Stacey Brooks seems to always be on a boat. She recently completed a sailing adventure in Cuba and will be sharing her stories from that journey with ASA readers in the near future. Her school, Sea Dog Sailing is based in The British Virgin Islands. If there was ever a person who personifies what ASA is trying to promote with the “Women on the Water” campaign it is captain Stacey Brooks and her ever valuable first mate Allison Beauvais.
Captain Stacey is this month’s ASA Featured Instructor.
Our Featured American Sailing Association Instructor: Stacey Brooks
I totally fell into sailing by chance. A friend suggested that I take a sailing class on Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta, in 1995. I said, “sure, why not?” I took the basic ASA 101 basic keelboat class through the Lanier Sailing Academy – owned at the time by Bob Evans. It was on a small Capri 22. I will never forget the feeling of being on the water that first time and the challenge of learning. I was taken aback immediately by how much there is to learn! I was confused and astounded but most of all intrigued. Before I knew it I was falling in love with this sport and signed up for more classes while moving a 52’ Beneteau from Antigua to St Lucia with the owner of the ASA school, Bob Evans. I sadly spent the whole week seasick and miserable. I remember someone telling me in the middle of heaving up my lunch – again – – “hey maybe this just isn’t the sport for you”. At the time, as he held ice on my neck, I agreed with him for maybe five minutes. Then I thought to myself, man, you don’t know me very well. I accept the challenge! I quit my job three weeks later. Bob Evans hired me to run his dock on Lake Lanier, turn his sailing club around and build membership. I accepted and from that day forward my life turned to sailing forever
My most memorable students are people who get sick just like I did and I tell them my story. The next most important students to me are the ones I see light up when they finally grasp something. My favorite two students of all time are Mel and Tony Eades. After a class with me in the BVI they went home, quit their jobs, sold their house, sold their cars and began sailing on a cat throughout the Caribbean. Lots of people say they will and don’t. This couple did and it changed their life as well.
That’s a tough one but I am going to have to say the Greek islands. I have sailed there over 15 times in the last ten years and every single time I come back more in love. The history, the beauty, the food, the wine – the warm people! Wow! But it’s also the challenge of sailing in the Med. It’s tough and it’s always changing. No trade winds in the Med – it’s all about a different weather system there. Just when you think you know it – it throws you for a loop.
I sail to truly and remotely see this beautiful world. I sail to meet intriguing people, experience different cultures and eat/drink great food and wine. But probably the biggest reason I sail is to prove to myself and other people (and especially women!) that they can do it. Be scared – it’s ok. As the saying goes, cast off those lines! You can’t sail a boat while it’s sitting in the harbor.
Taking one chance in 1995 shifted my world and I can’t express how happy it has made me or explain in full the things I have seen and experienced! One thing is for certain, I am a proud ASA instructor. I am an even more proud captain and ASA school owner!
Sailing can and will literally change your life. It will challenge you, scare you and remind you that life is short and beautiful. Get out there!
Sea Dog Sailing, Inc is proudly owned by USCG Captain Stacey Brooks (ASA Instructor since 1997). She teaches in different venues around the world and continues to take students and customers to exotic sailing destinations each year. In 2019 she is traveling, along with her first mate Allison Beauvais, to Cuba, Spain, Thailand, and Greece. For more information on her, her company or up and coming sail trips please visit her website at www.seadogsailing.com .