On Watch - Lois Glazer

Lois GlazerAn enthusiastic member of the Shoreline Sailing Club and Duck Island Yacht Club, Lois Glazer is an avid racer and cruiser who is passionate about giving back to the sport she loves.

“I’ve always felt a close affinity to the water,” says Lois, who lives in Westbrook, CT. “I grew up in Connecticut, spending summers in Woodmont in a cottage on Long Island Sound. My earliest memories are of being in the water. Even before I could walk, I was swimming around in tire tubes and crawling on sandbars.”

© Cherie Calabrese

“I went to the Virgin Islands in 1973, after graduating from Boston University with a dual degree in Elementary Ed and Special Education. I’d met the head of Special Ed in St. Croix while he was pursing a higher degree at BU. They desperately needed teachers, and the market was flooded in Boston. I applied for a job, was hired two weeks later, and flew down for the beginning of the school year. I lived and taught on St. Croix for two years. My friends owned a sail/dive charter company, and I learned to scuba dive and sail. I crewed on boats that took tourists to Buck Island, an underwater national park. The boats used to race each other back to St. Croix at the end of the day, and that’s where I first got the thrill of racing.”

“SSC is a sailing club for singles that has brought opportunities for members with and without boats to cruise and race on the waters of Long Island Sound and beyond for the past 35 years,” says Lois, who is a Past Commodore of the club. “I had actually been a member in the 1980s, before I met my husband Ed.”

“Ed and I went on a few sailing vacations, but never got to sail our own boat together. That had been part of our plan for the future, but then Ed was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He underwent a bone marrow transplant in 1999 and was in remission for three years, then relapsed and needed another transplant. He passed away in 2002.”

“I needed to put myself back into the world, and doing activities I had previously enjoyed was a good way. One day about ten years ago, I was sailing with friends and commenting that a good way to have ‘a summer cottage’ on the water was to buy a boat. We were literally sailing past a blue-hulled Tartan 27 with a ‘For Sale’ sign on her, and the owner was sitting there reading! I bought that boat, Blueberry, but many of my friends at that time were not into sailing. Since I had taken the leap and bought my very own boat, I wanted to ensure I’d have crew to sail so I rejoined SSC. The club’s other skippers were very welcoming, and I immediately found crew to sail with me throughout the season.”

“As I outgrew Blueberry over the six years I owned her, another boat was for sale in my marina, Harry’s Marina in Westbrook. She was in pristine condition, which is what sold me on her. CrazyCakes is an Intrepid 9 Meter, built in 1979. Intrepid was a division of Cape Dory, and only 40 boats were built over a two-year period. In 1996, I adopted a baby girl from China. A book by Rose Lewis entitled I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, which modeled my journey, was read to my daughter nightly for years, hence the name CrazyCakes. My daughter Natalie, now 21, has not yet taken to sailing!”

“I very much enjoy maintaining CrazyCakes, and have done more and more of the work myself over the years. I now know more about engines than I wish to, and have become very accomplished at doing brightwork. I guess it’s good that I recently retired, as boat work can easily be a full-time job. The wonderful friends I’ve made at SSC are always willing to help get her prepped in the spring and fall. We make a party out of the work!”

Each August, Lois participates in the Eastern Connecticut Sailing Association Leukemia Cup Regatta, hosted by North Cove Yacht Club in Old Saybrook in partnership with Duck Island Yacht Club, Essex Corinthian Yacht Club, and Brewer Pilots Point Marina. “When Gary Jobson spearheaded the Leukemia Cup, it was a natural way for me to raise money for a good cause while doing something Ed and I loved to do,” she says. “I’ve been racing with the same crew for the past two years, so we can work more smoothly as a team and build our skills together. I steer, Norb Church is the tactician, and Cherie Calabrese and Harvey Payton trim sails. This year we raised more than $2,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It’s really amazing how far they have come with treatments and clinical trials in the last 15 years. It’s a bittersweet feeling for me.”

“We add additional crew as needed. The most important thing is to have fun and be safe while we race. We do laugh a lot, although what happens on CrazyCakes stays on CrazyCakes!”

Lois also enjoys cruising with other SSC members. “Our destinations have generally been in Long Island Sound, Block Island Sound, Gardiners Bay and Buzzards Bay,” she says. “In the winters, we’ve chartered in the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I plan to charter in the BVI in February and sail to Provincetown next summer. I love going to new places and meeting new people.”

“Sometimes joining a group to pursue your passion can also change your life for the better,” Lois reflects. “When I step on a boat, I leave everything else on shore. That includes worries, stressors – all the daily little things that take up too much space in our brains. My mind is clear, and I have a sense of freedom. Sailing creates memories that often don’t include words. It doesn’t get better than that.”

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