Coop's Corner

Joe Cooper, WindCheck’s intrepid Contributing Editor, muses on everything from exploring the waters of his native Australia as a young’un to his time as an America’s Cup crewman…and especially his passion for getting young people out sailing.

Coop's Corner

The Right Stuff

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

By Joe Cooper Published in 1979, Tom Wolfe’s book The Right Stuff chronicles the search for, training of and finally launching of, the first U.S. astronauts. One of the core themes is that among the post-World War II test pilots who “pushed the outside of the envelope” to be the first to break the sound barrier, one either had this mythical Right Stuff or, especially after “augering in,” did not. Projected onto the first seven Mercury astronauts…

Coop's Corner

The Last Trysail

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

Minds, sharper and more lettered than mine have, ever since we became sentient, been contemplating the Big Conundrum that dogs the human condition. What happens when it is all over? When we pass, meet our maker, go to heaven, snuff it, turn up our toes or, for the Monty Python lovers amongst us, become an ex-human. I suppose a flaw in getting older is that your contemporaries, start to, well, cease to be, become no more. I…

Coop's Corner

Moving boats, always at night.

By Joe Cooper

Maybe it’s just me but I find myself spending a disproportional amount of time moving, going to or leaving with boats, at night. One such night late last fall was a classic. I moved the Mini up to the Hinckley Yacht Services yard in Portsmouth, RI preparatory to erecting the shed around her and the Ranger so I could continue my quest to get the Mini sailing again. The night was drizzly wet, misty, dank and generally…

Coop's Corner

Fall Fun

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

It’s a great feeling, as a coach, when members of the sailing team you have, in my case, the very great honor to coach, call you up and say, “Hey Coop, can we do these regattas?” I received such a signal last fall from Payton Canavan. Payton is one of two leaders of The Prout School Sailing Team and skipper of one of two pairs who are the school’s top four sailors. As is typical of her,…

Coop's Corner

Norman Rockwell Goes Sailing

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

By Joe Cooper The Prout School had its fall Open Day last month. As the Sailing Team has done for the past few years, we brought a 420 into the gym and rigged her up, mast, sails and all. There were multiple tables set up around the perimeter of the basketball court for all manner of activities, classes and groups. We were between two other sports tables that had generic sign-up sheets for the dozen or so…

Coop's Corner

Life Lessons from Sailing

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend, 2018. Your two kids are aboard the J/105 Young American for the Vineyard Race. They are jilling around in the starting area off the Cows bell south of Stamford breakwater. They’ve been captured by the joys of sailing that you’ve shared, both as stories and taking them sailing with you and the missus ever since they were born. They seem so much more advanced and mature for their ages – 15 and 16 – than many of their contemporaries who do not sail. In fact, the entire crew of Young American exhibit a similar level of maturity, understanding and mateship far beyond their calendar years. Watching your kids, and the rest of the YA roster, come to grips with the nuances of life, big and small, through sailing brings a smile to your face and a warm glow of pride and satisfaction to your inner self.

Coop's Corner

Hazy Memories

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

Summer in Newport is spelt SAILING. Apart from the usual “even year” events – the Bermuda Race (go MudRatz!!!) and the Offshore 160 – there are the annual events. The (10) NYYC regattas, weekday evening sailing: Monday (sport boats); Tuesday & Wednesday (Shields & PHRF); and Thursday (J/24s); the Ida Lewis Distance Race, presently with 49 entries, a week out as I write. Then there’s the New England Solo Twin, and currently, the I420 World Championship at Sail Newport. And there’s still all of September to go.

Coop's Corner

Kaper Komplete.

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

Next aboard was Kelsey, to inspect her work and over whose shoulder was Robert Lacovara, the head Composites instructor at IYRS who, after a few minutes inspection pronounced the work as A+. As the gathering dispersed, I was chatting with Jon about a few things and remarked on the boat’s name. I could not figure out the connection. “How appropriate,” I thought, when he said he’d named the boat Kate in honor of Kate Wilson.

Coop's Corner

Nurturing Sailors… One at a Time, if Necessary

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

There are a number of disconnected and independent Kapers afoot around the waterfront, all aimed at getting young people, teenagers and college kids interested in, and more time on, ‘big boats.’ On Long Island Sound, MudRatz and the Young American Sailing Academy are the two most obvious. On Narragansett Bay, Newport, Conanicut and Ida Lewis Yacht Clubs have programs of various densities aimed at getting this cohort sailing time without the stress of dinghy sailing, and Sail Newport is developing a similar program.

Coop's Corner

When the Force IS with You

By Joe Cooper

Article Cover

Australian born, Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper stayed in the U.S. after the 1980 America’s Cup where he was the boat captain and sailed as Grinder/Sewer-man on Australia. His whole career has focused on sailing, especially the short-handed aspects of it. He lives in Middletown, RI where he coaches, consults and writes on his blog, joecoopersailing.com, when not paying attention to his wife, teenage son, dog, two cats and several, mainly small, boats.

We're glad you're enjoying WindСheck! Please create a free account to get access to more features. Already a subscriber? Sign in