First let me say that it is wonderful to see the lake full! It feels like it was a long—and dry—winter, and your Commodore was growing concerned that he would fail his Number #1 job—to fill the lake. Fortunately, the Spring rains arrived and here we are. It is also wonderful to see boats out sailing again. Congratulations to those dedicated and hardy members who have launched their boats and are enjoying Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday racing. You are an inspiration to the rest of us!
I promised myself that I would have Mint Condition, my Capri 22, in the water by May 1 this year. But, as some of you know, my father passed away on April 25, and the weeks since then have been something of a blur. Lots of phone calls, emails, FAXes, and trips to Portland. My new goal is to get my boat launched by Memorial Day.
Unlike some of you, I did not grow up in a sailing family. In fact, my father didn’t even like boats. He once told me that after three years in the Navy, he had seen all the boats he ever wanted to see! He and my mother did actually go on a cruise once. And I can remember riding with my parents on a Ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria. But that was about it for the first twenty or so years of my life.
I must have been in college when a friend from church invited me to go sailing on his Comet 15. It was a windy day on the Columbia and the boat was quickly overpowered. Not being an experienced sailor himself, he and I were both glad to make it safely back to shore. In later years, I would sail with this same friend on his Lightning 19 and on his Ranger 20. And many years later, this same friend would sail out of EYC on my Capri 22! To this day, I am grateful for my friend Tom who introduced a “land locked” kid like me to the wonderful sport of sailing.
Who is it that introduced you to sailing? Were you fortunate enough to grow up in a sailing family? Did you have a neighbor or co-worker who offered you your first sailboat ride? Did someone invite you to crew for them in a race, or did you start out by taking a beginner’s class? Like many participatory sports, sailing has experienced a decline in recent years. Some of the reasons cited for this include the cost, the availability of time, lack of access to water, etc. That said, I rarely talk with anyone who doesn’t light up when I ask, “Would you like to go sailing sometime?” The answer is almost always an enthusiastic “YES!”
So here is my challenge to all of us who care about the sport of sailing: reach out and invite someone to go sailing for the first time this summer. You will not only do them a favor, but you will also help the sport we love—and maybe even the club we love.