Peter Rieck – A Sailing Hero

April 8, 2016 § 1 Comment

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Peter Rieck

He’s too humble to admit it, but Peter Rieck may be among the most important and influential sailors in the world in the last thirty years. Quiet, unassuming, accommodating, always present, and usually working, Peter has helped many generations learn to sail and learn to love sailing.

His impact is staggering. As the longtime Executive Director of Milwaukee’s Internationally-acclaimed Community Sailing Center, Peter has been the key figure in:

… raising tens of millions of dollars and enlisting tens of thousands of volunteer hours in order to acquire and maintain an unmatched fleet of shared sailboats, to build an award-winning campus, and to create the reference curriculum for sailing centers around the country …

… teaching thousands of kids and adults that wind, water, waves, and working together on a sailboat are priceless joys …

… nurturing hundreds of teens to become counselors, teachers and mentors to their younger peers, and, along the way, to become leaders themselves …

… deftly navigating a minefield of local politics, yachties-gone-altruistic, and scattershot volunteer committees, yet remaining firm and focused on a mission of teaching and sharing, safely, fairly and in good fun …

… showing an otherwise skeptical community that investments in outdoor education, open access to public parks and waterfront, and youth scholarships and part-time work always improve lives, especially when kids face stiff headwinds …

… inspiring a multi-generational team of volunteers to create a sailing community.

If you’ve ever been to MCSC, you know that it feels like a village. Friendly, helpful, accessible, fun. Just like Peter.

Peter announced his retirement a few weeks ago and will be leaving Milwaukee to invent a new life with his long-time partner Kathy, in Chicago.

If he has a fraction of the impact in Chicago that he has had in Milwaukee, the city will be transformed.

The Ideal Sailboat for Teaching and Sharing

October 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

The ideal teaching and shared sailboat

The trend towards shared sailing fleets for training and daysailing is unmistakable. Community sailing centers and clubs around the country are collecting a variety of boats on which members often take their first sail along with an experienced sailor, take their first official lessons with an instructor, and then take their independent sail once qualified.

A common theme emerges when you speak with the operators: the ideal shared-fleet teaching designs don’t exist yet. If such designs were available, clubs with broader memberships and community support would raise the money to buy all new fleets. After years of discussions with these wishful folks, I’ve assembled a list of criteria to describe their dream design. This, in Spinsheet’s Oct 2015 issue, is what I’ve heard:

When a sailor needs anger management

October 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’ve sailed with a few yellers, but only one time each. Here’s how a yeller can kick the habit. See page 58 in this month’s Spinsheet Magazine.

To race or not to race (when teaching sailing)…

September 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Sailing School Race

There are competing philosophies at sailing schools. Some teach almost exclusively through racing, while others reject racing altogether. Only a few straddle a racing middle ground. Advocates on either side are entrenched.

Racing-focused schools tend to be led by sailors who see a world in which competition frames everything: career, culture, success, leadership and new ideas. Racing happens to be a fun way to learn—until it’s not—and then the losers inevitably leave. Schools like this depend on a numbers game.

Schools that avoid racing tend to be led by sailors who see a world in which competition is unnecessarily exclusive and limiting, especially when it is focused on young people. Losing can hurt, so these schools try to prevent people from feeling loss. These schools depend on a critical mass of annual donors to stay afloat to counter high transience.

Perhaps the problem isn’t the racing, per say, but how we adults define competition.

Read more in Sailing Magazine.

SailingMag

 

 

Chicken passes out aboard Melges 24

August 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Drunken Sailor

Who among us doesn’t know a dude like this: a sailing friend with a drinking problem who doubles as a drinking friend with a sailing problem?

Much drinking goes unnoticed by many of us sailors. Perhaps it’s time we noticed. Read how and why in the September 2014 issue of Spinsheet Magazine…

The Gadget that is Fueling a #SailingRevolution

July 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Sailing Gadget that Changes Everything

Undoubtedly, the most popular small boat sailing gadget today is the tiny, light, gasket-sealed digital movie camera, which has sailors worldwide starring in their own homemade YouTube and Vimeo hits, like the one from which this screenshot was taken. It might seem, at first blush, as if the digital movie camera is one dimensional and might not have the same utility as the powerful racing and navigational computers found on big boats. But I’ve come to think that videos may be far more important to sailing in the long run. In fact, camera technology is helping to fuel a sailing revolution where real, up-close experiences matter and where contagious, authentic enthusiasm for the sport can go viral anywhere in the world.

Read why in Sailing Magazine.

SailingMag

 

 

Sail trim is more than ‘sheet it’ and ‘cleat it’

May 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Sailors make macro adjustments like changing sails or reefing when conditions warrant. However, these mega moves happen about as often as one might change from forward to reverse in a car, sometimes once or twice during a trip, rarely more. More often, sailors are “shifting gears” as if driving a manual transmission car, powering up or down to get into the right gear, and making constant fine adjustments to find the groove. How do they do it?

In this sailing ‘how-to’, I offer upwind sailtrim suggestions for the novice wanting to learn more, and for the experienced sailor looking for a refresher.  Read it in the May 2014 Learn to Sail issue of Sailing Magazine. If you want to follow along with slides, download the classroom material that the narrative is based on, here.

Upwind Sail Trim

 

SailingMag

 

 

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