Hmmmm…so much to talk about. Let’s begin with the issue you’re holding in your hands. It is the last WindCheck of 2018. It’s also the shortest in terms of pages. But it might be the best one of my tenure. We tackled a number of large projects for this “two-month” issue and I am extremely proud of the WindCheck team on how they came out. First up, we put a ribbon on the “Optimist vs What” conversation as promised after my Publisher’s Log in September. This conversation certainly is not going to end here, but we gathered and synthesized a lot of perspectives to share. I think the biggest takeaway is for people to really focus on what the goals are for introducing young people to our sport and how we’re going to measure success. There are a few “pro” Opti submissions in the Letters section this month (juxtaposing the less enthusiastic ones from October) and we gathered still more input for the article on page 34. We thank Bob Whittredge from the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound (JSA), who supported our research and forwarded a “mission statement” crafted at the JSA Annual Meeting on October 24. We were in production by then so could not run the whole thing so here’s an edited (for length) portion:

“The JSA’s mission is to encourage Junior Sailors to experience the joy of sailing, to learn about and appreciate the complexities of the marine environment, and promote ethical behavior that builds character, fosters teamwork, and strengthens respect for self and others. The JSA of LIS promotes both competitive and recreational aspects of the sport of sailing. Looking back at the last few seasons, the JSA has seen growth in clubs offering sailing opportunities on an expanded range of platforms. This includes the conventional racing track as well as up-and-coming adventure programs. The recently added RS Feva class has seen steady and rapid growth in the short time since its inception. Clubs are also utilizing, with great success, boats such as the Ideal 18, Rhodes 19, Stand-Up Paddle Boards, Windsurfers, Hobie Waves, O’pen BICs, and SailCubes. In addition, by adopting a “community sailing” approach, some programs are providing a greater variety of boats to their junior sailors.”

Bravo! I hope we get still more feedback over the winter, but mostly I hope more parents and programs give their metrics for success a harder look.

On the cover, we’re celebrating Jud Smith and team’s win at what had to be the toughest keelboat event of the year, the West Marine J/70 Worlds, held in Marblehead in September. Ninety boats competed in conditions ranging from downright nasty, with 25 knots, 40-degree temperatures and large, steep waves that you’d expect in November, to the light and shifty you might expect of Marblehead in July. This latest accomplishment accentuates what those who know Jud would say: He is a stud! It feels like Jud wins a World Championship every year. He won the J/70 Worlds in Italy last year, crewing for Peter Duncan from Rye, NY. The summer before, he won the Sonar World Championship in Rochester, NY. It’s fun that he got to win this one in the place he grew up.

Lastly, we brought back the Holiday Gift Guide! Erica, Zep and I had a good time submitting six or seven ideas each from our personal likes or tips from advertisers, and Kerstin dealt with the less fun task of designing the section so that it looks beautiful. The results are that our picks are eclectic to say the least (and not all nautical)! If you approach the holidays with the correct mindset, they can make up for the loss of summer. This process reminded me that (unlike my typical last minute mode), it really is satisfying to truly think about what one might give as a gift. Hopefully this section will inspire folks to do the same.

It actually is the thought that counts!

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