Kim Walther is a sailing instructor at St. Augustine Sailing in Northeast Florida. Her passion for the ocean and sailing comes through in her writing on her lifestyle blog Deep Water Happy where she shares tips on everything from sailing to travel to healthy living. She has a self-proclaimed obsession with the outdoors and has sailed the east coast from Maine to the Caribbean. If she is not racing with the St. Augustine Yacht Club, she is teaching ASA sailing courses or she is diving, or running, or cycling. In other words, you can’t stop her.
Our Featured American Sailing Association Instructor: Kim Walther
Kim Walther: A couple of my most memorable students have had really amazing stories. While students probably think I’ll remember that they are the ones who accidentally gybed in the inlet, or missed the pier while docking; the students I remember the most are the ones with incredible stories.
One recent student, Ava, is a retired janitor whose son purchased a boat and took sailing classes. She said she had taught him how to drive, and now he was taking up a new skill, so she wanted to make sure he was “doing it right!” She was there every step of the way. In preparation for her 101 sailing class, she actually took swimming lessons to overcome her fear of the water. On board our 22-footers, she initially was incredibly nervous about heeling the boat, but had a great time in class, met her goals, and accomplished volumes. Have you ever met anyone so brave and determined?
Another memorable student was Joe. Although young, he had a heart defect, was not on a transplant list, and wanted to spend the rest of his time sailing. He took classes and even had to pause a few times while cranking in sails due to his heart condition. He purchased a boat, was placed on a heart transplant list and started working on the routine chores of boat ownership. The last time I saw him, he was happily solving an air conditioning challenge aboard. He was so happy to be “living the life,” of being a real sailor. Recently, he passed away on his boat. He was able to fulfill his dream of sailing and boat ownership, and I was so fortunate to get to be a part of his voyage. If your life must end; where would you want to be, and what would you want to be doing the moment it stopped?
I’ve had so many memorable students; students who were scared yet wanted to learn, students who already owned boats and desired to increase their skill level, students who accompanied a more-interested spouse and ended up loving the experience… and even a few who realized sailing wasn’t for them. We’ve had celebrities and soccer moms and world-class athletes.
Our sure-to-be-most-memorable students are coming soon; we are going to be teaching deaf and blind students from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. We have an instructor who is ASA certified and teaches at the D&B school, and our affiliate owner has designed miniature 22-foot sloop models for the students’ tactile learning. I can’t wait to get these courses underway. Can you imagine how inspirational that experience will be for us and for them?
Learn more about Kim at her blog DeepWaterHappy.com, a Florida-based lifestyle blog designed to emphasize attainable and inspirational everyday lives with a special focus on the subjects of diving, cruising, travel, and lifestyle.
Kim Walther Teaches at St. Augustine Sailing in Florida