Karma Get Me

Published on September 16th, 2015

by Joe Cooper, WindCheck Magazine
I am involved in a variety of “Coop’s Kapers” that bring young men and women together with big boats. Typical of these numerous instant Kapers was a phone call from the owner of Falcon 2000, a 15-year-old, 80-foot maxi, detuned and refitted as a fast, comfy cruising boat, to “bring some of your kids out for a sail.”

I duly sent the Bat Signal and showed up with half a dozen of the Prout Sailing Team (Wakefield, RI), whose skill range varies from a single 8-week high school season in c420s up to one young man who is very skilled. Cary, the owner of the maxi, has his own very methodical safety briefing prior to leaving the mooring. He usually has other folks along too, so we were 10 or 12 in all.

One of my aims with any junior sailor on a big boat is to get him or her comfortable using a winch. My theory is that if a young sailor can use a winch, he or she then has a value and can be given a task and work into the crew, rather than being told to “sit in the stern and don’t get hurt.” Well, ‘Winches 101’ on a maxi with 15-inch drums, one of which turns the opposite of normal, two pedestals with four grinders and line coming at you at perhaps 10 feet per second is, well, not for the faint of heart.

That the young people who sail with me are motivated is exemplified by one young lady’s very fast study on tailing under such conditions. Within five tacks, I could practically let her tail on her own. Another young lady made a similar transformation with steering Falcon. She had the angle of heel and pressure on the wheel down pat in five minutes, and I could shut up rather than talking in her ear endlessly.

The Storm Trysail Foundation just conducted our first Junior Safety-at-Sea Seminar on the west coast, at Newport Beach, CA. By all accounts, it was a huge success. A number of “big boats” were provided, plenty of energetic volunteers, and the large and well-established (1937) Aquatic Center all combined to make the day successful. The Center is a Sea Scout base and offers sailing and rowing, and they already have a youth big boat program on local 30-footers, so was a perfect venue. – WindCheck Magazine, full story

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