Thursday, July 20, 2006

Skip Etchells & the Summer of '79

My friend Joe (who grew up in the NYC area) emailed this morning - I assume partly in response to yesterdays post on the one design Shields Class - with detail on his first "real" sailing experience back in the summer of 1979. Joe reads Zephyr and we've discussed sailing before...but little did I know that between his junior and senior year in high school he worked for Skip and Mary Etchells.

Damn Joe! You suprised me. That's sort of a big deal.

Says Joe - "Mrs. Etchells hired my friend Randy and I to work in her small clothing business where she designed and produced woman’s clothing. Often Skip would come by and ask me to help him work on his boats. At the time I did not really know what a renowned sailor he was, but spending days working with him was always a great way to make a few bucks. I still remember being on the water with him while he told me stories of his career. On a number of occasions he would call me on the weekend to see I would like to go sailing. The few times I did go, we didn’t go sailing – we were racing. During these so called “sailing” excursions Skip was all business and being a novice sailor at best, Skip would quickly get frustrated with my limited skills. None the less, I have very fond memories of that summer."

Fond memories, yes! And what good fortune to have spent that time with an individual who's contributed so significantly to the world of sailing.

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