Sailing is dying. Can it be saved?

Saving Sailing is a book by Nick Hayes that investigates in depth what we are doing with kids and sailing. Actually it is much more than that. It is an indepth look at free time, intergenerational interaction, and changes in the social fabric of America.

A few of you know how I spend my free time - sailing. A few more of you know that a lot of that sailing time, I spend sailing with young folks. Not competitive sailing (not yet anyway) but the general get out on the water - go somewhere - not very fast. And enjoy kind of sailing. I see the lessons in leadership, common sense that these youngsters learn and it excites me. There is nothing like seeing a young lady who in school would sit at the back of the class speaking in mouse-like whispers in response to questions from the teacher - yelling at the bow-watch to speak up cause she can't see the deadhead we are about to hit. To see the transformation from tentative to assertive, from shy to outgoing, and retiring to confident draws me to keep on in the face of all the challenges that I have to face.

If I stopped to tot up the dangers that we face, kid swept overboard, youngster crushed between the boat and the dock, finger caught in an anchor chain... I would stop in an instant. But I don't because to me the risk is vastly outweighed by the benefit of what I do.

Perhaps the most important lesson though that I teach is that life is a journey not a destination. Sailing provides an opportunity to journey in ways that encourage contemplation, being one with the elements, and develops values that endure.

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