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From The Archives: Coaching, Spithill, and Mentors

Published on April 20th, 2016

Here are some moments in sailing history stored in the Scuttlebutt archives

5 years ago: Coaching is either a trickle down from the America’s Cup and Olympic sailing, or a trickle up from youth sailing. Regardless, when ‘leaving no stone unturned’ in competitive fleets, retaining paid crew and/or coaching is frequently seen. I am crewing for Bill Hardesty in the Etchells Worlds this June, and last week we had a three day testing session with Ed Adams as our coach. No doubt we got much more done with Ed there. He provided structure, off the boat input, photos and video for debrief, and kept us on the water longer than we would have on our own. But not everybody can prepare at this level, so you can argue that when the bar gets pushed up too high, some people will stop trying to chase it. – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt editor (Scuttlebutt 3327)

10 years ago: If one were to define the term ‘on a roll’, then at present Australian James Spithill would be it. Aged just 26, Spithill is now well into his third America’s Cup campaign, this time as principle helmsman for Luna Rossa. The Italian A team challenge is one of the big four in the Cup and with the exception of Emirates Team New Zealand is the oldest challenger, with what many believe to be big prospects in store for them. In addition to his regular job in Valencia, Spithill is also the current Match Race World Champion and Melges 24 World Champion. – The Daily Sail (Scuttlebutt 2078)

15 years ago: I first participated in the CISA clinic at the age of 13, as a wide-eyed, very incompetent Laser 2 helmskid. The instructors then were Dave Perry, Peter Isler, Charlie McKee, Steve and Ron Rosenberg, and some young sailors fresh out of winning the youth championships. I cannot emphasize enough what the four days did for my sailing abilities, confidence, but perhaps most importantly, my appreciation for the gift of the sport we all share. Dave had a way of keeping 75 teenagers silent, on the edge of their seats, even during a rules talk! And we all came away not only more likely to avoid having to do a 720, or to protest, but also more likely to strive to be honorable competitors. For this I am forever in his debt. – Kevin Hall (Scuttlebutt 799)

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