Showing posts from January, 2019

Consumerism in America

Alex and I sailed away from the US 11 years ago - amazing. We've been back for short stints to visit family but not for prolonged periods. We've always been amazed at how much things change in a short period of time - cars, tolls, supermarkets, shops, technology all march along at a rapidly increasing pace. But this time, I've been here for three weeks and I've become acutely aware of one major difference since I left - massive consumerism. I didn't think it could get more acute than it was but it certainly has.

I've been amazed by the availability of goods in stores (Wegemans, CVS) and the quantity of stuff people buy. I am also astounded by what people throw away, just because something new becomes available. Yet all profess to be environmentally conscious.

I believe that everyone should be made to live on a boat for at least a month. Once you shlep all the ingredients, discard all the packaging and figure out what to do with the refuse, you take on a differ…

Keeping kids in sailing

Yesterday I made a prediction that the next generation of sailors is already in the making through the effects of the new Disney classic Moana. I also made a plea not to turn kids off when they show up to sail training by forcing them into racing.

Today, I am going to continue to expand on my writings about the shortcomings of how sailing is taught for the most part in sailing clubs around the world. In 2015, I wrote a piece for Yachting World about how making sailing programmes fun can help keep more kids sailing. I'd written similar pieces for magazines on both sides of the Atlantic before that. It's sadly not a localised problem. Somehow, we've allowed racing to define sailing.

Last month, a series in Scuttlebutt tackled the issue of keeping kids in sailing and gave several great examples of how some clubs have managed to increase retention significantly through "Adventure Sailing" programmes. Can it be true? Is the concept catching on?

I'll start with my…

Moana inspires a new generation of sailors

I have a theory based on my grandnephew Ziggy's propensity to navigate the seas to Te Fiti, the legendary island from which the demi-god Maui stole the heart gemstone. Ziggy gets in his boat (a cardboard box with a noodle mast) and uses his oar (a plastic shovel) to navigate to the place where the sky meets the sea. Ziggy is not quite three years old. We haven't figured out a sail yet but he wants the sheets to pull on like Moana does in the movie. The entire time  we are 'sailing' he sings the last two lines of the refrain in an indistinguishable language ad nauseum until he reaches the far shore.

When we reach the destination (I am his navigator but he says I can't be because I'm Nana not an alligator!), we get into the dinghy (a wooden box) and I have to paddle ashore and beach the boat. Then Ziggy has to run around the island searching for the place where the heart fits before we set off and do it again.

Half the time he tells me I'm doing it wrong. Wh…