Author: Joe Cooper

Coop's Corner

Safety…first?

By Joe Cooper

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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

The Right Stuff

By Joe Cooper

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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

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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…

Racing

Reaching For Success: The Clagett Regattas enable sailors with disabilities to attain personal levels of achievement

By Joe Cooper

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Ever think the world is kicking you in the shins? That life’s not fair? Feeling sorry for yourself? Go immediately to ClagettRegatta.org. Here you will learn about people doing things that will make you cringe that you ever thought you were having a bad hair day. The C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta honors the memory of Tom Clagett, a passionate sailor who contracted meningitis in his youth. Tom was paralyzed for a while and…

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

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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,…

Juniors

Super-Charged

By Joe Cooper

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Young Americans overcome adversity in the Vineyard Race By Caitlin Owles, Alexa Shea & Elizabeth van der Voort Young American Sailing Academy Editor’s note: Many sailors would consider the failure of a boat’s electrical system during an overnight race sufficient cause for throwing in the towel and setting a course for the nearest tavern. For the eight teenage sailors aboard the J/105 Young American in this year’s running of Stamford Yacht Club’s Vineyard Race, quitting was never…

Coop's Corner

Norman Rockwell Goes Sailing

By Joe Cooper

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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

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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

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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.

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