How We Can Help Hurricane Victims

I am welcoming you to the magazine this month as Chris recovers from back surgery. We wish Chris a speedy recovery!

Our thoughts continue to be with people recovering from the wrath of Irma and Maria in Florida and the Caribbean. They face a tough road ahead with homes flattened and communities left with no power, sanitation or water. And then, there is the imminent economic fallout from this tourism season.

Our Northeast boating community is eager to help with money, supplies and labor. It was the topic everyone was talking about at the Newport International Boat Show.

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Letter: Just take a pebble…

Editor’s note: “A Pebble in a Pond: CJ Buckley and the ripples he created,” written by Contributing Editor Joe Cooper is one of the finest stories we’ve ever published.

Hi Joe,

As CJ would say, “Awesome!” What an incredible article in the September issue of WindCheck Magazine!! You were somehow able to sum up all the info about the regatta (past and present), and weave the story around the perfect metaphor – the ripple effects of a pebble on a pond. You captured CJ’s spirit, courage and determination and, more importantly, his joy and passion for sailing. You made clear that he lived his life apart from the dreadful scourge of cancer.

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It’s Never Too Early to Plan

I remember my time as a junior sailing instructor with great fondness. I still maintain there are few better ways for a college student to earn money during the summer break. As instructors we had fun – lots of fun – and we did a good job. Our kids learned how to sail, how to race, how to care for a small sailboat, and also how to have fun doing it. I am proud of the fact that a large number of the junior sailors that I instructed during those four years are still sailing…and to date myself, even have kids that are now taking lessons!

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Letter: Lovin’ The Log

Hi Chris,

I recall meeting you at Cedar Point YC frostbiting “way back” and have always been a great admirer of your contribution to the sport through WindCheck. I am a huge reader of periodicals and I must tell you that I am drawn to your Editor’s Log and read it word for word, unlike any other publication. Graydon Carter’s in Vanity Fair is second to you. You convey a vibe and bring out the fabric of the sport in a truly wonderful way. Enhancing and building the fabric of a community’s life is a great gift to everyone. Thank you and best wishes for the future!

Chris Woods, via email

Chris – Wow, that’s quite a compliment! Being able to share my love for sailing with WindCheck readers every month is the best thing about my job.  – CG

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Letter: Back to Basics

Editor’s note: Contributing Editor Joe Cooper’s Recommended Reading List, which appeared in our July and August issues, includes books that contributed to his understanding of, and approach to, making long voyages at sea. Most of these journeys were undertaken without any electronic devices for navigation or communication.

If you are thinking of going off cruising, you should read all of these books because – even though today’s cruising boats are bigger and have more electronics than the sailors of the past had – to fully understand and acquire the skills they had and used will make you a more confident and competent sailor. My wife and I did our first circumnavigation in the early seventies. We had a 30-foot Allied Seawind ketch with no electronics – not even a depth sounder. We used a lead line. To navigate, we used a sextant and Rolex watch. We did have a little shortwave receiver to occasionally get the BBC time check.

When we finally upgraded to a Valiant 40 and did our second circumnavigation in the late eighties/early nineties with our two young boys, we were totally confident of our skills and boat. I just don’t understand why many of today’s cruisers don’t even carry a sextant, let alone know how to use it. What if they are hit by lightning and lose all their electronics. All cruisers should know about sailing and what it was like in the time of the Hiscocks, etc.

Scott Kuhner, via email

Joe Cooper replies: [This is a] gratifying letter of support from a fellow who knows his stuff. Thanks, mate!

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Letter: Eight Bells: Robie Pierce

Robie PierceThe world of sailing, especially adaptive sailing, lost a great friend when Robie Pierce of Newport, RI passed away peacefully on July 12 at 76 years, surrounded by his family. Known by many names – The Mayor of the Waterfront, Swamp Yankee, Borisll Logical Bob, Mr. Magoo, or just Bob, Robie came into the world quietly on January 3, 1941 in New Bedford, MA…the last time he was ever quiet.

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Letter: Swallows, Amazons, and Memories

Mr. Cooper,

I’m 87, and grew up sailing in Long Island’s Little Neck Bay. My heart skipped a beat when I read your mention of Swallows and Amazons [“Summer Reading,” July 2017]. As an 11-year-old girl, I fell in love with the book. I introduced a grandson to it when he was little; he followed in my love of sailing and crewed in the 2015 Transatlantic Race!

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Letter: Whither the Rules?

Editor’s note: The Boating Barrister column Do the Rules of the Road Work?by John K. Fulweiler, Esq. in our July issue raised some interesting questions. 

Dear John,

Anent your article on Rules of the Road in WindCheck, we encountered the same question on a much smaller scale in the 1970s when I was a member of the International Regulations Committee of the International Yacht Racing Union.

The committee worked under the international organization in charge of the regs, but also on an Inland Rules promulgated by nations in Europe. An example involves sailboards, which had become a hazard in constricted passages and crowded lakes, similar to your observations about sailing vessels proceeding at 40 knots and making changes in course that other traffic has no way of predicting. Some of the Low Countries declassified sailboats as sailing craft, making it their responsibility to avoid collisions.

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Call to a Greater Energy

One of the most difficult decisions for a captain and crew to make in the sport of sailing is when to call it quits. There are many reasons to pull out of a race: no wind, too much wind, illness, and damage to the boat among them. And yet in more than 35 years of racing I had never withdrawn from a distance race until the Chicago Yacht Club’s 109th Race to Mackinac in July.

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Strong Bonds

WindCheck July coverScuttlebutt Sailing News recently published a write-up about WindCheck (issue 4860).  Being recognized as a vital part of the sailing community by such a well respected publication and Editor as Scuttlebutt and Craig Leweck is humbling, to say the least. It makes me proud. The title of the piece is “The Ties That Bind.” It got me thinking of all the ties that I have with the great contributors, advertisers and sailors featured on the pages of this magazine, some of whom I have known for years; others as a result of the work we do at the magazine. Sailing has given me some of the closest and most valued friendships in my life and WindCheck has contributed greatly to that.

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October WindCheck