The Neverland Sailing Tribe
Published on July 11th, 2022
When U.S. Virgin Island Stan Joines needed a race crew, he looked to the island’s youth. Report by Dave Powlison for Sailing World:
Stan Joines has been racing in the St. Thomas International Regatta for almost three decades, winning the Performance Cruising class a number of times, most recently in his J/36, Paladin. But it’s not so much his participation or his wins that make his story interesting.
Since the early 1990s, Joines has been bringing teenagers along with him from his native St. Croix, teaching them to sail, race and simply enjoy being on the water. By his count, he’s exposed 200 to 300 kids to sailing. That’s with no organization, no funding—just Joines giving the kids of Croix a slice of the good sailing life.
“When I first arrived here 32 years ago from Georgia to teach music at St. Croix Central High School, I had never sailed before. But I wanted to. There were some serious sailors here, and I asked them questions about port and starboard, and they looked at me like I was an idiot and walked away. So, I hung out with the kids on the beach.”
Joines, with his boyish looks, sun-bleached red hair and infectious laugh, fit right in as he learned to sail with the local yacht-club kids. “Before long, I’m out there racing in 420s with them. They’re having sea wars, pelting each other with fruit. You learn how to jibe and tack pretty quickly when you’re about to get hit on the head with a genip!”
Joines did learn to sail and, because of the high price of property on St. Croix relative to his teacher’s wages, he bought an Alberg 35 and lived aboard. “One day, I found myself surrounded by a dozen junior high and high school kids. They said, ‘We’re taking your boat to Puerto Rico to race, and you have no choice in the matter.’ I asked them, ‘What about your parents?’ and they said that their parents had already given them permission. So, off we went.” – Full story