Turn off your phone, everything else can wait!
The 2019 East Coast Championships took place Sep 14-15 at Beverly Triton near Annapolis, MD, and it was a chance for sailors to get together again on the Chesapeake waters this year – because there’s no limit to how much fun one can have and the energy of the BABA team is impossible to resist!
By Janice Anne Wheeler
The wind was good. The atmosphere was good, the scenery amazing. Competitors from all over the East Coast showed up to enthusiastic greetings, heartfelt hugs and a sincere welcome. Friends reunited.
The first day sped by: five races in the morning and two long distance races in the afternoon. Mother Nature provided steady wind. Dinner was donated and grilled right on the beach. The day reminded us what it’s all about. Everyone contentedly talked equipment, people, places, wind and waves. We talked food, nutrition and fitness, how important it is, especially as some of us grow older. The Harvest Moon rose over the Chesapeake as folks headed to their beds, mentally preparing for tomorrow.
I volunteered to be the regatta photographer and spent Saturday on the chase boat. Looking through a zoom lens takes the observation of this sport to a whole new level. I see the intensity, the drive, the ambition. The elation, the disappointment. I can hear the encouragements. Windsurfing, no matter the class, has that feel. Intensity. Encouragement. Elation. “I have been coming in last for years!” one of the race coordinators told the group as she stood on the podium in first place. “Years! You have to just keep showing up.” The applause was instant, heartfelt, and universal. Time on the Water.
“Do you ever get tired of winning?” I asked Steve. He glanced at me sideways to see if I was serious and did not quite answer my question. So I answered it myself; no one ever really gets tired of winning. And he doesn’t win all his races. It’s good when someone else does, to keep him on his game. He knows this.
Sunday started without much of a breeze but it kicked up unexpectedly and the enthusiasm was contagious; it was a bonus, a gift. What a great way to spend the day. Your phone is turned off, everything else can wait. It’s just you harnessing Mother Nature, rising to the challenges and rewarding yourself with a skill set that so few have. An impressive few.
This group, and the others I have experienced, have a deep-seeded passion for the sport and for keeping it alive. These are all volunteers. No one gets paid for storing buoys, flags and rulebooks. A lot of time is spent sending out emails, tending the details and pulling together these events. Money is spent making it happen well enough so that people keep coming back. No one gets anything in return except appreciation.
Surfing the wave of local enthusiasm, a highly reputable sailing association in Annapolis is initiating a youth windsurfing program this year and hoping to get three hundred kids involved in the sport! That is an impressive number and a very big deal to the local community.
BABA (the Baltimore Area Boardsailing Association) has been around for nearly four decades. From this outsider’s perspective they deserve big respect and recognition for their dedication.