This past Monday we posted a story about Karen Swezey who, after winning a T-shirt from Latitude 38, let us know she’d started her sailing life while young aboard a family Sunfish in the South Bay. Not surprisingly this was not an uncommon way to start. Several readers, including Bill Crowley of the Newport 30 Erewhon, wrote in to let us know about their small boat start.
Bill wrote, "Do you consider 59 to be young? That’s how old I was in 2003, when I took my first sailing class at Sailing Education Adventures, then in Sausalito, now in San Rafael, aboard their fleet of Catalina Capri 16.5 keelboats. In the fall of that same year, my wife Kathy and I began an annual ritual of spending two weeks each October at a Royal Resorts timeshare in Cancún, Mexico, where they maintain a fleet of Sunfish beach boats for the use of their members/guests. I’ve been sailing a lateen-rigged Sunfish every day for two weeks each fall ever since — except when the harbormaster prohibits use of recreational boats under 40-ft due to actual or expected high winds. In 2017, we had no Red Flag days!"
We never used to consider 59 young, but it’s sounding younger all the time. A young start on a small boat is a good start, but a start anytime is still a step up in life. The Sunfish has probably started millions of people sailing. The ones we heard from are still sailing as racers or long-distance cruisers, and, like Karen Swezey, who now lives aboard an Islander 36, are still avid fans of sailing. Was there a Sunfish in your life?
Bill followed up his email to us with this quote, "The difference between a power boater and a sailor: When a power boater steps aboard, he is in a hurry to get somewhere; when a sailor steps aboard, he’s already where he wants to be." (author unknown)