Community of Sailing is most vital factor
Published on June 22nd, 2014
President of the J/70 USA Class Association, Joe Colling, encourages class members to assess their contribution to the class community. Here’s an excerpt from Joe’s column in the class quarterly newsletter …
We all know that familiar quote of “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows) This is never truer than when you arrive in that warm destination, escaping reality for a few days, where your only to-dos involve tasks such as rigging, tuning and waxing.
Of course, you are not the only one. The parking lot is full of people just like you, relishing in the same escape from the Groundhog Day routine at home. It’s a community in that parking lot. Then it spills out to the race course, and back again to the dock to “Monday Morning Quarterback” the day’s events around the keg. And then it might continue to the yacht club bar or the regatta dinner. This community of sailing can pick up right where it left off, even when the members only see each other a few times per year.
Are you a part of this community? In the world of sailing “these days,” we are all faced with questions about the long-term survival of our sport, our hobby, our passion. But sailing is not just making our way around the buoys. The community of sailing is the most vital factor of whether our sport will be thriving well past our lifetime.
The J/70 Class is still in its infancy, making the value of community that much more imperative. What are you doing to invigorate this community? What would you do to protect it? Be that person in the parking lot offering tuning advice to the crew on the boat chaulked next to you. Do you know their names and where they are from? Wait – are you even in the parking lot?
Maybe you are flying in at the 11th hour, and you’ll just settle for a random wave to nameless folks as you mill around the starting line. And what happens when you hit the dock? Packing up your gear and heading back to the house for a crew dinner sounds easy, but it contributes nothing to our J/70 community.
Have a beer at the keg. Attend the regatta parties and dinners. Pull up a chair. Come join the community!