STOKED!!!

By Joe Cooper

Stoked is a surfing term meaning abso-bloody-lutely, fan-bloody-tastic. It is used when you see or do (as in surfing) something that knocks yer socks, shoes and the hair on your calves off.

One occasionally hears a story along the lines of: Dad takes (6-year-old) kid to first baseball game, kid has a great time, gets his baseball autographed by a famous player and goes home, stoked, and hooked for life. Injecting kids with the sailing bug one at a time is tedious work, but if that is the way it’s got be done, so be it.

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And Not To Yield

By Joe Cooper

The scene: a yacht club bar after Tuesday night beer can racing The action: sitting around with beers, lying about what happened in the race. There is a pause in the dialogue. One of the younger guys pipes up: “Hey, did you see the story in ‘butt about Ryan Breymaier? Blank looks all around. “Who?” another asks. “Yeah, he just won the New York to Barcelona Race.” “The wha?” is the collective response.

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Girls’ Goals

On a Wednesday in early May, I responded to the Bat Signal from Sail Newport that Team SCA, the all-women team entered in this year’s Volvo Ocean Race, was approaching Newport on their first transatlantic training sail and we ought to go out to Brenton Point State Park to cheer them in. Pulling into the parking lot, I joined the throng of five other cars pursuing that age-old activity so beloved of male sailors in Newport: waiting for the girls. I did not see them inbound after a few sweeps of the hazy horizon, so I sat in the car gazing out across the post-sunset but not yet fully dark view to Point Judith.

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Junior Sailing, Yacht Clubs and the VOR

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Anyone reading this ought to join me in giving Charlie Enright a big round of applause. Who? Unless you follow the vagaries of the high-test ocean racing world, or live in Newport or Bristol, RI, you are probably wondering if this Enright guy is Red Sox or Yankees? By proximity he is Red Sox, but that is irrelevant. So then, why am I applauding? Two reasons: a) He has managed to pull off a lifetime dream in seven years, and; b) That dream is sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of the only real live U.S.-crewed boat in the VOR in a long time. (The boat is sponsored by Alvimedica, a medical technology company based in Turkey.) Did I mention he is 29?

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2013 December - A Glimpse of Pitcairn

by JOE COOPER

 

It is a bleak and barren pile of rocks, ironbound shoreline and bird droppings. ‘Tis Pitcairn Island. In late July of 1999, I had what some might call the good fortune to be among the few in the world who have seen Pitcairn in the flesh. I was accompanying the yacht I was the master of, on a steamer, sailing from New Zealand to the U.S. and we passed by within the proverbial biscuit toss of this infamous island.

 

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Scouting New Territory

Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper

Tiverton, Rhode Island is a quiet village on the east bank of the Sakonnet River, opposite Portsmouth. If you cross the Sakonnet River Bridge, you’re driving over and through Tiverton. It has some nice old Victorian houses, a convenience store and a few boatyards south of the bridge. On the north side, there are mixed businesses and houses en route to Fall River the back way. 

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Comin' Round

Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper

I’ve come full circle. I started out as a small kid, a “tot” as my Dad often referred to me, on a sandy beach with small boats. Now I am instructing small kids in small boats on a sandy beach.

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Feel The Force

Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper

When one thinks of a “teacher” one thinks, if one considers it at all, of a one-way flow of information, a “download” in today’s parlance. As anyone who has taught anything for more than ten seconds knows, that is not true. It is even less true when teaching something as integrated as sailing to kids as young as five. Sailing requires that the brain process multiple inputs received from the feel receptors around the body, and a sense of the outcomes of time and distance calculations. 

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Block Island, Racing and Double-Handed Sailing

Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper

Picture this: You’re sitting around the club bar swapping sea stories. After a pause in the discussion, maybe for another sip, someone starts speaking again and you hear “Block Island Race Week” and “double-handed sailing.” You sink back into your reverie and take another sip. “I’m not a racer,” you think. Well, apart from the suppression of the natural competitive traits of the human race, which I will ignore, I recommend you pay attention to the second part of the phrase: “doublehanded.”

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Open Class(room)

Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper

The scene: A lovely Sunday afternoon on our favorite body of water…steering our boat upwind. The sails are trimmed just so, the boat is at about 12-15 degrees of heel, feels great and you know it is going “fast” without looking at the TV on the binnacle. Quick question: How many disciplines of science and math are being employed in this scene? Answer: Lots.

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