Harken Derm

Time for Acknowledgment

Published on January 24th, 2019

The publication of Scuttlebutt could not occur without the immense support we receive from the sailing community. In the January 2019 edition of Southwinds, worthy recognition is bestowed on one of our angels:


The end of a year and the beginning of the next is a good time to pause and pay a tribute to those folks without whom much of the activity we all enjoy in this sport wouldn’t be possible. Of course, that’s a reference to volunteers.

In so many instances, the volunteers are the ones who make regattas and rallies and other events possible. And their service is one of the elements that distinguishes sailing, because few other recreational pastimes are as reliant upon volunteer support as ours.

In most sailing communities, there are always a few key individuals who dedicate an inordinate amount of their time and energy to support others’ enjoyment. Sometimes, we’re not even aware of the work they do. We know they’re involved somehow in making things happen because we see them at regatta parties and other gatherings, but we don’t really grasp the importance of the effort they put in because they do it so regularly and willingly.

If you participate in regattas around Charleston, chances are you’ve seen or know Priscilla Parker. When she’s not behind the lens of her camera chronicling sailing activity at venues up and down the North and South Carolina coasts, it’s likely she’s doing race committee duties somewhere. Parker has been a stalwart participant in the sport for over 35 years, and a supporter of Charleston area racing activities since 1999.

Before she and her husband Lauther moved to Charleston that year, the Parkers lived near Atlanta and owned a series of sailboats from 19 to 36 feet in length. According to Lauther, they used to compete regularly on Lake Lanier. “We won a lot of races back then,” he says, “all of them with Priscilla on the helm.”

Priscilla, who retired a few years ago from the marketing department at the Medical University of South Carolina, doesn’t just volunteer at events in Charleston, she has also helped out in vital capacities at the Sunfish Worlds in North Carolina and the Conch Republic Cup (Key West to Havana) two years in a row.

One of her true contributions to sailing is the fact that she’s often the only person who takes the initiative to share information and images from Lowcountry events with outlets outside the region. She’s a frequent contributor to this publication and Scuttlebutt Sailing News and occasionally to Sailing World magazine.

What drives her, Lauther explains, is a passion to preserve the sport of sailing. “She believes sailing teaches us more than the skill of sailing a boat,” he says. “It teaches us life lessons and how to be a team member—building blocks that are lifelong.”

He says Priscilla volunteers relentlessly, but always with a smile on her face. “And she’s been overheard to tell other sailors, ‘I have as much fun as you do on the water.’” One thing’s for sure, Charleston’s sailing community is lucky to count her among its members.

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