Salt, Lost and Found

Published on March 1st, 2022

by Rick Bannerot, WindCheck magazine
This is the third installment in a series that started with the naive notion of telling the story of a 12-year-old Optimist sailor named Grace Sandoval, who was losing her passion for sailing. “I felt burned out,” Grace recalls.

“I really disliked floating alone, in a little bathtub, with no breeze, being slowly broiled on Long Island Sound…Visions of blue swimming pools, playing tennis with my friends, volunteering at the local community garden, and doing musical theater danced around in my imagination. Anything would be better than going nowhere slowly in a dinghy.”

Sailing had ceased to be fun for Grace, but then her story took a new path.

In an effort to understand Grace’s frustration, the discovery process led the narrative down a circuitous path to a much bigger exploration of the dichotomy between being a burned-out pre-teen sailor at the same time kids just a few years older were jubilantly winning the Vineyard Race and the Newport Bermuda Race against much more experienced, very salty crews.

How to tell such a story? Well, the illogical thing to do was start with the gaudy results story in WindCheck. The follow-up article, again not about Grace, looked at different paths that successful junior big boat programs were pursuing.

Back to Grace Sandoval, last seen being broiled alive and planning to pursue summer activities other than sailing an Opti. Her father, Matt Sandoval, is a former Naval officer, U.S. Naval Academy grad, and owner of the family’s Hanse 385 cruising sailboat. He was in a bit of a swivet over his daughter’s hard “NOPE” to sailing Optis again. After all, what was a supportive dad to do as he watched Grace’s interest in sailing slipping away? – Full report

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