Chet Shubert was waiting for the ferry to Alcatraz in San Fransisco one afternoon and was entranced by all the sailboats darting around in the crisp winds the bay so often produces. The good news was he was going to Alcatraz just as a tourist, the other good news was his life was changed from that moment on… for the better.
That week Shubert joined Olympic Circle Sailing Club, and started his quest to be one of those same lucky sailors, out in the bay on a sunny and breezy afternoon. In no time he would gain his 101 and 103 certifications and soon found himself blazing around the bay on the club’s the club’s J 24s. He later earned his 104 certification at Modern Sailing School & Club in Sausalito and now sailing was officially in his blood… and on his resume.
Sailing school owner Jim King didn’t scratch his sailing itch right away, but he definitely made up for lost time. It was just in 2006 when he took his first ASA 101 and ASA 103 courses but he bought a boat the next weekend! Now there’s a guy who knows he found his calling. He sailed all the time. First he explored the Jacksonville, Florida area, then the waters of England for three-years and when he joined the Air Force he continued to sail, this time on the Potomac River in DC and the Chesapeake Bay around Annapolis.
John Martin is a guy who knows how to live life. A retired surgeon who has sailed around the world, Martin has over 48,000 nautical miles under his belt and he’s still sailing all the time.
The sailing bug bit him as a 7-year-old racing Lasers, Flying Scotts and then 470s through high school and college. As he got older the boats got bigger and he was soon crewing on the larger mono’s racing the Chicago and Port Huron to Mac races.
Drew Skelton found his way into sailing through the Boy Scouts of America program and has been a waterman ever since. As a kid he sailed his own Snark 14 on a local lake and continued to hone his skills as he grew up. In 2006 he began pursuing ASA certifications and after a good amount of sailing and hard work he became an instructor. Today, as owner of Blown Away Sailing in Rock Hall, Maryland, he is recognized as one of ASA’s Outstanding Instructors.
Since he was a kid, Lee Pearce has been around the water and boats, but he didn’t discover sailing until he was around 30-years old, living in Florida. He made his way to the shores of California where the sea became a more prominent part of his life. There, he earned his USCG Captain’s license and started teaching sailing part time on the weekends.
Pearce soon found his groove and realized he could be more than a part time instructor and took the plunge, starting his own sailing school, Learn to Sail San Diego, and that’s where he’s been teaching for the past 15-years. He’s a dedicated and skillful teacher and has been recognized as one of ASA’s Outstanding Instructors.
It’s June and that means the annual Summer Sailstice is upon us! According to organizers, “the Sailstice is a worldwide celebration of sailing on the weekend closest to the summer solstice.” This year, that means June 20th will be chock full of sailing events going on all over the United States and beyond. It’s a day to celebrate what a great sport sailing is and to get out on the water.
It’s pretty incredible what’s happening across the country on this year’s Sailstice. From Maine to Hawaii there are events of all sizes, shapes and themes. In accordance with the spirit of the day, there are races, expeditions, overnight cruises, rally’s and lots and lots of raft up parties.
Of course ASA is part of the action. The Sailstice offers a chance to win prizes for being a part of the day, and ASA has donated some great books to the cause. The American Sailing Association community is, of course, also quite involved. Here’s a list of the various ASA affiliate schools that are hosting fun events:
At the core off all we do as sailors is one thing – weather. It’s is our engine, our bliss or our most frightening adversary. Because of this, we need to know more about it than the average Joe. The subject of weather is vast and can be complicated, but let’s start with the basic ideas surrounding weather. Here’s a little list of five things to think about as it pertains to weather.
Check the Weather The first thing to always remember is to simply check the marine weather forecast before leaving the dock. Of course this is obvious, but so many sailors look out the window, see the sun, raise the main and off they go. The VHF has a dedicated channel that continually plays the weather forecast in a weird half man, half robot voice – while you’re straightening out the boat for the trip, listen and make sure there are no extreme conditions coming down the pike. More than one over-anxious sailor has been caught with their pants down in this way.
Watch the Waves The behavior of the waves will tell a sailor quite a bit. Not all of us have anemometers but we all can keep our eyes on what’s happening with wave action and understand how much wind is present. Knowing the speed of the wind is important in determining the proper amount of sail to have up. Here’s what to look for:
5-knots of wind creates small wavelets in the water.
10-knots of wind scattered whitecaps appear.
15-knots the wind is forming waves – many of them with breaking tops.
20-knots the wind begins to kick up spray and life on the water can get a bit more intense.
Peter Branning got into sailing at a summer program in Coconut Grove, Florida in 1958 and has been an avid sailor ever since. He’s loved sailing the Biscayne Bay, the Gulfstream, Florida Keys and nearby Bahamas, saying that he feels more than lucky to call that area his local waters.
“I was blessed,” he said of growing up in the area. “It’s just about the best sailing anywhere.”
Branning has had a mixed career as a firefighter, a pilot, a Miami Beach lifeguard, a sailmaker and a lawyer while always racing competitively on the side. But more than just a solid club racer, Branning raced with Ed Baird who is one of the top names in the sailing world – an America’s Cup winning Helmsman in fact. He, along with Baird and Steve Calder pursued an Olympic bid on the Soling.
“It was a workout, though frankly, it became a 9-5 job after a while,” said Branning.
Once he retired from practicing law he aligned his world around sailing – less racing, more teaching and now is being recognized as one of ASA’s Outstanding Instructors.