If I knew then, what I know now by Dave Rearick

Dave Rearick began sailing as a teenager on the shores of Lake Michigan. Follow Dave’s adventures leading up to his single-handed sailing Bodacious Dream around the world this fall at www.bodaciousdream.com & www.bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com

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I’ve said it, you’ve said it, everyone has said it at one time or another … but have any of us ever really considered what it means? Just imagine … if you DID know then what you know now? What if you knew about recycling, say back in 1960, or about sustainability when you were 12 or about global climate change in 1980, when you were just 9 years old?

In May, in between Atlantic Cup race legs, 11th Hour Racing and race organizers honored several of us skippers with the opportunity to spend a sunny afternoon in New York City and a drizzly one in Newport, RI with groups of school-aged kids, touching upon all sorts of things sailing and ocean-related. Suddenly, we found ourselves cast into a whirl of questions, laughter and boundless energy, sharing some of what we know “now” about the life we live and love, with kids today … of all ages, a sort of current day pool of “then.”

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BoDream’s co-skipper Matt Scharl lets the kids try on a PFD.

We watched 5 and 6 year olds giggling as they turned winches at the dock, 8 and 9 year olds visiting a harbor world in the very heart of their own city, that they probably didn’t know existed, 12 and 14 year olds tossing out questions as they sat on a Class 40 and listened to a skipper talk about sailing across an ocean or around the world. It provided us a special opportunity to share some of our experience – the mistakes, the rewards and the accomplishments with these open, fresh minds that might one day benefit from knowing some of what we know now in their years of “then.”

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Matt and Dave field some tough questions.

Of course, nothing can keep these kids from doing their own stumbling, but along the way … whatever touches them today, helps to shape their tomorrows, and perhaps some of what they saw and heard and did, may just stick with them.

It was a wonderful and empowering experience, one I’d not trade for anything. In the course of it, I optimistically hoped that the young girl who climbed all the way into the very front of the forepeak and wouldn’t come out until everyone was leaving, might one day grow to have just as much tenacity and confidence when backed into a tight spot negotiating an environmentally sensitive treaty … or that the group of seven kids, who joined with Sam Holiday, to try with all their might to win a tug-of-war contest against the turn of a winch powered by one small hand, might grow to remember how a group of people can stand up to and eventually hold back the inappropriately powerful turn of a bad industry. And the young girl, frightened to take that step from the dock to the boat, who looked down at debris floating in the water and asked, “What’s that stuff? Might she grow up instead to ask … “WHY that stuff?”

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Sam Holiday w/ some of the kids.

Though it seems all fun and whimsical when lively, giggling kids come bounding down the docks, it reminds me of the immense responsibility we have as adults when graced with these chances to help guide and share with young minds some of the knowledge (and more importantly, the wisdom) that we have gathered through our years that might possibly one day help to tip the scales for them in favor of the amazing future that awaits us all, if we learn to learn together.

“Education” is a hotly debated term these days … and as such, its future is questioned and argued daily, mostly by people who are neither students nor teachers. “Learning,” on the other hand, is personal and life-long. You may well use a smartphone, a tablet, an online course … not to mention a sailboat, to educate yourself about something, BUT the true test of what you learned will not be your test score as much as it will be the tangible gifts that a new skill or awareness brings to your life and to your relationships with others.

As sailors know only too well, we all learn from each other. We learn from each other at any age, and so we should try not to hesitate, but to reach out and share our experience … because wisdom, hard won, is one of life’s greatest gifts. But only when it’s shared, does its power to inspire and change become activated.

That seems to me to be the key to building the kind of world where we can learn to identify and solve problems together … because soon enough, we will sail beyond the horizon, and it will be these kids’ turn to be the voice of experience and to share their “now,” with another new generation being their “then.”

                 Life is a grand adventure,

                                               live it all,

                                                         live it always.

– Dave Rearick (Skipper of Bodacious Dream #118)

 

This Dragon is hungry for the Atlantic Cup by Rob Windsor

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Rob Windsor is an 11th Hour Racing ambassador.  When not sailing short-handed across the Atlantic, he enjoys relaxing at his home with his family in New York. 

Another Atlantic Cup has come and gone and it appears I will have to wait another year to go for the win in America’s Sailing Race.   I returned to the event for the 3rd time. This year sailing on Michael Hennessy’s Dragon. We had some flashes of brilliance and led both of the offshore legs for a bit. While we would have liked a different result, I felt the event was stellar.

Manuka Sports and 11th Hour Racing put forth a quality regatta including several new events at each stopover. Each were fun and exciting to be a part of. In Charleston I had the pleasure of speaking to CORA (Charleston Offshore Racing Association) at their annual meeting. It was great to see the excitement in the members about having a professional offshore event in their back yard. I also gave them a little story about Dragon’s experience on the last day of Charleston Race Week. We had a scary mishap that almost put us on the rocks. A harsh reminder to be aware of your surroundings and keep your head in the game. The group proceeded to talk about their own challenging experiences and the deep connection between sailors and predictably, unpredictable weather.

In NYC, we attended Living on the Edge, a panel of scientists, journalists and sailors, discussing the fate of our oceans and what we as sailors can do to facilitate change. I enjoyed this one the most; As an 11th hour ambassador and someone who makes a living on the ocean, it was nice to hear that there are proactive individuals and communities interested in protecting our waters

In Newport, we attended newportFILM‘s screening of The Last Ocean. A film about over fishing in Antarctica and what is being done to stop it. It was an eye-opening film, shining a light on the fact that we have obviously taken all we can from the rest of the sea if we are now headed to the end of the earth to find fish. It’s scary when you think about it that way and should act as a red flag to all of us.

In the end, the event was well run and competition was close. I will be chomping at the bit for the next 11 months waiting to get back to Charleston, SC for the start of the 2014 Atlantic Cup.
The Atlantic Cup

A Bottle A Day Keeps the Plastic Away: by Amy MacMillan

reusable water bottlesTraveling.  Most of us do this often. Sometimes it’s from the home to work, other times it’s a journey across the ocean.  Recently for me, it meant a road trip to Philadelphia to play a Real Tennis tournament.  Without going into great detail about the sport, I can tell you it’s a unique style of tennis that I play here in Newport.  With sports, hydration is paramount yet most people are turning to sports and energy drinks in stead of water.  9 Billion dollars worth this year alone!  So how does that relate to my little road trip to play tennis you ask?  Well I decided to really think about how I would consume my water, coffee and smoothies, (ok, beer too).   

Now, like most of you, I am busy.  I have kids, work, hobbies, bills, but I find that if I take the extra time to plan ahead and pack, even one bottle, I get a huge sense of satisfaction.  So, I packed three for this trip, (doesn’t hurt to triple my satisfaction right?).  One Hydro Flask for my coffee and two bottles from Liberty Bottleworks for my morning smoothie and daily water.  I hit the road, bottles in tow and set out to travel the distance while avoiding the purchase of any single use plastic bottles.

Racquet Club of PhiladelphiaOnce I arrived at the hotel I found there was really no reason for anyone to purchase bottled water.   They had ample filtered water available and so I refilled,  and refilled, and refilled.  Aside from the fact that I was sweating up a storm, I found that I drank much more than my daily requirements for water, (and possibly beer…) just by carrying my reusable bottle with me.

refillThis trip was an easy one.  All I had to do was pack some bottles and use the available resources.  Traveling by plane or staying a greater distance from the sports venue would have made this more challenging.  I hope that when presented with such a circumstance I can be resourceful and not rely on convenience.  It’s daily challenge and I know we are not all there yet.

plastic bottle My hope is that one day, all sports venues, schools, businesses and the rest, will have refill stations and the reliance on plastic will be nil.

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