Sunday, August 7, 2011

Twenty Seven Miles Across the Sea: Nantucket Community Sailing

In the corner of a coffee shop in Nantucket I was looking for a straw for my drink. When I realized there was someone waiting behind me, I apologized and said that I was just thinking slow. After a long day in the sun- I was definitely thinking slow. The man who looked like he had been in the sun as much as I had replied, "Slow is the only to think. I was thinking fast once... and then my mother called me in for dinner."

I left the shop quickly but couldn't help trying to figure out the man's response as I went. It brought to mind the "islander mentality" which is a phrase I heard a lot on Martha's Vineyard and Shelter Island. Even though I typically think of an islander lifestyle looking more like Hawaii, Bermuda, or the Virgin Islands- I started to realize what happens when you find an islander mentality on the New England coast. Somehow people find a way to lose track of time on islands. Nantucket most of all struck me as a magical combination of a laid back islander mindset combined with New England attitude. And I liked it.











Jumping off the ferry, we were hosted by Nantucket Community Sailing director, Emily Taylor. Like her hospitality, Nantucket Community welcomed us and we had a great day on the beach of Nantucket introducing the O'Pen Bics. A community sailing center with several bases on the island, Nantucket Community Sailing offers an alternative to islanders beyond Nantucket Yacht Club. Providing visitors and locals with a plethora of lessons, rentals, day camps, etc- Nantucket Community Sailing has adapted to truly integrate sailing to all levels of the island known for sailing. Whether its fundraising, finding instructors, or marketing, NCS has figured out how to survive and thrive in a very small island community which can be a harsh climate.

Watching kids playing from the beach and coach boats, coaches shook their heads repeating, "this is chaos." With so many boats frolicking in the water- it was controlled chaos on the island. We had an amazing time getting to know the island through Nantucket Community Sailing and seeing such a successful program.


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