Sunday, June 19, 2011

No Shoes, No Bathing Suit, No Problem

As a sailor who likes to run around barefoot, frequently forgets about sunscreen, and typically puts the smaller things aside to catch the moment, Oakcliff Sailing Center is the type of place I always want to stay. Different from a lot of yacht clubs or sailing centers, Oakcliff has struck the right balance between competitive racing in an environment that takes advantage of the moment.

Program Director Dawn Riley doesn't stop moving and working to make things happen and her energy spreads. The Friends of the Bay Regatta geared as a half-learning experience for intermediate or advanced sailors looking to race with friends on a competitive level. Lucky enough to be on Dawn's Swedish Match 40, it became clear Dawn's incredibly down to earth persona is similar to the Oakcliff mentality.

After drifting far out to the racecourse only to discover the chances of sailing were quite low, Dawn was one of the first to slip on the bathing suit and splash into the cool water. Accustomed to regatta atmospheres where the fun diving is reserved for recreational cruises rather than a postponement, I didn't hesitate for too long before diving in hoping my sports bra would make for an adequate bathing suit. Most of the boats in the fleet had the same idea.. and it wasn't long before most of the sailors were swimmers. By far the most fun postponement I've been a part of for years.

The regatta dinner followed suit. Energetic, young, spontaneous, and passionate about racing the Oakcliff sailing is the right way to sail. In Dawn's words what separates Oakcliff from it's neighboring sailing centers is that it's more centered on action and doing things which is seems to be absolutely true. For sailors young and old, Oakcliff is the perfect place for sailors to connect with what they love most about sailing.


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