Letter: Out There Learning Early

Editor’s note: In our October 2017 issue, 10-year-old Colin Shearley wrote about his experience aboard Warrior, a Volvo Ocean 70 that serves as the flagship of the Warrior Sailing Program. Contributing Editor Joe Cooper, who made Colin’s amazing experience possible, posted the story to WindCheck’s Facebook page.

Awesome to see such young ones out there learning early! I’m sure those two are going to be quite the sailors later in life. Very cool that they are learning the ins and outs of being on a boat at such an early age. Thanks for the great post! It has inspired my 12-year-old to want to learn more about sailing.

Julie Tootser, via email

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Sailing: The Great Provider

WindCheck November/December 2017I’ve found that when one is laid up for a period of time, the first thing one tends to do is catch up on what feels like years of missed sleep. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Whether the demands of publishing deadlines, up-too-early active children, ever-present racing watch changes, or countless other reasons, many of us both rise early and burn the midnight oil. To be able to sleep for more than four hours at a clip is a luxury I’d been longing to enjoy for quite some time. The second thing one does, once rested, is to begin to stir. When you’re forced into what feels like latency, you really start to ask yourself to be careful what you wish for.

On the cover: Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Rhode Island’s home team in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, was victorious in Leg 1 between Alicante, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal. © James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race
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Letter: An Inspiration to the World

Editor’s note: Cliff Crowley’s ‘On Watch’ article about Chris O’Brien in our August issue is one of the most inspiring stories we’ve ever published. 

It is indeed very inspiring to see patients progress and hit their functional goals. As a group of Filipino American physical therapists who have made the USA our home and practice site, we continually meet challenging cases like Chris O’Brien’s. It is a struggle to meet their demands for skilled PT while at the same time addressing the multitude of medical comorbidities of each patient. We were inspired to form a group and bond together to share best practices in our profession.

Continue being an inspiration to the world, Chris! We are rooting for your win in your next regatta adventures!

Lovelia Horn, via email

To learn more about the Academy of Filipino American Physical Therapists, visit maximumrehabpotential.com/featured-posts.html.

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Letter: Keeping a Bright Light

Editor’s note: In our October issue, 10-year-old Colin Shearley recounted his experience aboard the flagship of the Warrior Sailing Program, the Volvo Ocean 70 Warrior. The story prompted a response from Warwick Tompkins, a longtime friend and shipmate of Contributing Editor Joe Cooper who is known to his many friends as “Commodore.” In Coop’s words, Tompkins is “one of, if not THE iconic sailor of the second half of the 20th century. In his prime he was way ahead of Blake, Coutts, and all the rest.”

Colin ShearleyThis is clearly an unusual young man. It is likely he will do well wherever he goes in future. So far as the sailing scene is concerned, I very much hope he discovers, or is shown, aspects of the sport other than outrageously expensive, modern, and very fast racing machines.

After a grueling day on the grinders, Colin Shearley has a well-earned kip on Warrior.   © Joe Cooper/JoeCooperSailing.com

Further, beside the social side of sailing, in the interest of keeping such a bright light in “our midst,” it would be well were he to find many of the other aspects of sailing, such as overnight camping and exploring in small, easily purchased, maintained and handled vessels. There is so very much more to sailing than the competitive side which captures most of our attention. It is great that Joe has taken the lad under his wing; Joe grew up with many of the experiences to which I refer, and knows their merits intimately. 

Yours in celebration of intellect and learning,

Warwick Tompkins, Mill Valley, CA

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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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