Team McLube Forum Index: .: Dock Talk:
Who was your sailing mentor?

The Publisher

Sep 25, 2009, 9:14 AM

Views: 103307
Who was your sailing mentor?

In the book ‘Saving Sailing’, author Nick Hayes illustrates how valuable mentoring is to the growth of sailing. Unlike a personal coach, a mentor is typically not paid, but is someone of valuable experience that has taken a personal interest in his or her apprentice. The relationship is deeper, and the rewards are greater. However, Hayes also points out that mentoring has largely disappeared from the activity of sailing.

Did you have a mentor that helped you in the sport? Was there someone that took you under their wing to open your eyes a little wider, and increase your emotional attachment to the sport? Scuttlebutt advertiser Ocean Racing would like to recognize these mentors, and raffle off three Optimum Time watches to anyone who posts who their mentor was.

Please reply to this post with the who, when, where, and why.


Be sure to log-in, then click on reply (upper right corner) to submit your post. Raffle will be held October 6, 2009 (noon PT).

Optimum Time Sailing Watches; New Models Now In Stock
Whether it’s fall sailing, college racing or just a head-start on holiday gifts for sailors on your list, your timing is perfect! Our watches include easy-to-read displays, pre-programmed 5,4,1,0 ISAF start sequences, loud audible alerts, are shock and water resistant, include one year warrantees plus easy to understand manuals.

Attachments: OptimumTime.jpg (32.6 KB)


Sep 25, 2009, 1:03 PM

Views: 103265
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

Mentor #1 Alan Emmett, RHKYC, owner of an Enterprise Dinghy "Sea Wave"; I crewed for him when I was about 12yrs old but had already been sailing since 3 on other boats with family and friends. He explained everything about the boat, rigging, and nuances about sail trim for the day's conditions before we left the dock. He talked quietly and encouragingly on the race course, describing his actions, what I needed to do, the importance of weight placement, affect on helm, the RRS, tactics and demonstrated what sportsmanship was. After my first series of races, he asked me to prep the boat before he arrived at the club (which of course he checked quietly), but the key was to trust me to get more involved. Later in that season, we swapped helm/crew positions for a few races. Now I was bitten by the bug. We won most events later that year. Two seasons later, I had an Enterprise, passed on what I had learned to my crew, and went on to represent to colony and win the Enterprise events at the RHKYC, including the San Miguel Trophy that Alan won in my first season crewing for him. Alan's tireless explanations into why boats work the way they do, got me interested in design and more fundamentals.

Mentor #2 Alan Stevens, RHKYC, owner of Finn KH1 and another Elvstrom Finn. Alan saw some potential and helped me get into the growing Finn Class. When I was 15 and 16, he gave me the use of his Fairy Marine, cold molded Finn KH 1. It was a classic boat and by then, I was totally bitten by the bug. Apart from racing, during the summer months I used to "cruise" around the Island in the Finn. It developed self confidence going alone where you don't typically go in Finns, and was an adventure that sparked an interest in going offshore. That moment has culminated in 40,000+ offshore and inshore racing and delivery miles on 4 continents.

There were 4 other mentors in the Flying Fifteen, Dragon and Star classes (names I forget now) and 505 (Neil Pryde who's mentoring was from regularly kicking our butts as a competitor and demonstrating the way to do it better !!).

The common theme: they took the time to explain, they took the kids out, they gave them responsibility early, and were generous with handing over the helm to get kids motivated, to develop self confidence, and a passion for wanting to have their own boat one day.


Sep 29, 2009, 1:26 AM

Views: 103157
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

I've not read the book yet, but I have heard the author speak on the subject and while I agree that mentoring is important for people to keep them in the sport once they have tried it, the thing that brings people to the sport in the first place heroes.

Kids don't play soccer because David Beckham is their mentor, kids don't want to one day visit Le-Mans because Steve McQueen was a mentor. People develop passions around the stars and let's face it - most people grow up to be spectators - whatever sport or lifestyle choice you want to talk about. So the sport needs (young, cool) heroes...

Now having said that - the question of mentorship is an interesting one. Mentors, because of the deep and long lasting relationship and commitment required are hard to find. Finding a mentor is like finding an investor in your company - only the product you are developing is you.

I'm not sure I have any sailing mentors. Like many people, the person who got me into sailing was my Dad. Sailing was his thing and therefore it became my thing and I am thankful for that. I am really glad that my dad was into sailing and not soccer. So I was lucky. And while I learnt from my Dad, the people inspired me - as opposed to taught me - were those who were superstars.

And the stand out superstars? Well John Bertrand and the crew of Australia II will always stick in my mind. Being woken up as a 10 year old to watch a yacht race happening live on the other side of the world was pretty special. Seeing the Prime Minister in an awful gaudy jacket declaring that the day should be made a public holiday showed that sailing was as important as AFL (Australian Rules Football) or Cricket.

Then I grew up and decided that I didn't like sailing. Well that's not quite true - sailing was cool, but windsurfing was even more cool. Standing on the edge of Point Danger in Torquay Australia and watching a kid with an orange and green sail do a backwards loop off the top of a wave blew my mind. That 'kid' was Jason Polakow and he, through his actions at Point Danger that day introduced me to a bunch of other heroes - names like Robby Naish and Laird Hamilton.

Mentors are easy to find - for those who can get past the perceptions of elitism that still exist and can bring themselves to visit a yacht or sailing club that will welcome them, they will find tons of older, more experienced sailors who would love to share their time, knowlege and in many cases, their boats.


Sep 29, 2009, 2:41 AM

Views: 103153
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

George R. Law was an old New England sailor with thick wavy hair and a full white beard. I’d skip grammar school in the early 1960s and we’d work together as deckhands on a commercial boat called Ranger out of St. Petersburg, Florida. George didn’t say much. He didn’t have to. But he’d always be in the right place at the right time. He took me under his wing. Dave Winters, our captain, told me, “…best seamen in the world, George is. He knows what I’m gonna do before I do.”
“Safety first,” George drilled into me. “It’s not enough to catch the line or secure it to the bitts. You’ve got to anticipate what could—and will—go wrong as well. Safety at sea isn’t about being scared or not scared—it’s able be cool enough to do the job that cocky guys can’t… because they aren’t smart enough. If you hear a loud noise—don’t immediately step towards. Take a second to think and understand—you’ll be ten times faster in the end.”
George even gave me a leather bound book of Kipling’s poems. I’ve carried it around the world undersail more than once. Thanks, George. (end)


Sep 29, 2009, 7:48 AM

Views: 103127
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

Steve Garland was a mentor in the sense that he provided the opportunity to take my sailing experience in a new and exciting direction. Like many, my parents introduced us to sailing and we spend many hours on the boat as a family. My brothers and I took lessons until we were proficient, then spent summers hacking around on turnabouts, lasers, sunfish, and windsurfers. After 6 landlocked years at college and after, I returned to the New England coast. One night I bumped into Steve heading out to Wednesday night racing and before I knew it I was part of his regular crew. Steve build a series of top-flight boats with Carroll Marine and stocked them with hot-shot sailors. As a kid new to racing, I got to contribute where I could and learn as much as possible. Steve's talent was in the design, building, and spec'ing of the boats and assembling a great group of people to go out and sail them. Steve and his wife Helga taught me the importance of finding a crew that you really enjoy spending endless hours with on and of the water. We traveled to many venues, sailed with a lot of great sailors, and had a lot of success. Through his program, Steve reintroduced me to sailing, introduced me to racing, and solidified sailing as a passion.


Sep 29, 2009, 5:31 PM

Views: 103061
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

My mentor was Howard Thompson on board his Catalina 38 Pokai, moored in Alamitos Bay, CA.
Howard was a true gentleman sailor. He invited young men and sometimes women to sail with him and taught some very important lessons.
First - Sailing is fun! If anyone was acting like it was anything other than fun, they were not invited back.
Second - Respect for the boat - If you did damage to the boat with a careless move - he brought it to your attention. If you did damage to anything due to a reckless move - you were never invited back on board.
Third - Respect for the sea - Howard believed that no matter how many times you cross the bay or sailed the Catalina channel - there is always something to learn at sea. If you did not show respect to the sea, you were not invited back.
Fourth - Laugh - but not until you had crossed ahead of the fleet! The first joke could never be told until we were ahead. He would rotate crew positions at each mark rounding, including himself for fun at the end of each series.

We spent summers with Howard, laughing and sailing. He sailed the bottom off his boat. It was out of the slip more than in it.
Howard Thompson made it a joy to be at sea!


Sep 30, 2009, 6:40 AM

Views: 102977
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

My mentor was Dick Clogg (Bayview Yacht Club / Detroit Yacht Club). An avid racer who sailed over 25 Port Huron to Mackinac races along with some international events. In his later years Dick's love of yacht racing turned to race management, long before it became the program it is now. Dick believed that good sailing required good race management and he brought a number of people in the Detroit area into it with him. I had sailed for a good number of years and at Dick's request helped him with a number of regattas at the Bayview Yacht Club and other clubs on Lake Saint Claire. We worked on a number of sailing menus from Jib & Main Races to Etchels, Star and J24 regattas together. Today the Detroit area has great race management personnel who are registered members of US Sailing - Race Management and who have worked on the America's Cup and other national and international events. I will not mention their names but they are Umpires / Judges / Club Race Officers and have participated and supported yacht racing in its highest form. As Dick would often say "You give them good racing and they will appreciate it long after the race is over." Unfortunately Dick passed away some years ago but his legacy and love for yacht racing still lives on the lake and in the clubs and with those that worked with him and sailed under his race management.


Oct 1, 2009, 7:35 AM

Views: 102847
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

My sailing mentor was my father. He first got me into sailing by deciding to learn at the same time. He bought an Alpha(oversized sunfish) and read a book and we went out. I seem to remember it as a near death experience and he decided to send me to lessons and he took lessons seperate. I stayed in sailing despite this first experience. Later in life we tried to sail to the Bahamas and we got 10 miles offshore and the family was all sick and took the "ditch" instead. We still had a great trip. As a kid I remember many situations like this that would get people out of a sport but my dad (and supportive mom) kept providing me the opportunity to sail and I kept taking him up on it. It is 40 years later and he is not around anymore and I strive to get others on the water. Dad made me the sailor I am today.

Ryan Hamm
Charleston, SC
Sail Often and have fun

john rumsey

Oct 1, 2009, 8:39 AM

Views: 102830
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

In Reply To
In the book ‘Saving Sailing’, author Nick Hayes illustrates how valuable mentoring is to the growth of sailing. Unlike a personal coach, a mentor is typically not paid, but is someone of valuable experience that has taken a personal interest in his or her apprentice. The relationship is deeper, and the rewards are greater. However, Hayes also points out that mentoring has largely disappeared from the activity of sailing.

Did you have a mentor that helped you in the sport? Was there someone that took you under their wing to open your eyes a little wider, and increase your emotional attachment to the sport? Scuttlebutt advertiser Ocean Racing would like to recognize these mentors, and raffle off three Optimum Time watches to anyone who posts who their mentor was.

Please reply to this post with the who, when, where, and why.


Be sure to log-in, then click on reply (upper right corner) to submit your post. Raffle will be held October 5, 2009 (noon PT).

Optimum Time Sailing Watches; New Models Now In Stock
Whether it’s fall sailing, college racing or just a head-start on holiday gifts for sailors on your list, your timing is perfect! Our watches include easy-to-read displays, pre-programmed 5,4,1,0 ISAF start sequences, loud audible alerts, are shock and water resistant, include one year warrantees plus easy to understand manuals.

John Fretwell

Oct 2, 2009, 7:49 AM

Views: 102728
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

I love this thread!

Back in the day when many kids had no access to a formal junior program, I think mentoring was a lot more prevalent, and that was a great thing for the sport.

I suppose my first mentor was my father. Looking back, I realize that he was learning to sail at the same time I was. Many of our most memorable adventures and misadventures were the result of being pretty far over our heads. Nevertheless his passion and imagination ultimately led him to three consecutive club championships and the founding of a small company marketing his patented sailing products, most notably an early spinnaker furling device, the Spinnaker Sally. As a first generation sailor, he saw no boundaries, and that was and still is inspiring.

Later, as a young teen, I sailed a lot with naval architect Gary Van Tassel on his Merit 25, Bellatrix. He taught me about working the bow on a small boat, got me up to speed on headers and lifts, and gave me a lot of responsibility. I’ll never forget when he let me skipper the boat for our club’s novice race. It was breezy and we arrived at the windward mark first. As we bore away, something felt strange and the mainsheet had a ton of load. That was because the backstay had parted and I was lowering the mast to the bow with the sheet! I was jumping up and down trying to figure out how to get the mast back up when Gary advised me that for this day, we were done. Later I worked a summer with Gary on a custom sportfishing boat he had designed and was building. As the low man on the totem pole it seemed that my job was to sand between coats of what any of the other guys were doing, but working with all those craftsmen, learning about glassing, epoxy, and vacuum bagging gave me a ton of knowledge I use to this day.

But by far my biggest sailing mentor was Michael Ironmonger. Mike created and then spent twenty plus years developing the waterfront program at St. Mary’s College in Maryland. I had the pleasure of sailing with him quite a bit on his Capri 25, Shooting Star, and later his J/29, Moonbeam. Mike exudes confidence and when you were on his boat, you knew before you left the dock that you were going to do well. His crew was always made up of rowdy strong men, and I wanted to be like them. On one overnight race from Solomon’s Island to Smith Point light and back, we had opened up a large lead by mid-afternoon. With the kite up and the reggae on, the gin and tonics began to flow. As a teen, I think I probably had one or two, and crashed down below shortly after dark. When I awoke, things sounded strange on deck. The guys were tacking back up the Patuxent toward the finish, but the good cheer had won the evening and the running lights behind were gaining fast as boathandling became more challenging. I was given the helm, and we managed to eek out the victory! Later I went on to work as an instructor for Mike’s summer program at the college. He “gave me the keys” to a 40’ Sparkman & Stephens named Tolerance and we had a blast sailing, spinnaker flying, you name it. The sense of responsibility he instilled in me as a sailing educator really took hold, and well, here I am today at the San Diego Yacht Club.

Mentors are great for young people as sailors, and more importantly as young adults in an ever-more complicated world. I thank those mentioned here, and all the others who helped along the way, and hope that I can have a similar impact on the sailors I work with today.

John Fretwell
Junior Sailing Director
San Diego Yacht Club

Mark Lammens

Oct 2, 2009, 7:52 AM

Views: 102725
Re: [John Fretwell] Who was your sailing mentor?

My mentor at a critical age was Rob Woodbury. He was my sailing instructor at the Brockville YC. He took me on my first very exciting ride on the trapeze as a 10 yr old on a Fireball. Then as a 12 yr old he took me to my first big regatta, the Quebec open where there was 200 Lasers. After the disappointment of the 1980 Olympic boycott, Woodbury was the CAN rep in the Finn, he sold me his boat with all of his gear, at a great price. He gave me lots of important Olympic campaign advice, specifically do everything and figure out what everything is,......and become professional. The other thing he taught me was his contagious love of sailing and racing at an elite level. It was cool to see his son sail at the National Youth's, he is pumped about sailing and does it very well.


Oct 5, 2009, 5:11 AM

Views: 102464
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

My mentor was my dad.
When sailing optimists he'd say to me before every race start: "no victory - no food"
That's how I learned siling...


Oct 5, 2009, 6:43 AM

Views: 102454
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

I really had two...first was my uncle, who was the first to take me sailing in a Luger 16 daysailer at the beginning of the summer after my freshman year in college. I had been fascinated by sailboats from childhood, but had no access to them before my uncle bought jis. I had grown up with powerboats on the Galveston Bay system, but thought the sailboats looked like lots of fun. After that first sail, I was off to a summer job as a camp counselor on a lake in East Texas. The camp had Phantom board boats (Sunfish clones), and a friend from high school who was also working there got me out on one of those, told me what to do and turned me loose. I proceeded to sail as much as possible that summer under the tutorage of a boat that would tell you right away when you did something wrong! :) I also started helping out in the sailing classes. I had sort of grown up under the misconception that sailing was something that only "rich people" did, but these two people opened my eyes to how accessible and how much fun it really was! By the next summer, I was teaching sailing to kids at another camp on a lake in the Texas Hill Country and sailing as much as possible. My uncle later gave me his Luger 16 when I graduated from college, and I sailed it pretty hard until my wife and I began the inevitable "trade up" cycle. We currently sail a Dolphin 22 (pretty rare), and are taking our two children out as much as we can.

Rafael Valdivia

Oct 5, 2009, 9:53 AM

Views: 102448
Re: [kc5qnk] Who was your sailing mentor?

My mentor was my late cousin Fabio Valdivia, a great sportsman, sailor, diver and father. He inspired me since my very youth, I was 5 and he taught me how to sail radio controlled boats, then with 11 how to sail a Laser and with 12 to scuba dive. He also taught lots of people to dive and sail in Santos, his hometown and his kids. Unfortunately he passed away two years ago at 44 from a cancer in the lungs. Nowadays sailing is my passion, I run a sailing team in Brazil and my plans for 2010 includes a sailing school and foundation on his behalf.

Dick Tillman

Oct 5, 2009, 9:55 AM

Views: 102446
Re: [Rafael Valdivia] Who was your sailing mentor?

I suspect nearly every serious sailor has a mentor. Mine is Alan (Buzz) Levinson. Buzz's older brother, Frank, took my older brother, Jack, and I in tow during our pre-teenage years. The two of us crewed for Frank in his Snipe in the 40s and Buzz and his younger brother, Harry, combined to teach us a whole lot about sailing and life in general. Through the years, Buzz became the primary teacher and role model. We sailed together in the Snipe World Championship 50 years ago, we did Pan Am trials, and many local races. Buzz was the first to suggest that the Laser was a boat to get and he was one of the first in the Windsurfing class. His lead established my direction. Now in his 80s, he is still leading and promoting sailing of all kinds. I couldn't have a better mentor, though he scoffs at the tittle. Perhaps that is the epitome of a true mentor.

Cam Lewis

Oct 5, 2009, 9:58 AM

Views: 102444
Re: [Dick Tillman] Who was your sailing mentor?

My mentor was my Dad, George Lewis.

We spend our summers on the Fox Island Thorofare and have a house on the Vinalhaven shore of this incredibly beautiful channel that separates North Haven and Vinalhaven islands ten miles off the coast of Maine. Summers were and are all about sailing and racing and we are lucky enough to have the North Haven Dinghy for both ( oldest one design class in North America) , plus numerous other boats that have come and gone over the years and some still in use.

Pictures in the family scrap books are hilarious of the myself and siblings and friends in big puffy life jackets on all sorts of boats from our earliest nautical forays. We had a Super Sprite on the pond in Massachusetts were we lived when not in Maine, a 210, the dinghies, knockabouts or 17 footers, with asymmetrical kites! and assorted larger sailing boats to constantly challenge and entertain us, My great uncles even had the Fishhawk, a 62 foot Alden cutter we got to sail on with my Grandmother when her brothers were away- (kids!)

The North Haven Casino- our club ran Midget Racing- Saturday and Monday mornings in the dinghies-rules were simple- skipper was 12 and under, crew any age - but if older than 12, no touch the tiller. Most kids sailed with Dad or Mom or an older sibling.

The buoys where steel cans and nuns, taxpayer supplied. The committee boat an older lobster boat. I started racing when I was 6 with my Dad, man oh man he must have had patience- (actually still does) the old push - pull the tiller or follow my finger was the the starting point of instruction. A North Haven dinghy is not an agile maneuvering craft, 14 feet, gaff rigged cat boat with a barn door rudder, plumb bow and a big sail, plus for stability they carry 265 pounds of lead pigs in the bilge. Competition was pretty darn fierce. I had my share of collisions into the nuns, cans, competitors and the committee boat, bang! Scrape or bump- all part of the curve of life and learning-- back then you sailed home after one of those! No gripes, no turns, just good sportsmanship, you fouled and that was it and that is what my Dad taught me.

Well low and behold I was getting 1st and 2nds and 3rds in my 1st and 2nd years and by the time i was 11, in some light air races, I would leave Dad on the dock and go it alone, winning some great battles. Helen Watson with her dad Tom of IBM fame was fast and clever and did not like this new tactic of single-handing i brought into the game. Others tried it, but none ever gave me much of a battle if it stayed light.

It was a great growing up experience and we were awarded flags for each podium finish, Blue for 1st, Red 2nd and White 3rd. My grandmother would write the date, sail # and names of the crews on each one and i would bang it up on the wall of my room. The ones with me and Dad got the best spot! Singlehanded ones where next!

Learning independence! Just like our forbearers planned for this country and her citizens

Those 1st 6 years of my racing life are so memorable to me, the flags and trophies mean more to me that almost any of my other mementos from my racing career, mostly because i was so involved with racing with my Dad. Later on he bought us one of the first 420's to land in the USA and with 6 foot 6 inch frame on the wire, we had some good fun! He also bought us Laser number 4314 named ROCK, long story- short - on maiden sail out of Padanaram with my buddy Ted Scott acting as crew and local knowledge ( it was blowing and easy 25) we cut the breakwater at Ricketson Point and surfed full speed to a dead stop on a you know what- and we still sail that boat in Maine every summer, We paid $695 for it and for some reason the old mahogany boat and dagger board trunk survived to sail again.

Then there were the big boats, friends and family, offshore passages and overnight races, my dad bought a Fastnet 45, then the Fishhawk from great uncles, and when i was in my junior year in high school in 1973-4, he commissioned a Doug Peterson "Ganbare" style one tonner built in San Diego by Carl Eichenlaub with Dennis Conner as the worker B on her - LIVELY was christened. We won our 1st race in San Diego, with brown thread TED Hood sails, in the land of NORTH -in a race around the Coronado's and back overnight- and after the reports in the local Sunday paper gave DC all the credit (he slept most of the night ( after my dad's typical Roast Beef, Potatoes and Red Wine supper) while my Dad and i drove and trimmed) we trucked east and raced hard for a few years and did damn well, winning our share in a hot fleet of One Tonnners on the east coast back then. . As an 18 year old kid with my Dad calling the shots i was out steering in the One Ton Worlds in 1975 against some of the biggest names in sailing in those days, guys like Lowell North- The real "Pope", Ted Turner and Ted Hood to name a few. In most races back then i would hand over the helm to my dad a few minutes before the top mark and go do the bow and Dad would drive downwind and hand it back over to me once we were sorted and going back up the wind.

The stories are many, the memories great, we still race together and against each other, Dad beat me in every dinghy race this past summer, keep on sailing fast Dad, I love you!

Bill Mead

Oct 5, 2009, 10:04 AM

Views: 102440
Re: [Cam Lewis] Who was your sailing mentor?

My dad was my sailing mentor, an engineer, genius inventor and self taught sailor.

His obsession with sailing lasted five years, beginning with a 19 foot Wood Pussy, a wooden boat that required a full time bailer and would regularly sink at the mooring. Next was the fastest boat in the harbor, an Aqua Cat, which he managed to pitch pole between the Drakes Island jetties during small craft warnings and require Coast Guard rescue. On the trailer ride home from the beach the masthead foam ball got hooked on a power line, and the cat swung free from the trailer! On New Years day we annually dragged the Cat across the icy Maine marshes to sail, outfitted in our orange Titanic lifejackets. The next speed upgrade was the Hobie 14, which he managed to capsize while it was still tied to the dock. It was my dad's passion for sailing, pushing the envelope regardless of his skill that got me hooked on sailing at a young age. His motto, "anything worth doing is worth overdoing", is an oft-repeated family saying.

Bill Mead, Beverly Cove, MA

Zide B. Jahncke

Oct 5, 2009, 10:07 AM

Views: 102437
Re: [Bill Mead] Who was your sailing mentor?

I was fortunate to be born (1945) into a yachting family in New Orleans, Louisiana.

My sailing mentors were:
My Father and Mother (Edward B. "Bud" Jahncke and Zide Benedict Jahncke) - Star Boat sailors -"TEMPE III" #423.
My two Brothers (Edward B. Jahncke, Jr. and Barton W. B. Jahncke, 1968 Olympic Gold Medal Winner - Dragon Class).
AND, close friend (Al Gooch) - North Sails, New Orleans.

ALL members of Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans, Louisiana. I sailed on Lake Pontchartrain as both Skipperette and Crew in Fish Boats, Penguins, Luders16, Finns, Solings, Cal-25s, and a Nelson-Marek 68, and was Skipperette of the Year at SYC in the early '90's.

Also, I have been fortunate to sail in San Diego CA, Long Beach CA, San Francisco CA, Chicago IL, and at many Yacht Clubs in the Gulf Yachting Association. It has been my pleasure to meet many of the Famous and "Infamous" Rock Stars of the Sailing World.

Sailing has been my passion, and today I live on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain....and "visit" the lake everyday !!

C.E. Chuck

Oct 5, 2009, 10:09 AM

Views: 102435
Re: [Zide B. Jahncke] Who was your sailing mentor?

Sailing Catalina 22 's is wonderful and awesome, scary and boring, and a great boat to learn its characteristics in different conditions. My mentor is Don Carsten past commodore and national champion of this class. I have never meet anyone who promotes sailing more and took the time for many years to instruct, teach, coach and just have fun talking about rigging, rules, tactics, wind and then take it to the water and give it a try! Many beers were drank using salt shakers as boats, marks as ketchup and the wind by a fork. Thanks Don for giving your time and making me a better sailor!


Oct 5, 2009, 5:57 PM

Views: 102388
Re: [C.E. Chuck] Who was your sailing mentor?

My name is Sean Walker and my mentor is Lloyd Kinch. He is the Commodore of the West River Sailing Club. He was the first one to give me a real introduction to big boat racing. He let me race on his old blue J-30 Kavack. We didn't always win but we always had fun. He taught me how fun sailing can be, and isn't that what it's all about.

Stanton Murray

Oct 6, 2009, 6:21 AM

Views: 102313
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

My Father was my mentor and taught me not just how to race but to just enjoy time on the boat...

Jim Whistler

Oct 6, 2009, 6:22 AM

Views: 102312
Re: [SWalker] Who was your sailing mentor?

Jim Whistler- Buffalo, NY
Growing up as the 11th of 13 kids definitely made the solitude of sailing appealing to me. When I was 7 years old, my father sold the 68' Alden yawl that was the cohesive vessel for the family summer cruises. After a couple of years in sailing class at the Buffalo Canoe Club under the instruction of a very young Jay Hansen (now CFO North Sails), I had the confidence to move beyond the TECH dinghy fleet. I was invited to Race aboard a Borsaw which was a locally built, fiberglass 40' Owens sloop; the owner was Fred Obersheimer. Fred taught me seamanship and the absolute meaning of calm in the face of a storm. So many of the kids today may be great racers but when it comes to seamanship, it's a dying tutelage. After a few years of racing with Fred, I began racing with Al Bernel on his new Ericson 39. Al was a hard core racer who came from the BCC Lightning fleet; Al Bernel taught me the intracacies of racing. By the age of 14, I became the delivery captain aboard his new boat "Robin" the one tonner he purchased from Ted Hood. That 10 year period of my life and the mentoring I received from those two old salts charted the course of my life toward the marine industry for a livelyhood, nautical philanthropy and a life on the water.

John Holmberg

Oct 6, 2009, 7:04 AM

Views: 102302
Re: [Jim Whistler] Who was your sailing mentor?

I am so lucky growing up in St. Thomas US Virgin Islands. My dad Dick Holmberg and his friends shared their knowledge with all of the kids and we sailed the heck out of any class we had. Specifically Rudy Thompson from a series of "Fun Hog" racing boats was always the most fun person to hang out with. He always provided advice with humor which made the "humble pie" taste better... and could always be found in the midst of a group of laughing and yelling kids playing "kick the can".

In the last 30 years my brother Peter has been my sailing mentor... he obviously sails very well and has shared his winning secrets freely. He and I are a product of a generation of caring parents and friends who shared the love of the sport and I am doing my part to keep that tradition going - the laughter and enthusiasm I see when helping the kids at the club now - are reminders of how lucky I am.

I tell the kids (and whoever else will listen) that the other competitors are there to show you how many mistakes you make - I have learned from every sailor I have come in contact with.

David Vieregg

Oct 6, 2009, 7:41 AM

Views: 102300
Re: [John Holmberg] Who was your sailing mentor?

You will probably get a lot of “my dad” posts, but here is my story anyway. My dad had sailed a little in his twenties but was into water skiing and snow skiing. When I was 3 he got transferred from Chicago to Houston Tx, there he visited the annual boat show, put his business card in a fish bowl and won a 10 foot tri-maran sailboat (can you imagine - must have been a square). As the years went on, our family upgraded to different size boats. He bought me a Sunfish at age 8. When he next got transferred to St Louis, we moved to a lake and joined the local sailing club, and introduced me to Sea Explorers. He set goals for me to earn a new sail or get to go to the Sunfish NAs…he crewed for a friend in Y Flyers and demonstrated that being a good crew was important. He took time out to drive me to Lake Carlyle, Springfield or Chicago to sail. The next transfer was to Las Vegas, just as I was getting to skipper my own Y Flyer…we flew to Vegas to check out the town and Lake Mead and the Nevada Yacht Club. They didn’t sail Sunfish out west but they did sail Lasers, so he bought two, one for me and one for my brother, as he again became friends with other members and crewed for them. I attended SDSU and sailed on the team there, he came to some of my college regattas to sit on shore and watch. When I was able to make it as a regular crew on Lone Star a Nelson Marek 55, he came along for Charity Bay races or an occasional Long Beach Race week…it was fun to be able to reciprocate the joy of sailing with him. He was my mentor cause he showed me the way, made sure sailing was available and participated as a boat owner and crew….

Kenn Batt

Oct 6, 2009, 7:44 AM

Views: 102298
Re: [David Vieregg] Who was your sailing mentor?

My late father was my mentor.


Oct 6, 2009, 7:51 AM

Views: 102319
Re: getting it honest, the Captain's daughter~

I have learned from many sailors over the years, but none so much as the years I spent in the cockpit of my father's 'old woodies' on the Great Lakes. Being the youngest of 5 and having lost my mother to her nursing career, I tagged along behind the Captain (my father) and learned by doing; whether we were trading in old nautical antiques in the flats, scraping and re-packing the seams in the dead of winter or heading off on long legs to Canadian islands. From an early age, I was expected to take my turn at the helm, climb out on the 8' bowsprit to un-hank the yankee in a pitching sea, roll down the mains'l jiffy-reefing, climb the mast to reconfigure some tangled halyard and name the constellations on a star-lit night.
I never knew if he appreciated that tiny toe-headed, tom-boy that loved the sea as much as he, for he spent a life time mentoring and coaching as a profession and avocation...even receiving a 50 year honor from the Red Cross Sailing program for his services in Cleveland.
I knew how deeply inbedded his lessons were when I found myself instructing my own sailing students at Camp LeJeune Marine Base in tying the four basic sailing knots and fully expecting them to tie them down under 5 seconds. They enjoyed my stories of being set at the helm at 8 years old and being expected to hold my course while he went down for a nap, only to hear him bellow from below if my heading was off 5 degrees on either side.
I recall often when it came time, after we rebuilt that small salvaged cat-rigged woodie. I set out alone, with his words in my ears, the wind in my face and the waves rolling underneath.... I became a sailor that hand squarely on the tiller....the direction my own....a skipper.

at 85, he still sails the Cleveland waterfront, singlehand, mentoring & setting an example to all the sailors whose boats remain in their berth~
capt.suz~ Bogue Inlet, the Carolina Coast
"a sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind"~ w.chiles


Oct 6, 2009, 8:06 AM

Views: 102315
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

I was lucky as youngster to have grown up around the Palmer Johnson yard in Sturgeon Bay, WI. It was the heydey of aluminum IOR boats!
My very first mentor was Pat Haggerty of "BAY BEA" & TI fame. i was lucky to know such a great man who unfortunately went too soon.
Along the way i had the opportunity to sail with some of the really wealthy AND those who did it on a shoestring, having two mortgages just to get out on the racecourse.
The one thing i learned was that this sport is supposed to be about FUN and those that do have fun are usually more successful than those who do not. This philosophy has become somewhat of a lost art in our sport these days!!


Oct 6, 2009, 9:19 AM

Views: 102304
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

My mentor was David Cadogan, now a succesful artist in Antigua. As an inexperienced sailor he took me on as deckhand aboard the 60' schooner 'Scarlett O'Hara'. Together we sailed her across the Atlantic 3 times with extensive cruising on both sides. We even did one East West crossing via the Azores for a charter with WF Buckley! I learned seamanship, navigation and skills that have served me well in my many years of sailing since.

Thanks David.


Oct 6, 2009, 9:56 AM

Views: 102303
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

I was over 50 when I took up sailing. Like many people I took lessons at a local sailing school and took advantage of their many boats. As I acquired more and more “certificates” I figured I would try my hand at racing. Until then the most fun I had sailing was seeing how far I could get the boat to heal over. :)

After breaking down and getting a boat I signed up for a local regatta at the Richmond Yacht Club in San Francisco Bay. It was either the Great Pumpkin or the Big Daddy, can’t remember . . . when you get to be my age you forget a lot of things like that. After the first days racing we tied up next to a very nice boat and on board was Cindy. (I’m sorry but I can’t use her last name because she doesn’t like her name on the internet but if you are a racer on San Francisco Bay you probably can figure out the Cindy I am talking about.) Cindy has raced for years and years and somehow we hit it off and she took me under her wing. Well sailing with Cindy showed me how much I had learned about sailing with all my “certificates”. Petty much my skill set was zero compared to hers. I think she may have described me as the worst sailor she had ever seen!

Thanks to Cindy I have spend god-awful amounts of money “fixing” my boat and have been able to move up the in our one design fleet from DFL to usually somewhere deep in the fleet! And I love it! The few times we have actually won have been amazing days. Right now I figure that each win has costs me somewhere in the 5 figures! If I was smarter I would probably be looking into some type of 12 step program to rid myself of this addiction, but I am hopelessly hooked.

Although frankly I would rather go sailing everyday with Cindy, the fact is that these days I don’t get to go sailing with her anywhere near as much as I would like . . . because I have to spend too much time at work. I am sure it is like that for a lot of us. But one of these days I hope to be out there sailing everyday and winning a bit more often.



Oct 6, 2009, 10:10 AM

Views: 102299
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

Growing up, my mentor was also my sailing instructor, Terry Kempton. True, he was paid to coach but in the early to mid 70's I can't imagine he was very well compensated. (When I started at Ocean Gate Yacht Club in 1972, our Junior Sailing program charged $35 per kid for 4 days of instruction for the whole summer)

It was Terry and his family's passion for sailing that was so contagious to me. With his brothers Shawn and Kevin, they collected a full room of trophies, including Shawn's two O'day Championships. The massive collection hardware was magnetic to a young kid. Yet what left the deepest impression was their politeness, sense of humor and true Corinthian spirit.

While there are many great memories, I will never forget Terry walking by one day as I was cleaning my laser. He asked, "Think that will make you faster this weekend?" I thought that was pretty obvious so I just looked back at him. He said, "On perfect sailing days like today, you should out there, leave the cleaning for those no wind days." With that, I rigged up went out practiced and won the regatta that weekend...

Terry's inspiration developed a love in me for sailing that lead me to years of coaching and racing, to meeting my wife and raising two young sailors of my own... Thanks Terry!

Matthew Reid

Oct 6, 2009, 11:02 AM

Views: 102296
Re: [ccoombs] Who was your sailing mentor?

Aloha, hands down, the single most-influential person in my sailing career is Larry Hillman, owner of the Swan 48 So Far (hull #37-first splashed in 1973). I was an aspiring bowman in 2003 (read wants to, but never has) and Larry gave me a chance to learn and grow with his program. He started by hiring some great coaches and entering some great events. After a summer of mainly long-distance racing on Lake Michigan, So Far went to Ft. Lauderdale for the 2004 KWRW feeder race. We won that. We won Key West! I then helped deliver So Far to St. Martin for Heineken Race Week. Then off to U.S. Virgin Islands, BVI and finally Antigua, which we won on a nailbiter, last day, last race comeback. All the while, we had inspiring and learned coaching--my game was improving heaps.

Next came Newport/Bermuda 2004--after crossing the stream, we became becalmed for too long and after leading for 2 days, ended up 4th or 5th. In 2005, we did the Cabo race, again with great coaching, broke our spin pole, which was jury-rigged with one screw and ducktape, albeit 3-feet shorter, to continue on under a kite. Next came the 2005 Transpac, which we won--Cruising B, A and Cruising II, plus the Navigator's Award. By now, jibing in the pitch-black of night, spin peels and blown up sails were ho-hum for me.

Oh, and at the same time in 2004/2005, we were concurrently running a Farr 40 program, boat was called 'Ohana (family in Hawaiian). Wally Cross was our main coach on 'Ohana, and suffice it to say, I was getting good. After 'Ohana left the lake, I transitioned to the Farr 40 Iskra and we won Boat of the Year in 2006.

So Far has since semi-retired and is enjoying her days in NZ right now, and Larry plans on another season down under then off to S.A.? The contacts I made sailing with Larry have continued my upwards climb as a Cat-1 bowman, and I have raced with several different programs around the planet. Lots of time in Acapulco (Antonio Elias' Ole and Ole 38) with the IORs down there, I am bowman on Celeritas, NYYC Swan 42, and guest/coach on many other programs, both at home in Hawaii and on the mainland.

Look for me in Key West 2010 on a Melges 32...the newest addition to the Celeritas family. My crowning moment 'so far' is sailing with DC in June 2007 at Les Voiles d'Antibes on Cotton Blossom II. I have never seen such a helmsman/tactician as DC!

Looking for a Cat-1 bowman for a regatta or distance race? I'm 5'10" and my target weight for one-design is 158lbs. Eternal thanks to Larry--he gave me the world of yacht racing on a 'silver platter'.

M. Craddock

Oct 6, 2009, 11:20 AM

Views: 102293
Re: [Matthew Reid] Who was your sailing mentor?

I would say Bob Koll was very helpful to me in my development as a sailor.

Thomas Hartmann

Oct 6, 2009, 11:22 AM

Views: 102292
Re: [M. Craddock] Who was your sailing mentor?

David O'Hara was my sailing mentor. He is the base ranger at the Newport Sea Base, in Newport Beach, CA. You can call him a sailing bum, an old salt, a man of the sea. To me, he was my sailing inspiration. While his job at the Sea Base was to repair boats and engines, and maintain the facility, he took it upon himself to teach racing to a bunch of teenagers on weekday nights and countless weekends. Many of us worked as camp counselors at the Sea Base and after work we would rig the few hand-me-down race boats we would acquire over the years, from a J-24, Santana 20, Ranger 23, Cal 25, and a Schock 35, and head out to the Beer Cans, Summer Hibachis, and Tuesday Twilights.

I started racing with Dave when I was 14, the first racing I'd ever done, and was instantly hooked. By the time I was 16, he'd taught me enough and felt confident to turn over the tiller to me and a few others during those races and coached us into decent helmsmen. After a few years of tutelage under Dave, in 1998, our core group took 2nd Place in our division at the PHRF Championships, finished no worse than second place in all our Beer Can races, and posted top 3 finishes in many offshore races. Soon, Dave began racing with newer 'students' and us older sailors began racing by ourselves against the big boys. We eventually tackled Newport to Ensenada, Long Beach Race Week, Crew of 2 Around Catalina (with one team, ages 16 and 17, in the Ranger 23, winning their division).

Not only did Dave teach us how to race, but he taught us about life, showed us the love and passion for sailing and simply being on the water. Even the ins and outs of a vasectomy.

Having only taken a one week sailing class when I was 9 years old, I gained enough knowledge and experience thanks to Dave to race collegiately at the varsity level and became a team captain. I now do my part to teach a younger generation about sailing, as well. Another of our core group went on to the U.S. Naval Academy and joined the offshore racing and dinghy teams. One went out and created the Chapman University sailing team from scratch. Another began a career at a major sail maker. The close-knit group he helped create lead to another great relationship; the one with my now wife, who back then simply loved being the 'skirt' on the foredeck and making cookies for the teams when we raced offshore. I cannot thank Dave enough for all the time he spent with a bunch of teenagers and young adults. The Newport Sea Base eventually sold off its racing keel boats to help buy a fleet of dinghies, much to the pleasure of all our competitors who no longer had to keep losing to a bunch of Boy Scouts.

Peter Macdonald

Oct 6, 2009, 11:24 AM

Views: 102290
Re: [Thomas Hartmann] Who was your sailing mentor?

Mark Gaudio was a mentor to my son. My son was stumbling along not getting excited in the sailing , frustrated by the system. I asked Mark if my son Tyler could sail with a group of kids he was coaching. Tyler had a blast. Within that group and others who joined in over the next two years he developed friendships. It also lit a fire that has continued to burn. Many, if not all of his buddies in that group forged friendships and respect of other.

I thank Mark for being a coach, big brother, and mentor that has led so many kids along the path of friendship fun and competition. It is a brotherhood of good will and spirit. It is Corinthian behavior; it is sailing.

The Publisher

Oct 6, 2009, 1:18 PM

Views: 102281
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

In Reply To
In the book ‘Saving Sailing’, author Nick Hayes illustrates how valuable mentoring is to the growth of sailing. Unlike a personal coach, a mentor is typically not paid, but is someone of valuable experience that has taken a personal interest in his or her apprentice. The relationship is deeper, and the rewards are greater. However, Hayes also points out that mentoring has largely disappeared from the activity of sailing.

Did you have a mentor that helped you in the sport? Was there someone that took you under their wing to open your eyes a little wider, and increase your emotional attachment to the sport? Scuttlebutt advertiser Ocean Racing would like to recognize these mentors, and raffle off three Optimum Time watches to anyone who posts who their mentor was.

Please reply to this post with the who, when, where, and why.


Be sure to log-in, then click on reply (upper right corner) to submit your post. Raffle will be held October 6, 2009 (noon PT).

Optimum Time Sailing Watches; New Models Now In Stock
Whether it’s fall sailing, college racing or just a head-start on holiday gifts for sailors on your list, your timing is perfect! Our watches include easy-to-read displays, pre-programmed 5,4,1,0 ISAF start sequences, loud audible alerts, are shock and water resistant, include one year warrantees plus easy to understand manuals.

Thank you for all the contributions. My formative years occurred in Marina del Rey, CA where I was introduced to sailing through my parents at California Yacht Club. We had a Cal 25, and I can recall my dad providing steering tips on the long sail each summer to Catalina Island. Being introduced to both dinghy sailing and keelboat sailing opened so many doors for me as a teenager. Early on it was Kimo Worthington, Bill & Tom Herrschaft, Tom Linskey, and countless others that opened my eyes to the sport, followed by Keith Dodson and Chris Raab, and later Greg Fisher and Mark Reynolds stretched them open even further. Great memories!

Congrats to these raffle winners:
6 -
20 -
33 -

peter radclyffe

Jan 8, 2010, 2:01 PM

Views: 100196
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?

i still have the reply letter chichester sent me
The First J Class Designs for 75 years


Feb 28, 2017, 12:08 AM

Views: 69396
Re: [The Publisher] Who was your sailing mentor?



Feb 28, 2017, 12:12 AM

Views: 69395
Re: [Kenn Batt] Who was your sailing mentor?