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

Safety…first?

By Joe Cooper

Safety…first?

By Joe Cooper Phew, that was some spring. Herreshoff Regatta in Maine, the last Friday Night Lights, then the State Championships, a long Sunday event at Sail Newport, with 10 races. Then the Storm Trysail Foundation’s Junior Safety at Sea Seminar on 2 June, at Sail Newport. In the middle, another Block Island Race on the J/105 Young American – my favorite mob to sail with these days. The first part of the race was sailed in…

Coop's Corner

Mothers: Dei

By Chris Szepessy

Mothers: Dei

By Joe Cooper Mother’s Day was last month. Social media was ablaze with selfies of adoring offspring genuflecting before their mothers, in real life or in images, making cooing sounds and generally trying to claw back all the dumb stuff they did as kids. Black Friday it ain’t but the restaurants around town probably see a bump in business, as do the flower shops, confectioners and the Hallmark Card aisles at CVS. And no, I am not…

Coop's Corner

The Right Stuff

By Joe Cooper

The Right Stuff

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

The Last Trysail

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

Moving boats, always at night.

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

Fall Fun

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

Norman Rockwell Goes Sailing

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

Life Lessons from Sailing

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

Hazy Memories

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

Kaper Komplete.

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.

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