Learning to Sail with Stephanie

by Leslie Godfrey in ,

Great Salt Lake racing did not start in earnest until May, when the mountain snow pack started melting and would add enough water to the lake depth that everyone could get out of the marina without hitting the bottom.  On May 1, 2005, I headed to Las Vegas to start my summer clerkship. Let’s just say I was working on the finance side of the dream, while Andrew stayed back in Salt Lake to continue to learn how to sail.  

That summer, Andrew raced on Wednesday nights with the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club.  He became crew for that season on the swift and mighty Olson 30, Que Pasa, captained by the honorable, Stephanie Collinsworth.  Andrew learned using the HOT/COLD method:  i.e. grabbing at random ropes until the "More boom vang!  More boom vang, no the BOOM VANG!!!" stopped.  Lucky for Stephanie, he was a relatively quick learner.  

Upon my return from Las Vegas at the end of August, I was welcomed aboard Que Pasa, too.  I joined Stephanie and my friend Terra for ladies sailing weekend.  We had an excellent time, as Stephanie explained the basic theories of how the wind moves the boat using the sails like wings or like a big parachute.  I watched her adjust the sails to each point of sail.  She made it look very easy, and by the end of the weekend I felt I could learn to do such a thing, too.

I raced a few times with Stephanie and her crew.  I was rail meat, but by this time, Andrew had worked his way onto mid-deck.  He was in charge of adjusting the sails any time the controls in the middle of the boat were needed. Stephanie had five crew members, plus me.  She seemed very organized and in command.  Standing at the stern with her tiller in hand, she instructed crew members to adjust as needed.  The wind might shift unexpectedly, but she knew what to do.  Commands would come slightly louder and in a more quick pace, but always with the voice of an expert.  She won races; so often, in fact, that another crew proposed they swap boats for a race, convinced that it must be the boat responsible for her win.  

By the end of the season, Andrew had a crush on her.  And I, too, admit that she was brilliant.

I wish we had more pictures of this time, but alas, this is it.  It was a good start to our sailing career.  We owe it to Stephanie, LeRoy, and the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club for being so welcoming and enthusiastic about teaching noobs how to sail.