What are doing on June 22?

Published on June 6th, 2013

Associate Publisher of Latitude 38, John Arndt founded the Summer Sailstice in 2001, an annual summer solstice event focusing on getting people on the water and bringing attention to the sport of sailing. The day has grown into a nationally recognized event with Summer Sailstices being observed internationally and at both coastal and inland sailing destinations across the US.

Here John explains the event and why you started it…

Essentially to get the whole world sailing on the weekend closest to the summer solstice – school’s out, the sailing season is ahead and it’s the longest days of the year so it’s time to celebrate sailing!

Unlike so many other activities, like tennis or soccer, sailing has many unique forms of participation. A shared celebration event seemed like the best way to showcase all the sailing options – tall ships, kiteboarding, racing, cruising, classic yacht restoration, carbon fiber foiling Moth development, simply sailing a Sunfish or Hobie Cat.

Additionally, over the years, I’ve worked with so many dedicated volunteers – junior program parents, yacht club membership directors, one-design class leaders – who are all working hard to promote sailing and their activity/organization.

They do great work but the impact always seems to fall just a bit short of everyone’s dreams. I thought an event that could help combine all these individual efforts would help give them leverage and provide greater success for sailing in general and their programs in particular.

What can we expect this year?

I’ve just relaunched the website and it will allow much better visibility into sailing. Events and sailors will be geolocated so you can see via a map tool what’s going on in your area and, for event producers, it gives more tools to help you run an open house, get your club or fleet together, or just cruise off with friends for a sailing rendezvous. [Ed note: For more information about Summer Sailstice, visit SummerSailstice.com.]

What do you see for sailing’s future?
I’m a believer. I love to sail and I think more people sailing will be good for them and the world. It’s been a great part of my life and I think by presenting more of the options to more people they’ll rediscover a better life away from the device and keyboard. I grew up sailing on a 10′ turnabout and when I got to go sailing on my grandfather’s “big boat,” it was a Rhodes 19. As always some will migrate to bigger boats but we need more people enjoying the small end first.

There are more ways than ever to participate in sailing and I think younger people still want to get outdoors and connect with the environment and each other. Sailing is a great way to do both. It’s freedom, escape, adventure, and relaxation – core human desires that need to be fulfilled so why not do it with sailing?

And I think the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs being put together by US Sailing and the National Sailing Hall of Fame offer great opportunity. Sailing is a great platform for education and life skills. I hope there’s more recognition of the value of sailing for both fun and personal growth. [Ed note: For more information about STEM programs, visit USSailing.org or NSHOF.org.]

Click here for full interview.

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