Sunday, June 12, 2011

As Vibrant as Ever

On Saturday, Brooke and I were lucky enough to help coach at a racing clinic at Community Boating Inc., of Boston, Massachusetts. 

For many New England sailors, this particular stretch of the Charles River, and the facility that has stood there for 65 years, is hallowed ground. CBI can be accurately described as the grandaddy of community sailing programs in the United States. Every year, over 2,000 junior sailors, and 3,000 adults, enjoy a large variety of classes, racing and exploring around the river basin and Boston Harbor. 

Bringing the sport of sailing to people of all cultural, social, and economic backgrounds is an admirable goal, and one that many programs aspire to acheive. However, few (if any) organizations can match the record of CBI in terms of longevity, passion, and numbers. 

All of this was on display on an admittedly gloomy day in Boston. With cold rain pouring down, Brooke and I were somewhat nervous that fifteen teenagers would actually show up in the bad weather and be ready to learn. 

As it turns out, we didn't have to worry at all.

Not only did they show up, but the kids blew us away with their enthusiasm. There was immediately a line to get onboard our O'pen Bics. The sailors who opted for 420's instead were rigged and ready to go in under twenty minutes. After launching, many started practicing their boathandling skills without being prompted or directed. Kids with this kind of attitude always serve as a reminder of why one gets into coaching in the first place. 

Clearly, they have discovered some kind of magic ingredient for igniting a love of sailing here at CBI, and have been readily serving it up since the Truman administration (And informally since the 1930's!). This was my first chance to see it for myself, and I came away pretty impressed. 

From what I can tell, all indications point to another 70 years of great sailing taking place along Storrow Drive in Boston.


Next stop: Portland!

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