Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Institutional Trifecta Develops Next Gen Sailors

An important component of any strong culture, is no exception, are foundational institutions that develop warriors and leaders for the next generation. In the case of sailboats and sailing three primary institutions make up the front line – yacht clubs (naturally), high school teams (if you’re lucky enough to go to high school on or near the water) and sailing camps. I’ve experience with two of the three – I learned to sail at the Stone Harbor YC in New Jersey and was an instructor at Cape Cod Sea Camps in Brewster, MA. I’ve always wished that…instead of playing lacrosse & soccer...I’d had the chance to hone my skills at a young age on a high school dinghy team. I didn’t learn to ski until I was 14 and though I can get down the slope with alacrity; my form leaves much to be desired. The same could be said for my skills around the buoys at the local YC match race – I’ve made strides after many years of crewing and racing but I recognize that the snap decisions you need to make while parallel processing wind speed and direction, current, position and favored course do not come as instinctually as if they’d been ingrained when I was young. I match raced in the summer at SHYC and later on Cape Cod...but there’s something about the camaraderie and structure of a high school sports team that really cultivates a winning skill set. Take a read here on the team from Point Loma High, CA and their bid for a third straight national Interscholastic Sailing Association Team Racing championship. I’d wager you’ll be reading about senior skippers (and All Stars) Adam Roberts and Parker Shinn somewhere down the road. A final mention on this topic, let's consider the wisdom of EVk4's "first rule of sailing" and try not to frighten the youngest of sailors by refusing to bear away ;-)

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