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.
September 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
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.
August 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
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…
July 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
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.
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.
May 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
Seen first in Spinsheet Magazine.
There has been a lot of recent chatter about creating diversity in sailing. US Sailing gave the subject top billing at their latest conference. On the surface, the theme of the year, sailing’s cause célèbre, seems to be that if America’s skin is darkening, evidenced by the last two elections and demographic trends, so too should sailing’s. This is inarguably true, but let’s not underestimate the enormity of the task ahead.
Search the words “sailing” or “yachting” on Google and often they’ll come attached to a string with words like “elite,” “club” or “exclusive”. While there are outliers among us, sailing isn’t starting from a position of authority on the subject of enthusiastically engaging people other than old white men like me to participate.
Diversity isn’t something you brand and then switch on. It’s something you are. You don’t become diverse when you market to people who are different from you and hope they show up. It’s a condition where different people agree to be together because experiences, both in lifetimes and across generations, prove that it’s worth it. It’s not a temporary meeting at a neutral safe harbor. Once it starts, it continues. Once engaged, diverse groups manage the tensions that come from mixing alternate viewpoints. It’s hard to stay together, but truly diverse groups do.
February 4, 2014 § 4 Comments
The fastest growing and most active group entering sailing is made up of active outdoorsy adult women. (For decades, most sailing newcomers were boys.)
But Sailing’s adult female newcomer is rightly skeptical that membership in a club is necessary to her sailing. Why fight through a thick residue of archaic attitudes when your mission is to go blast reaching with your friends and then post clips?
So like the disruptive new technology that reshaped the America’s Cup, this new demographic is shaking sailing’s traditional institutions – sailing and yacht clubs – to their core.
Read more at Sailing Magazine.