwright Tomáš Straüssler (better known as Tom Stoppard); novelist Franz Kafka; astronaut Harrison Hagan “Jack” Schmitt; humor writer David “Dave” Barry and Wikileaks founder Julian Paul Assange.

In addition, today is International Chicken Wing Day, International Plastic Bag Free Day, Stay Out of the Sun Day and Superman Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, you three! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Thursday, July 2

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to eight gifted visual journalists…


Matt Bambach is a grad student at the University of Maryland. A 2011 graduate of Michigan State University, Matt specialized in 3D animation. He interned at Bryan Christie Design and the Seattle Times and joined the Toronto Globe and Mail upon graduation. He left last summer to go back to school. He’s currently interning as a studio intern at Baltimore’s Globe Collection and Press. Find his web site here and his Flickr gallery here.


Keith Claxton is a former designer and an editorial content manager for business, money and real estate pages of the Chicago Tribune. A 2001 graduate of the University of Missouri, Keith spent a year there in 2007 teaching infographics. He’s currently working on a master’s degree in information services at DePaul University. He’s also taught at DePaul as an adjunct. Find his Twitter feed here. Keith turns 36 today.


Darlene Horn is the San Diego editor for Zagat. She’s also a longtime food blogger who created and runs the web site My Burning Kitchen. A 1995 graduate of San Diego State University, Darlene spent nearly eight years as an editorial design assistant for the San Diego Union-Tribune. In 2005, she moved to the Los Angeles Daily News as a business section desk editor and designer. She moved again in 2006 to the Orange County Business Journal and leaped to the San Diego Business Journal a year later. The SDBJ laid off a number of staffers in 2013, including Darlene. Later that year, she launched Zagat’s San Diego web site. Zagat is owned by Google. Darlene is married to former Union-Tribune graphics wiz Paul Horn, who now freelances and produces a web comic.


In 2012, they collaborated on a collection of Darlene’s writing and Paul’s cartoons called the Girl with the Donut Tattoo. Find that book for sale here. Find Darlene’s Twitter feed here.


Martin Huisman is art director for Het Nieuwsblad in Antwerp, Belgium. A 1981 graduate of the design academy at Eindhoven, Martin spent eight years as assistant art director for Geïllustreerde of Amsterdam and four years as the same for a weekly magazine called Nieuwe Panorama before being promoted to art director in 1993. He was named art director of Mediaxis in 1998, art director of Ché — a monthly magazine — in 2000 and then art director of de Morgen in 2001. He moved to his current position in 2010.


Justin McGuire is major league baseball editor for the Sporting News in Charlotte, N.C. A 1990 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Justin spent two years as a reporter for the Greenville (S.C.) Piedmont before moving to Silver Spring, Md., as a reporter and editor for Business Publishers. He then became managing editor of Capitol Publications in Alexandria, Va. He spent nine years as an assistant city editor and then city editor for the Herald in Rock Hill, S.C. He moved to the Sporting News in 2008. Justin turns 47 today.


Ken Mowry is vice president of e-commerce for Orvis, an outdoors-type retailer of Sunderland, Vt. A 1986 graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Ken worked as a graphic artist for the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette and the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader before becoming assistant art director of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1989. He became graphics director of the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., in 1992. He hired me a few months after he got there. Five years later, Ken made the leap into the digital world, working as creative director of Total Sports, creative director of e-commerce for Kohl’s stores and then director of customer experience for Sears. He spent nearly three years as a senior vice president of user experience at Bank of America and then moved to Charming Shoppes, a women’s clothing retailer based in Bensalem, Pa., in 2009. Ken returned to Wisconsin in 2012 as general manager of retail at BuySeasons Inc. He moved to Red Envelope, an online gift store in San Diego in 2013 and then to his current gig last fall. Find his Twitter feed here.


Jamee Tanner Urrea is director of creative services for Central Michigan University. A 1994 graduate of Ohio University, Jamee spent a year as a graphic artists with the Akron Beacon Journal and another year with the Detroit News before leaving the newspaper business in 1996 to become a media specialist for InfoCision of Akron. She moved to the Lansing State Journal in 2001, spent 11 years as a design editor and audience editor and left the business again in 2013. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here. Jamee turns 43 today.


Rachel Van Blankenship is a features designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix, Ariz. A 2006 graduate of the University of Montana, Rachel spent a year as a designer for the Standard Times of San Angelo, Texas, and then five years with the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Times Leader before moving to Phoenix in 2012. Find her web site here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here. Rachel turns 31 today.

Darlene, Rachel, Keith, Matt, Martin, Jamee, Justin and Ken share a birthday with actors Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Michelle Tisdale, Ronald Arthur “Ron” Silver, Sal Rubinek, George Fisher (better known as Brock Peters) and Curtis Wain Gates (better known as Ken Curtis); musicians Devin Star “Dev” Tailes and Michelle Jacquet DeSevren Branch; comedian David Hale “Dan” Rowan; TV writer and producer Lawrence Eugene “Larry” David; model Jerry Faye Hall; sports greats José Canseco Capas Jr., Ángel Manuel Pagán (both baseball), Chad Steven Henne and Carlos Cornelius Rogers (both football), John Garvin “Johnny” Weir (figure skating), Alexandra Patricia “Alex” Morgan (soccer), Samuel Jon “Sam” Hornish Jr. and Richard Lee Petty (both auto racing); Mexican leader Vicente Fox Quesada; shoe collector Imelda Remedios Visitacion Romualdez Marcos; physicist Hans Albrecht Bethe; novelist Herman Hesse; civil rights activist Medgar Wiley Evers; Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and hamburger salesman David “Dave” Thomas.

In addition, today is Compliment Your Mirror Day, I Forgot Day, Made in the USA Day and World UFO Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, folks! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Wednesday, July 1

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five excellent visual journalists…


Valeen Gonzalez Monro is a lab technician in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. She spent her senior year at Chaffey College as editor in chief of the student paper there, the Chaffey Breeze. Val turns 32 today.

Amber Krempel is a stay-at-home mommy and a former sportswriter for the Independent Record of Helena, Mont. A 2008 graduate of the University of Montana, Amber served as sports editor for the student paper there, the Montana Kaimin. She interned at the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune in 2007 and the Virginian-Pilot in 2008. At the Independent Record, she covered the six-time national champion Carroll College football team, men’s basketball, the Helena Brewers and the Helena Bighorns. Find her Twitter feed here. Amber turns 29 today.


Karl Krempel — Amber’s husband — is a technical writer for the Montana state legislature. A 2008 graduate of the University of Montana, Karl was copy chief for the Montana Kaimin and, like Amber, served an internship at the Tacoma News Tribune. He spent a year as a copy editor at the Independent Record, then a year as a legislative editor and proofreader for the Montana state legislature. He returned to the Independent Record in 2011 but went back to government work last summer. Find his Twitter feed here. He, too, turns 29 today.


Gordon Murray is a news and sports designer for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Gordon’s a 1976 graduate of San Diego State University. Find his Twitter feed here.


Pheyisolar Odujoby is a designer for Leadership newspapers of Abuja, Nigeria. A graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University’s computer science program in Ondo City, Sola has worked in various IT positions, for the Bayelsa state government and for 234NEXT, a newspaper in Lagos.

Ambrer, Karl, Pheyisholar, Valeen and Gordon share a birthday with actors Liv Rundgren Tyler, Pamela Denise Anderson, Alan Ruck, Hannah Murray, Andre Braugher, Daniel Edward “Dan” Aykroyd, Karen Blanche Ziegler (better known as Karen Black), Jameel Joseph Farah (better known as Jamie Farr), David Prowse, Geneviève Bujold, Jean Lyndsey Torren Marsh, Charles Laughton and Olivia Mary de Havilland; musicians Deborah Ann “Debbie” Harry, Michelle WrightAndraé Edward Crouch, Melissa Arnette “Missy” Elliott and Frederick William “Fred” Schneider III (of the B-52′s); choreographer Twyla Tharp; director Sydney Irwin Pollack; sports greats Frederick Carlton “Carl” Lewis (track and field), Rutgerus Johannes Martinus “Ruud” van Nistelrooy (soccer) and Nelson Ramón Cruz Martínez (baseball); cosmetics dealer Estée Lauder; environmentalist David Ross Brower; author James Mallahan Cain, politician David Ernest Duke; Diana Frances Spencer (better known as Diana, Princess of Wales) and grammar guru William Strunk Jr.

In addition to Canada Day, today is National GSA Employee Day, U.S. Postage Stamp Day and Zip Code Day. Seriously.

Have a great birthday, y’all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Tuesday, June 30

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to six wonderful visual journalists…


Kristin Askelson is news director and content strategist for the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. A 1991 graduate of Michigan State University, Kristin spent two-and-a-half years as copy desk chief of the Journal-News of Hamilton, Ohio. She moved to the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer in 1998, serving as assistant features editor, features editor and then assistant managing editor before moving to Louisiana in 2010 as managing editor. She was promoted to her current position in 2013. Find her Twitter feed here.


Greg Haas is assistant online director for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A 1985 graduate of Colorado State University, Greg has been at the Review-Journal for 27 years, starting as a copy editor and then as assistant news editor and then assistant managing editor for systems and design. He moved into his current position in 2012. Greg turns 53 today.


Dan Murphy is head brewer at the Fairhope Brewing Company in Fairhope, Ala. A 2002 graduate of the University of Alabama, Dan served as a photographer, photo director and managing editor of the student paper there, the Crimson White. He spent five years as assistant manager of marketing for the university’s athletic department before joining the Lake City (Fla.) Reporter in 2003 as a page designer. He moved to the Mobile Press Register in 2004, designing pages and writing a beer column. He moved to the beer business in 2012. Find his Flickr feed here. Dan turns 36 today.


Patrick Smith is a digital journalist for the World-Herald of Omaha, Neb. A 2004 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Patrick worked as a reporter and a copy editor for the student paper there, the Daily Nebraskan, and served internships at the News-Post of Frederick, Md., and the New York Times. He spent a year as a copy editor for the Des Moines (Iowa) Register and then two at the Stelter marketing company before re-entering newspapers again in 2008 as night city editor of the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star. In 2010, he was named assistant online editor for sports. In 2011, he leaped to the World-Herald.


Aaron Steckelberg is art and graphics director for the San Diego Union-Tribune. A 1998 graduate of the University of Nebraska, Aaron spent a year-and-a-half as an artist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and a year at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before moving to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000. He moved to the Boston Globe in 2004 and then to the Union-Tribune in 2006 as principal news artist. He was promoted to deputy graphics director in 2012 and then to his current position in 2013. Find his web site here and his Twitter feed here.


Brian Stewart is media relations director for and based in Washington, D.C. A 2011 graduate of the University of Iowa, Brian worked for the Student Press Law Center and served as editor of the student newspaper there, the Daily Iowan. He started work at the Center for American Progress in 2011 as an associate editor and was promoted the next year to journalism and online communications manager at Campus Progress. He moved on to MoveOn last summer. Find Brian’s web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Aaron, Brian, Dan, Kristin, Patrick and Greg share a birthday with actors Vincent Phillip D’Onofrio, Brian Keith Bloom, Wendy Davis and Elizabeth Anne “Lizzy” Caplan; musicians Fantasia Monique Barrino (who normally goes by just her first name), Cheryl Ann Tweedy (better known as Cheryl Cole), Florence Glenda Ballard Chapman (of the Supremes), Hal Andrew Lindes (of Dire Straits) and Lena Mary Calhoun Horne; sports greats Michael Fred Phelps II (swimming), Chan-Ho Park (baseball), Mitchell James “Mitch” Richmond (basketball), Miles Jonathon Austin III (football), Sterling Marlin (auto racing) and Michael Gerard “Mike” Tyson (boxing); magician Harry Blackstone Jr.; oceanographer Robert Duane Ballard, Your Grammar Sucks video host John Patrick “Jack” Douglass and nationally syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell.

In addition, today is National Organization for Women Day and Leap Second Time Adjustment Day. Seriously.

Have a great birthday, folks! Best wishes!