Supporting youthful effort and enthusiasm

Published on May 10th, 2018

James Thurlow began sailing at age 13 in an Optimist before progressing to the Laser. His parents were members of the South Carolina Yacht Club in Hilton Head, SC where Sailing Director Mark Newman peaked James’ interest in sailing and racing.

Motivated by Newman’s enthusiasm and love of the sport, James has now gone next level and has stepped up to the J/24. He worked last summer to purchase the boat from the Boat Angel Program, and when he saw the 2018 J/24 North Americans were to be held nearby in Charleston, he began his race to the start line.

Through the encouragement and goodwill of class members Tony Parker who loaned him a mainsail and Chris Stone who loaned him a spinnaker, along with Class President Chip Till who was one of the regatta organizers in Charleston, the plan was coming together.

James, who now attends high school, assembled a young team for the championship, with one fellow classmate and the rest of middle school age. While nervous at the start of the first race, once they found a lane and their rhythm, their nerves were calmed and they got down to sailing.

Despite finishing last, it proved to be a fabulous experience for himself and his team because everything came together to make it possible and he was very grateful for the opportunity and experience they have gained as a competitor.

Their good effort and attitude may not have won them a trophy, but when the raffle was held to give away a Selden carbon fiber spinnaker pole, the number randomly selected was to match someone’s bow number. Whose number was it? James Thurlow!

Source: Priscilla Parker (words and photos)

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