Monday, September 28, 2009

APS/Spinsheet October Racer Profile: Dave Askew


The following is the October APS Chesapeake Racer Profile, a monthy hi-light in Spinsheet Magazine (written by Molly Winans):

“I grew up sailing in predominantly light air, so sailing here wasn’t a big adjustment, just a bigger body of water,” says Annapolis sailor Dave Askew. A native of Grosse Pointe, MI, as a junior sailor, Askew sailed Lasers and FJs out of the “little sailing epicenter” of the Bayview YC (BYC) on the Detroit River. Whereas the stereotypical little-league-style yacht club parent wants his kids to win, Askew’s dad had different motives. He knew that if he hooked his three sons into sailing, they would be employable.

“Through high school and college, I spent my summers working on boats and then running race boats,” says Askew, who graduated from the University of Michigan. “I didn’t do collegiate sailing—I went straight to big boats. It was my meal ticket. I put myself through college on loans and running boats.”

It was while hauling one such big boat that he noticed a certain Michigan marina manager’s daughter named Sandy, who later became his wife. I actually knew her brother Gary Snider first. He kept her hidden from me for a long time.”

The Askews moved to Annapolis in 1991, as the family chemical manufacturer had a plant in Baltimore at that time, and the Sailing Capital seemed like a natural fit. They live in the same Murray Hill home they considered temporary back then, now with their three daughters, Waverly (15), Ally (13), and Olivia (10).

In the 15 years before Annapolis (and then kids), Askew competed annually in the BYC Port Huron to Mackinac (which is up to a 254-nautical-milelong race, depending on the course) and the Chicago Mac (285 nautical miles), as well as racing in SORC, Cowes Race Week, Fastnet, 50-foot Worlds, One Ton North Americans, Canada’s Cup, San Francisco Big Boat Series, Newport-Bermuda, Block Island Race Week, and Key West Race
Week, among others.

Looking back, Askew is surprised at how much his racing slowed down while his daughters were younger, with his resume only reflecting a few Macs and Governor’s Cups for a few years. He’s made a respectable comeback. Starting in 2005 on his J/120 Flying Jenny V (named for Sandy’s mother, as were many of her dad’s boats), he’s taken many bullets at top regattas such as the Annapolis to Newport, Newport to Bermuda, and Annapolis to Bermuda Races.

In 2008, his J/122 Flying Jenny VI crew won the Onion Patch series (a cumulative award for the NYYC Annual, Newport to Bermuda, and Royal Bermuda YC Anniversary Regattas). In 2009, his all-star crew won the Annapolis to Newport Race—with memorable dolphin, whale, and turtle sightings along the way. Flying Jenny VI also took second at Block Island Race Week and thirds in the NYYC Annual and Larchmont NOOD Regattas. At the time of print, the crew was headed to American YC in Rye, NY for the J/122 East Coast Championships.

SpinSheet: Who are your sailing mentors?
Bill Martin and Gary Jobson are two who helped me to understand there’s a whole industry out there and to step up my game in big boat offshore racing.

Who are your best sailing buddies?
Jonathan Bartlett, Paul Murphy, Dave and Lyn Lattie, Sandy Askew, Gary Snider, and Peter Askew.

What is your top sailing memory from this summer?
Racing to Newport. It was the best crew I’ve ever sailed with. The women on the boat, Renee Mehl and Nicole Weaver, were the only two who could drive downwind in fog… I felt like we couldn’t lose. We had to win. And we did.

Do you have a favorite place on the Bay?
Oxford. There’s just something about that place. It’s like a throw-back.

Do you have any non-sailing passions?
We discovered skiing five years ago as a family and go to Snowbird and Alta in Utah. Last year, our family skied 30 days together with the parents skiing almost 50.

What sports do you follow?
Stock car racing.

Do you have a favorite watering hole on the Bay?
We like to take the family in the Whaler to Cantler’s Riverside Inn.

Do you have a routine the morning of a race?
I don’t like to just hop on a boat and go. I like to touch and feel everything, set up the computer, and touch all the sails. I get there an hour before everyone else and am always the last to leave.

What gear do you depend upon?
Henri Lloyd, Patagonia, Dubarry boots, and Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses.

Is there anything you haven’t achieved on the water you would like to?
The Transpac and Sydney-Hobart Races.

What is your advice to a young racing sailor?
Sail as much as possible—it’s a relationship activity. Don’t get stuck with any one group, especially if you’re not having fun or learning anything.

What’s up for 2010?
We’re trucking the boat to Detroit to do the Detroit NOOD, Port Huron Mac, Chicago Mac, and Harbor Springs Races.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hands On: Patagonia Nano Puff™ Jacket


New from the good folks at Patagonia is the Nano Puff™ Pullover. It's a super lightweight, super warm insulation layer that's perfect for your inshore or offshore gear bag -- especially when keeping excess weight down is important. It is available in both men's (left) and women's (right) styles in some very fashionable colors with exotic names like Golden Palm and Green Oasis.

The Nano Puff™ is a loft insulation piece suitable as either a middle or outer layer, depending on the conditions. It has a polyester shell that is coated with Patagonia's DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating, allowing it to shed light rainfall & spray and block the wind.

The small rectangles (men's) or diamonds (women's) sewn into the pullover keep the insulation evenly distributed while the inner lining has a smooth face to make it easy to get on or remove. The insulation is made with 60g PrimaLoft® One that, unlike down insulation, will keep you warm even when it's wet. In fact, one of the big selling points for PrimaLoft One is that it absorbs three times less water, is 14% warmer when dry and is 24% warmer when wet than comparable types of insulation.

Since it's a key feature of this pullover, I'd like to elaborate on a term that I used earlier: "loft insulation". While it's less common in the marine marketplace, loft insulation offers advantages over more traditional pile fleece layering pieces. Instead of relying on bulk and weight for warmth, loft insulation works by creating an area of warm air between you and the shell of the jacket, which consequentially keeps you warm. This difference in creating warmth allows loft insulation jackets to be much lighter and more compressible than fleece of equivalent warmth.

The Good

Like I said earlier, this is a great warm layer that blocks wind and spray, performs when wet and is ultra-packable. It's really a must-have for offshore jaunts when space matters and will help you win points with a skipper that gets all flustered about the weight of your gear bag.


Illustrating the ultra-packability, a convenient feature of the Nano Puff™ is that it packs into it's own pocket, making a nice little carrying pouch. This is the perfect feature when you're on a long windward leg and all you get in response to asking someone to go down below and get your jacket is a few choice four letter words. It can easily be stowed in a cockpit pocket next to the winch handles or you can simply clip the pouch on to your belt loop (ignoring that it'll probably hit the guy next to you in the face when you're crossing during a tack) -- either way, you have your insulation ready at hand if you start to get cold.


One of the features I appreciate most about the Nano Puff™ is it's simplicity. There's no unnecessary features here - a bit of elastic at the wrists and waist to keep the jacket in place and only the single chest pocket.

Another nice feature of the jacket is that the outer shell is very smooth which allows it to slide easily under outer layers - more so than fleece mid-layers. Despite sporting a DWR coated shell, this pullover is very soft, making it comfortable to wear on cold deliveries or just sitting around the boat park as the sun is going down.

The Bad

The Nano Puff™ is not necessarily going to be the best insulation for super wet sailing. While the PrimaLoft® will still keep you warm when it's wet, if you're getting fire hosed the pullover will tend to stick close to you and the loft really isn't going to be able to do it's job properly. For these conditions on a dinghy or super wet keelboat, you'd be better off with fleece.

Also, the shell of the jacket really isn't built to stand up to the rigors of scrapping rigs & shrouds and sliding along non-skid decks on a long term basis. The marine environment, especially when racing, can be harsh -- this is why trousers and shorts have Cordura (or similar) reinforcements and jackets/smocks are made with hard wearing exteriors. While the Nano Puff™ can surely be worn as an outer layer on land and while cruising/motoring/informally club racing, I would advise a spray top or jacket to be warn over it when you are moving around the boat under racing conditions to prevent a tear from an offending screw head or cotter pin.

Conclusions

At $150.00 the Nano Puff™ is buy no means a bargain, but it is reasonably priced when you consider its versatility. It kind of stands alone in the marine marketplace when you consider its warmth, water/wind shedding and pacakability and makes a great addition to any sailors gear bag. While it's probably not the best thing for dingies or boats where you are getting wet all the time, it does have tremendous crossover applications for other sports and activities -- anything from walking around town to skiing in Wyoming. At the end of the day, I mostly sail dinghies and probably will stick with fleece, but I'd recommend this to keelboat/offshore sailors when paired with an outer shell.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where's the Bow?

Scows have always been a bit of a mystery to me. Though I've been told there was once an E-Scow fleet in town we don't have any here in Annapolis anymore. Since neither I nor Rob had ever sailed a Scow of any kind when the opportunity came up to go sail E-Scow Nationals with our co-worker Mike and his regular skipper Chris we jumped at the opportunity.

Last weekend we all jumped on a plane and went out to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the three day regatta held on Lake Winnebago. With 46 boats attending the regatta including many top sailors the event had a great turnout competitor-wise. Unfortunately, the weather was not all that cooperative and the wind did not make much of an appearance resulting in only 3 races being sailed rather than the scheduled 9. Tom Burton from Minnetonka Yacht Club won the regatta with a strong showing followed by Sam Rogers and Vincent Porter.

We arrived in Oshkosh Thursday morning and got the boat all set up to go out racing. We checked things over to make sure everything looked ok but didn't inspect everything as carefully as we should have which we learned later on. With racing postponed for most of the day we finally hit the water late in the afternoon for a 5:20 start. Unfortunately, we barely had a chance to get a feel for what racing E-Scows is all about as we broke our forestay about 2 minutes into the race.

Obviously, the strong lesson here is to inspect your rig carefully each time you put it up and down. We think the forestay (which is attached at the top with a t-ball fitting) was probably a little sideways in the mast resulting in the breakage. Thanks to some help from the boys at Melges we were able to get a new forestay the next morning to continue racing.

Friday dawned to a hint of a breeze so we all got out on the water good and early and did a number of starts that were all blown off due to shifty dying breeze. Eventually, we ended up drifting back into shore and did some more sitting around waiting for wind. The team kept busy though, working diligently to make those extra go fast tweaks as you can see in the picture below. Rob, Mike and I were also able to hone our football and life skills - Rob can almost throw a spiral now, Mike can almost back up a trailer, and I still can't make small talk with the ladies.

Friday evening we did get two races in around 4:30. We raced in a building breeze that ended up I think around 10-12 kts. We had a good start and a solid first leg in the second race but unfortunately found ourselves slipping back from then on. The fleet was very strong and full of sailors who have been racing E Scows for a long time and we found ourselves a bit humbled unable to find the gears.

One hi-light was that we did hit around 13.5 kts according to our Velocitek on the first downwind. It's a very unusual feeling to be going that fast and have it feel so manageable - the boat feels like most keelboats feel when they're going 4 kts and you look down and see you're in double digits of boat speed. I can understand why the class is so popular.


Saturday was also a light air day and another fickle forecast they canceled racing around 11:00am so everyone could get packed up early. All of the postponments did allow us to walk around and meet some people in the boat park as well as take a lot of pictures of boats. We saw a lot of different setups and some people with really interesting ideas and I know we're all excited to be able to have more first hand experience to offer our E Scow customers.

Thanks to all those who answered our questions and let us take pictures of their boats. The E Scows fleet was a great group to hang out with and I know Rob, Mike and I all had a lot of fun at the regatta and are looking forward to our next one.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hands On: Learn The Racing Rules with David Dellenbaugh DVD

I love tight mark roundings and crowded starting lines.

Love em.

Many, many affections.

Why? Because inside all of the nonsensical, humorously absurd yelling and "you're number one" references is usually a delicious layer of horribly inaccurate racing rules. Seriously, the unintentional comedy during these shouting matches is simply off the charts and should be pitched to FOX as a reality show (since they'll obviously put anything on TV).

This isn't to say that I've never raised my voice on the race course (I have...) or been wrong with the interpretation of a rule (I've seen the inside of protest room once or twice). But with all of the aids that are out there to help you understand the rules, there really wasn't much of an excuse for it.

When you consider that there are books out there like Dave Perry's or Paul Elvstrom's and the average human spends about 18 days a year on the toilet, it's hard to make an argument that you don't have the time...

But the larger of those books is over 350 pages; that's a lot to digest, all that time in the throne room aside. This is why I was kind of excited when I was looking at our Hot New Item this week, the newest version of "Learning the Racing Rules with David Dellenbaugh". This is a 2-DVD set put together by North U. and US Sailing that features, shockingly enough, Dave Dellenbaugh.

For those of you that haven't heard the name before, Dave Dellenbaugh is basically a rules deity here in the US. He is a member of the US Racing Rules Committee and was its chairman while the committee was working on the 2009-2012 Racing Rules of Sailing. So yeah, the guy who lead the committee writing the rules is your host... talk about straight from the horse's mouth.

The Good
Not to get too gushy, but there wasn't much that didn't qualify as "The Good".

There are two DVD's that make up this set. The first disk deals with right-of-way rules and their limitations, covering:
- Basic Principles
- Preamble to Part 2
- Section A (Right of Way): Rules 10 - 13
- Section B (General Limitations): Rules 14 - 17
- Other Rules of Note: Rule 21, Rule 23, Rule 28, Rule 31 and Rule 44

The second disk deals with rules that apply at marks and obstructions, covering:
- Section C: At Marks and Obstructions
- Rule 18: Covering subsections 18.1 - 18.5
- Rule 19: Covering subsections 19.1 and 19.2
- Rule 20: Covering subsections 20.1 - 20.3
- Definitions: Clear Astern and Clear Ahead, Overlap, Mark, Obstruction, Fetching, Mark-Room and Zone


Lest you think that both disks do a quick gloss over of these rules, each disk comes in at about an hour and ten minutes. Each rule starts off with the full text of the rule appearing on the screen, with a narrator reading it aloud. Dave then comes on the screen and starts into a detailed explanation.


The explanations are provided by Dave's narration and a series of different video clips from actual racing, computer generated animations or still images that did a phenomenal job of very clearly illustrating the situation.


Occasionally, when it pertains, Dave also brings in common situations that occur with the rule being discussed, even going as far as to bring ISAF and US Sailing cases in for additional support.


The Bad
I'm usually pretty good at finding little things to poke fun at. I really had a hard time here...

Really, there isn't much to criticize -- the DVD's are by far the most interactive and lively way of learning the rules of the road. If anything, it throws a lot of information at you and it can sometimes be difficult to hear, process and understand everything that is being said. Granted, this is only a problem for those of you with DVD players that have lost the rewind button, but it bears mentioning that you'd probably do well to bring a pencil, paper, rule book, adult beverage and DVD remote with fresh batteries with you when sitting down to tackle these DVD's.

I guess you could argue that the title of the DVD is a little deceiving. The DVD's clearly don't cover all of the rules, but they do touch on all of the most commonly used (and abused) rules. Plus, the DVD set would probably cost like $200.00 and poor David wouldn't have a voice left if they tried to review the whole book.

Oh, Dave does shamelessly position a picture of him and (presumably) his family next to the America's Cup when he was the helmsman of the 1992 winner, America3.

"Look at me, I just helmed the boat that won the oldest active trophy in international sport."

Right... like I wouldn't immediately have that picture of me with the America's Cup tattooed on my back, only to be occasionally covered up by one of those mall photo shirts that has the exact same photo in the exact same place. Just guessing here, but I'd also walk up to complete strangers in the middle of the street and show the photo to them and randomly sign any of their belongings (including, but not limited to, newborn babies and signed Honus Wagner baseball cards) because, well, I won the America's Cup and they haven't.

Good on ya.

Conclusion:
This is a really strong DVD. Really strong. I've skimmed or read most of the books that have come through the shop about rules and these DVD's, while not as complete, were far easier to digest.

Really and truly (scout's honor): I don't know of any non-professionals that couldn't benefit from watching these DVD's. And I can think of a few professionals that could benefit too.

Never Forget


We pause to honor the heroism that sprang from the tragedy of that horrible day and thank those among us in uniform who provide protection to our way of life.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Safety Tethers - Never Leave the Cockpit Without One



Tethers are one of those things that you probably don't think about until a couple days before you leave for that once a year offshore race. Depending on how far offshore it is maybe you decide you don't really need it or maybe you run out and buy the cheapest one you can find. Any tether is better than no tether, but your tether is what keeps you on the boat and it's worthy of spending a little extra time looking for the right one for you.

At APS we stock two brands of tethers - Spinlock and Wichard. They are both top of the line tethers and each has its own strengths. I spoke with representatives of both manufacturers about their tethers and I've also offered some suggestions about proper tether use and safety.

Full disclosure dictates that I tell you that I did not actually test these tethers on the water - these opinions are based solely on taking a close look at the products and speaking with the manufacturers.

Wichard Tethers:

The two Wichard tethers we offer are both ORC approved. They make a straight 2 meter long snap shackle to clip tether that has elastic in the webbing that reduces it's length when loose to 1 meter.. They also offer a 3 clip version with a snap shackle and webbing that spits to one elastic piece and one straight piece with clips on both.

The Good

The Wichard tethers all have built in overload indicators that meet ORC regulations. I asked Greg Williams, Technical Service Advisor at Wichard about the overload indicator and how it works:

You can recognize [the overload indicator] from the shrink tubing around the indicator. It works by the following: a shock load or static load exceeding that of 500lbs (a EN standard) the load-indicating stitching releases and exposes a small sown flag. The tether has not broken nor have the shackles. It only means that the load of this indicator stitching has at one time or another, at least for a moment, been exceeded. For some history, I and no one here at Wichard, Inc. has ever had a tether’s indicator exceeded this limit.

The Wichard tethers have locking clips for the boat end connection - basically you have to squeeze the back of the clip together with the front before it will open - it's part of the natural motion of opening the clip so it's no harder to do than without the lock. This prevents it from accidentally detaching itself by twisting it's attachment point and is a key safety feature to have on a tether.

The Bad
Depending on who you talk to having a snap shackle harness attachment may or may not be a great thing. Obviously the idea is that it provides a quick & easy way to disconnect if you fall overboard and get dragged by the boat. I've seen some information that suggests that it's easy to disconnect and spoken with other people who say it can actually be very difficult under load. My personal take on it is it's not a sure thing that you'll be able to open it depending on how fast the boat is going so carrying a knife is a must.

The Wichard tethers are pretty pricey as well and I expect much of this cost increase is due to the snap shackle. The snap shackle definitely results in a heavier tether than the Spinlock race versions if weight is a concern.

Conclusions

The Wichard tethers are the only ones out there that are ORC approved. They are well made and Wichard has been in the tether game for a while so they're a known, quality product. Whether or not the snap shackle is easy to release if you're pulled by the boat isn't in my opinion all that significant - you should carry a knife anyways and being able to release without cutting it is just an extra bonus.

Spinlock Deckware Safety Lines

Spinlock offers several options in their tethers (they call them safety lines). They have two versions - the standard (shown above) and the race and both offer straight 2-clip as well as the split 3-clip versions. They have the same sort of elastic webbing as the Wichard on some of the models to reduce the length from 2m to 1m when not loaded.

The Spinlock safety lines have locking clips at all ends in the standard version while the race version has a cow hitch or luggage tag loop style harness attachment. You attach it by putting the loop through the harness and then passing the tether through the loop. As well as overload indicators that function similarly to the Wichard tethers and trips over 500 kgs of load.


What makes the race version (shown above) so racey? For starters it has thinner webbing. The standard tethers have 25mm webbing (black to the right) while the race version is only 16mm which offers a 28% weight savings. The race version also offers a lighter clip end than the standard style in addition to eliminating the harness clip in favor of the cow hitch to save more weight. The race tether webbing also has a waterproof coating to reduce extra weight from water absorption.
Note: the standard version is still available in the short term with a cow hitch end but expect to see the stock we have hitting the sale rack in the near future.

The Good

The Spinlock tethers are lightweight. The race versions in particular are obviously made with the weight conscious sailor in mind. They also look pretty cool, and if I'm going to drown being dragged behind a boat doing 12 kts I'd like to at least look good doing it, so that's a plus.

None of the Spinlock tethers have snap shackles, but as I mentioned above I think that a snap shackle is not a certain means of release under loads and you really must carry a knife with you regardless. The cow hitch harness attachment reduces weight, eliminates any risk of accidental release and keeps clunky metal shackles from getting in your way when working on deck.

Spinlock also sells a safety knife for cutting yourself loose. It's a nice option that will keep you from accidentally cutting your fingers off as you frantically try to cut yourself free. That being said - I wouldn't go offshore without a real knife where I can reach it in addition to the safety knife.

The Bad

I found the locking clip on the Spinlock tethers to be a little more difficult to operate than the Wichard. With some practice I could open it with ease but it definitely took a little bit to figure out what the best way to open it with each hand was.

The lack of a snap shackle or any shackle on the race version to attach to your harness might not work for everyone. I find it to be an improvement but some mind find it to be the opposite. The upside is that you can attach the cow hitch to any shackle you want if that's what you prefer.

Conclusion

Spinlock has really dived into their Deckware line over the last few years. Their harnesses and life jackets are top notch. These tethers are no exception and I think they really provide a great option for offshore racing. The lightweight race tethers are perfect for the hardcore racers - if you're going to cut your toothbrush in half why wouldn't you try to reduce weight everywhere else.

Tether Use

Now that you know what your options are and you get yourself a tether it's important to use it properly. Just like the life jacket that won't keep you afloat if you're not wearing it your tether won't keep you on the boat if it's down below. There are plenty of stories to go around that teach us that wearing the tether is a must offshore in any kind of situation where there's a risk of going overboard.

Before you even get offshore there are some considerations to remember to help your tether do it's job of keeping you on the boat. Tethers, per regulations, are a maximum of 2 meters long, which means that if you get washed down the boat and the tether catches you it has to do so 6 ft forward of the stern or it's still not going to keep you on board. Proper installation of jacklines and clip-in points in the cockpit is essential. You should always make sure that if your tether is maxed out it will still keep you from going over the transom.

Proper care and maintenance of tethers is important just like it is for every other piece of hardware and gear you own. You should rinse them after use and make sure they're stored in a dry place.

Wrap it Up Already

Tethers are an important thing to consider before any offshore race or trip. There are lots of choices out there and both the Wichard and Spinlock tethers we carry are great options. I think the Spinlock is definitely the way to go for serious offshore racing due to it's reduced weight and straight forward cow hitch harness attachment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

APS/Spinsheet September Racer Profile: K.B. Berry


The following is the September APS Chesapeake Racer Profile, a monthy hi-light in Spinsheet Magazine (written by Molly Winans):
If you think the idea of a 10-year-old kid stealing a Sunfish for a ride, getting caught, and then charming the boat’s owner into teaching him to sail on a Midwestern reservoir sounds far fetched, you’ve never met Kristen “K.B.” Berry. An Indiana native, Berry came into sailing through a burning desire and the public library system. “Every spring,I caught the sailing bug, even though no one in my family could sail. In my family, if you had a dream, you researched it. My dad took me to the library, and I read every book there was on sailing.”

Through college at Indiana University in the mid-1990s, Berry bounced back and forth between his studies in the Midwest and working for political campaigns in Washington, DC. During those years and afterwards mostly living in DC and still working in politics—doing lobbying, communications, and conservation work—he connected to the DC sailing scene and began coaching. He also lived aboard a Catalina
27 for a few years, which wasn’t as difficult as it may sound because he was seldom “home” in between work travels.

In 2003, he started teaching part-time for J/World Annapolis. Berry says, “From the first time I coached there, I knew that was what I wanted to do.” He has coached J/World corporate teambuilding groups, taught racing and fundamental sailing, and run winter seminars both in Annapolis and in Key West and St. Petersburg, FL during regattas. He credits his J/World friends for “coaxing him away from his political life in DC” and into his sailing life.

In 2007, Berry launched his own coaching company, Gale Force Sailing, now based in Annapolis, which he runs in tandem with his continued J/World work. He’s competed and coached aboard J/105, J/22,J/80, J/24, J/35, Melges, and many other fleets. Although he’s proud of having placed fourth in the 2007 J/80 North American Championships with Jahn Tihansky, Dan Wittig, and Jeff Jordan in 2007, he says, “I see myself as a professional sailing educator rather than a pro sailor. My goal is to give the gift of a moment, an experience, to other sailors.”

Last year, Berry became the commodore of the Ocean Conservation YC (ocyc.oceana.org), a group for which he tripled his fundraising goal and successfully competed in the Nautica New York City Triathlon July 18. “I’ve been an environmental advocate my whole life, and it’s always found its way into my life at all levels,” he says.

At the time of print, Berry was in Chester, Nova Scotia, where he likes to ride out the summer heat in July and August, acting as an arbitrator for Chester Race Week, the oldest regatta in North America, and sailing in a fleet of 26 Bluenoses (23-foot wooden sloops). He’ll be back for fall racing on the Chesapeake Bay and the winter Florida circuit.

SpinSheet: Who were your sailing mentors?
My parents, who showed me where the library was; Jahn Tihanksy; and Joni Palmer, who showed me how to be professional in sailing.

Who are your best sailing buddies?
Tim Adelman, Dan Wittig, Jeff Jordan, Grady Byus, Aaron Galvin, and my clients—love them all.

Is there a place on the Bay that makes you think, “This is why I live here”?
I love to sit at Hemingway’s on the Eastern Shore on a Sunday night and watch all that Bay Bridge traffic fight its way back to the real world. There always seems to be a storm cloud creating a dramatic sky.

Do you have a routine the morning of a race?
I get up as early as possible and develop a weather strategy. I drink a cup of coffee and envision what I’d do with the absence of other boats—if it were a time trial and not a boxing match, based on the forecast. Then I do a short yoga routine to stretch, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

What sports teams do you follow?
I’m a Washington Nationals and Redskins fan. Having lived mostly in DC from 1994 to 2009, I still love the teams. I like rooting for the underdogs. And I still love my Indiana Hoosier basketball teams.

What were your latest iTunes downloads?
Michael Franti, Bob Schneider, and Charlie Mars.

What sailing gear do you depend on?
I am a Patagonia lover from socks to smocks. For my coaching, I use my Nikon D40 camera, a Flip video camera, my Timex watch, a waterproof notebook from Write in the Rain, and my Leatherman Wave.

What advice would you give a young racing sailor?
Show up and smile. Watch, listen, and be willing to do anything. Don’t oversell your abilities. When the chance comes along, ask if you can try something.