The following is the July APS Chesapeake Racer Profile, a monthly hi-light in Spinsheet Magazine (written by Molly Winans):
When the idea of celebrating a milestone in Southern Bay sailor Lin McCarthy’s life started to circulate among her friends, most of them made the same statements. “We have to do something for her,” and, “Lin is going to kill you.”
Did you ever notice how some people who efficiently get things done in life retreat from the spotlight? Allow us to re-introduce you to Lin “Gets Things Done” McCarthy, who is a sailor, sailing writer, race committee member, racing clinic organizer, and APS Chesapeake Racer Profile alumna, along with her husband John, from SpinSheet’s November 2007 issue. McCarthy is the author of the subscription e-mail newsletter Southern Bay Racing News You Can Use (SBRNYCU), the source for Southern Bay Racing news—even for SpinSheet’s editors. The first week of July marks the newsletter’s 500th edition.
The McCarthys met at William and Mary College, married, moved to Rocky Mount, NC (where John was head basketball coach, the winningest on record at North Carolina Wesleyan), and then in 1985, to the Tidewater area. Their sailing addiction started in dinghies at the Norfolk Naval Base and led to a Hunter 28.5 called Ulysses, which they raced hard and successfully for five years, logging 100 races per year. “We were looking for a sport we could do together, as a couple,” says John. “Sailing, then racing, was an immediate connection.” In the early 1990s, the couple purchased Sugar Bear, a J/33, in which they raced just as successfully.
Due to back troubles, John had to retire from racing in the early 2000s, a tough decision for a racing-crazy couple, and they eventually sold their beloved Sugar Bear. To dive headlong into race management was natural for the couple, who have become just as passionate about making sure others enjoy the racing experience as they did themselves. They are fully engaged in all levels of race management on the Southern Bay (and at the Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge), including organizing and running the Murphy Clinic, a tremendously successful program for new and inexperienced racers.
One of Lin’s Southern Bay friends and race committee team members, Kathy Barber, says, “Lin is always upbeat, even at 3 o’clock in the morning waiting for the Down the Bay Race Boats to show up. She remembers everyone’s name. She always has a smile. We all are aware that without her, it would take 10 of us to do half the job she does. Nobody is as organized. We owe the calendar of racing to her; without her starting that process and her e-mails in September, most of us would be oblivious to when races are… She is not going to be pleased that we are trying to recognize her. She is only really happy when things go well, and she can fade into the background. She is the heart, the soul, and the backbone of all we do in the area and for that, we owe her and should recognize her. She epitomizes the Corinthian spirit in our sport.”
Here is what some other Southern Bay sailors have to say about Lin:
“On or off the water, there is no better advocate for Southern Bay sailing or sailors than Lin.”
~Dan, Sam and Brett Winters, Winters Sail Loft
“The quote I have heard most often from Lin is, ‘Here, let me get that for you.’ Lin is among the most cheerful, levelheaded, energetic, and competent people I have ever met. From SBRNYCU to acting as Region IV Sanctioning Officer to being John’s sounding board and confidante, she does it all—yet graciously. For her efforts, we’re truly indebted.”
~ John Ritter, Race Committee Team
“Lin McCarthy has been the best friend that sailing in the Chesapeake Bay and other venues has ever had. She tirelessly gives of her time and talents preparing for races, serving on race committees, and reporting on local and other sailing events in the weekly newsletter she publishes and distributes through e-mail. She is approaching her 500th edition which is quite a feat.”
~Dick Boykin, Hampton YC
Congratulations on the 500th edition of SBRNYCU, Lin! Thank you for the passion you pour into our sport, for the many articles you’ve written over the years for SpinSheet (see pages 67 and 72), and for not killing your fellow race committee officers for celebrating your success behind your back.
SpinSheet: What do you wish more people knew about race committee work?
I wish racers where more aware of how much more work, thought, and energy goes into good race management than they see from their perspective. The days of wandering down to the yacht club, pulling out a few flags, and heading out to run the races, are long, long gone. Good race committee folk spend weeks preparing for regattas. The preperation goes on all through the off season, too. Once the RC is on the water, it is hard work with determination to keep things going smoothly in the right direction. To make all the right decisions, to deal with the unexpected, to have fair racing, and to do it right ain't all that easy. Just like racing a sailboat, you gotta work at it to be good at it.
What are your top three favorite regatta's?
Southern Bay Race Week, Screwpile Regatta, and Cape Charles Cup Regatta. Have raced multiple times in SBRW and Screwpile and now work on the race management side of all three. I love the racers who attend these events, and I love the special flavor of each event.
What gear do you depend on?
I love SLAM stuff. It's purely a "fashionista" thing. I have a foulie top and a SLAM duffle. I still have my Musto bibs (going on 15 years old), and I cannot wear them out-can't argue with that.
Why should Northern and Mid-Bay sailors make plans to race in Hampton?
A lot of racers from north of the Southern Chesapeake are amazed when they come here by how beautiful it is, how much space we have in which to race, and how friendly the people are, racers and non-racers. We really do believe Southern Hospitality is real, and everyone seems determined to prove it to visitors. It's a really good reason to come. Oh, and we can and do race sailboats with a passion.