Big Boat Glory Days

Published on December 5th, 2016

Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck penned this report for Sailing World magazine, reflecting on the impact one event had on forging his connection to the sport, and how that event continues to stay in phase with today’s shifting landscape…

I first met Mitch Booth, of Australia, when I was racing Tornadoes and he was winning Tornado Olympic medals. He’s also pretty good behind a drum kit, which I learned late one night at the 1991 Tornado Worlds. Anyway, we are about the same age, which now finds us nearly four decades removed from our teen years.

No long ago, Mitch and I were talking about what kept us connected to the sport. We agreed it wasn’t our successes (I’ve had some, he’s had more) but rather those early years of freedom to completely screw around and discover sailing for ourselves. We had absolutely unstructured adventures, dangerous at times, all of which would likely freak out most modern-day helicopter parents.

For a teenage sailor in the 1970s and 1980s, this meant getting on all types of boats, sailing with and against influential adults, and without realizing it, both forging a deeper connection with the sport and accruing the knowledge and confidence to tackle new challenges. During this era, as I approached my 20s, one event that stands tall in my foggy memory is St. Francis Yacht Club’s Big Boat Series in San Francisco.

I grew up in the sprawl of Los Angeles, so San Francisco was my first real big-city experience, and San Francisco Bay was unlike any venue I’d ever seen. The headlands, the shorelines and the shifting current provided so many opportunities to problem-solve on the fly. Then there was the big wind, none of which we had down south. It was all a colossal learning experience that stretched my mind and connected me to other intricacies of the game. – Full story

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