Sail-to-the-sea

May 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

This article appears first in the May 2013 issue of Spinsheet Magazine.

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As a kid, my all-time favorite book was Paddle-to-the-Sea. Remember it? Author Holling Clancy Holling takes us on a trip with a toy indian in a birchbark canoe from a Canadian headwater north of Lake Huron, through the Great Lakes, down the St. Lawrence river, past Montreal, and onto the Atlantic Ocean.

Paddle-to-the-sea

The story begins with an indian boy, perhaps 10 years old, carving “Paddle” during the winter months after learning that the water in the brook near his home is destined to tumble over the land all the way to the sea. He thinks he might never make the trip himself, so he decides to send a representative in his place.

Paddle has many adventures on his way to the sea. He is visited by snakes and birds. He is nearly sliced up in a saw mill, run down by ships, and he disappears for months under snow and ice during the long winter. He plummets down the falls at Niagara, and slips silently past noisy, dirty cities. He soldiers on and eventually reaches the Atlantic.

I need not retell the entire story. The book, a 1942 Caldecott Medal winner, is timeless and still in print.

As a kid, I was spellbound by the possibility that a bold traveller could go so far with his tiny boat, never stepping a foot on shore. No roads. No trains. No traffic. No un-passable obstructions.

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Sail-to-the-sea

May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

Read page 43 of the May 2013 issue of Spinsheet to find out what one great children’s book can do.
Sail-to-the-sea

Sail-to-the-sea

#GoSailing on Bull and Bear

March 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

A couple years ago I had the pleasure to sail aboard Bull, one of the Sandbagger twins docked in Annapolis and giving folks a taste of fast classic sailing. If you’re there, stop by and ask for a ride. Unforgettable.

This is the 2013 update on Bull and Bear from Molly Winans @Spinsheet, who sits a stone’s throw from the dock and is always in the know.

They were supposed to be on loan for one year. The program has been so successful that it’s been extended. I think we will be on year three. Also, a team of volunteers nearby has been shining them up over the winter. Super dedicated guys who love woodworking and also happen to be volunteers who take kids out. These boats sail like a dream on light air days, which is fantastic for us in summer.

And in an odd stroke of luck, one of my fellow crew-mates was filming on the same day. Yes, I was having a blast trimming main.

Bull and Bear Sandbagger Annapolis

Facebook Sailing

March 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

Seen first in the March 2013 issue of Spinsheet Magazine.

Facebook Sailing

“Thunk… kerplunk.” The sound of a cell phone dropping from a pocket, bouncing on a deck, splashing and sinking into the dark water.

“Awwww #^%$#%.” The sound of the owner of said cell phone. Thinking about lost calls, forgotten numbers, missed texts, and worst of all, the 7 or 8 hours of upcoming frustration sorting out the terms of the next contract with a hungover store clerk or someone in a distant call center.

“Splash, gasp, laugh and holler!” The sounds, a short few hours later, of said cell phone owner, lost phone forgotten for the time being, entering the water to cool off between sailing races.

Have you experienced such a day of loss and recovery? Or witnessed it? It’s a common modern weekend sailing story. Day-to-day disappointment and stress turned to joy in the course of a few sunny hours spent sailing.

The contrast is striking; a lost phone conjures dark feelings, and a summer sail and swim erases them completely. I think it’s evidence of an important sailing storyline.

Let’s explore why it happens.

We’ve been told that the cell phone connects us to something, and while it may seem counter-intuitive, it might also be said that the cell phone is disconnection in the extreme. While we anticipate human contact through it, the contact is, in reality, more absent then present, more fleeting and frustrating than fulfilling. Why do we stare at our phones anticipating tweets in buses or in line at the grocery cashier? Often, I find, I’m tethered to the screen, awaiting seven or eight inconsequential, usually misspelled words. I reply with something equally cryptic (and undoubtedly more flawed grammatically) and then step off the bus or shuffle forward in line. Imagine a future with no eye contact, no complete sentences, where no person can sense a change in the direction of the wind, or where nobody has an outdoor adventure to remember together.

Sailing, on the other hand, is both materially untethered and socially connected at the same time; freeing and encompassing in both large and small bursts.

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#Facebooksailing

February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Facebook Sailing

Apparently, I’ve ruffled more feathers by suggesting that social media isn’t the solution. What do you think? Read #Facebooksailing in this month’s Spinsheet Magazine.

Trepidation.

April 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

Watching from the dockIf you’re a seasoned sailor, you probably don’t feel much trepidation when you’re preparing to leave the dock. You’re familiar. You speak the language.

But nearly everyone else in the world does.

Sailing is one of those things that almost everyone would like to try, but few do, in large part, because of trepidation.

It can seem daunting. Imagine imagining what it might feel like to sail when you’ve never done it. You might be panicked about the motion, not knowing the names of things, not having the right clothing or safety equipment, feeling helpless when someone asks you to do something using words you don’t know, like “ease the sheets” or “trim the guy”.

But a small, unpretentious publication captures that transcendent moment when one who aspires to sail meets the one who will help them realize their dreams. It begins with an unusually firm handshake, an authentic meeting of eyes, the confidence of basic english, and the trepidation melts away so that the grand adventure can begin.

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