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The Finn dinghy: THE Olympic singlehander

By Joe Cooper

Finn SailingMy adopted mother (I adopted her, and her husband, Tony James) posted a Facebook picture a few days ago. It was of the Australian Sailing Team for the 1972 Kiel Olympics including amongst other notables, her husband Tony. It brought back some serious memories.

Success in the Finn, exemplified by US Sailing Team Sperry athlete Caleb Paine, who represented the USA in the Rio Olympics and won a bronze medal, demands considerable strength and stamina.   © US Sailing Team Sperry/Will Ricketson
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Diary of a Weekend

By Joe Cooper

Congratulations on their remarkable success in the Newport Bermuda Race to the High Noon crew from American Yacht Club’s Young American Junior Big Boat Sailing Team. There, I said it. By now I reckon every else has said it, but I could not let the chance pass. Good going, ladies and gentlemen.

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Young Sailors: Fueling the Passion

By Joe Cooper

Young Sailors When I started coaching the high school sailing team at The Prout School in Wakefield, Rhode Island seven years ago, I was astounded to learn the sailing season stopped at the end of May. Just when the kids were getting comfortable in the boats, camaraderie was building and I was remembering who was who, it all stopped.

Julia Hopkins, a former member of The Prout School Sailing Team, checks out the wing mast on the 40-meter mega trimaran Spindrift Racing.   © Joe Cooper Sailing
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The Water Rat is Right

By Joe Cooper

Joe CooperOne of the discussion threads I follow in the saltosphere is specifically about kids and sailing. This thread has a variety of aspects: Growing the sport of sailing, bringing existing young sailors into sailing for life, developing skills so they can be viable crew on big boats, and looking at ways to diminish the post-college sailor flameout are but a few.

New England Science & Sailing in Stonington, CT offers a variety of programs with a focus on having fun on the water, as the smiles on these young sailors faces attest.   © Caroline Pierce/nessf.org
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Transit Transat

By Joe Cooper

Transat BakerlyProbably the last thing New Yorkers think about as they wend their way to and from work is the idea that they live on islands. The mainlanders, those inhabitants of The Bronx, have as a consolation prize the City Island waterfront. Despite being surrounded by water, access to the rivers and the harbor has been for years pretty difficult for New Yorkers. This is changing with small but for the most part rustic outlets with access for kayaks, sketchy docks to get to boats on moorings or very bouncy slips on the wildly unprotected Hudson River. In the past couple of years, Brooklyn has been involved in the development of a very pleasant gateway to water access on the East River.

French solo sailor Lalou Roucayrol’s Multi50 Arkema is among the Transat bakerly participants arriving in Brooklyn, NY this month.   © Vincent Olivaud
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Zen and the Art of Sailing

By Joe Cooper

Joe Cooper Zen of SailingLet’s have a show of hands! Who has taken formal sailing lessons? You know, signed up for sailing camp or school and/or spent a week (24 hours) and learned ‘how to sail’?

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Sail(ing) to Bermuda

By Joe Cooper

If you are sailing in the Newport Bermuda Race this year, even as crew, there is a lot going on. A very important part of all the activity is figuring out the sails. There are three required sails and an assumed fourth one, the mainsail.

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Solo, or Alone

By Joe Cooper

The casual observer, glancing over the docks at the Newport Shipyard on an overcast but balmy afternoon in early November, would have seen a small crowd. They might have wondered what these people were doing, gathered as they were on the docks and the apron above. For the cognoscenti of sailing, offshore solo sailing in particular and Class40s specifically, they would have known about, and probably been at, a farewell party for Joe Harris.

Joe, a relative fixture in Northeast solo sailing circles, had thrown a “Thank you” party prior to his departure on a solo non-stop lap of The Blue Marble. The declared intention: breaking the present record of some 137 days or so for such a voyage. Success on his voyage, record or not, would induct Joe into the tiny sliver of the sailing community, reportedly fewer than 100 souls, who have completed a circumnavigation of the planet via the great capes.

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Analog Digits

By Joe Cooper

I am becoming more analog the older I get. This is odd, because years ago I was very digital. Bob Miller, aka Ben Lexcen the designer of, amongst other boats, the 12 Metre Australia Two, was also a very talented artist. In 1979, when were working on Australia (NOT “One,” just “Australia”) and there was some kind of break in the action, he would whip out a sketch of one of the guys that was a caricature of the person. In my case, I had an arm with a collection of pencils/pens for a hand and the other arm/hand was a pile of notebooks. This was because I was always writing down things that need to be built, fixed, picked up, broken down, organized, etc. Being in charge of the boat, I was writing things down all the time.

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Shop Closed, Gone Sailing

By Joe Cooper

I am conflicted. Yes. Surprising as it may seem, it does happen with a frequency slightly higher than, say, Haley’s Comet’s lap around The Blue Marble. What is it that so exercises me, you might wonder? Freedom…Oh no, a political essay think you, given that everyone’s harping on freedom today. But this is not freedom from today’s litany of social and political ills, but rather the freedom that, in the US anyway, can be had in sailing. This line of thought was prompted by a question on a SailNet forum:

Just bought a 1979 Bayliner Buccaneer 18. Intend to teach myself to sail and have a little fun with my wife. Any advice or suggestions?

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