The best thing about being a Sea Scout leader is seeing how the program affects the teens. As the Sailing Coach for Sea Scout Ship 100, I had the pleasure of coordinating scout involvement in Quantico Yacht Club’s (QYC) Third Annual Open House and the Spring Tune Up race held on May 4th–which gave me the opportunity to watch the scouts learn and have fun.
Three scouts volunteered to conduct the flag raising, the first such ceremony at a QYC event in any member’s recollection. Fifteen-year-olds Elijah Potts and Ryan Stark, and 14-year-old Michael [last name omitted by parental request] donned their formal dress white uniforms and quickly learned the details of the particular setting and ceremony. After two quick practice runs, the scouts presented an admirable performance that QYC Commodore Marty Spitek proclaimed “a grand job.”
Elijah had to shove off because he was needed at home, but Michael and Ryan were able to enjoy the fun of racing in the Spring Tune Up. Ryan joined Team PIXIE DUST with Ken Beutel, taking the helm of the Hunter 33 for part of the race. Ken presented “a quick safety brief that showed the location of through hulls, throwable PFDs, fire extinguishers and how to use the VHF,” and then “quickly integrated Ryan and his dad, Pete, into the crew.”
After clearing the start, the skipper of PIXIE DUST gave the wheel to Ryan for the upwind leg in the first race, where, Ken said, Ryan “learned how to read the Windex and get a feel for where the boat would make maximum speed on a heel.” Going down wind, Ryan “also quickly learned the limitations of a B&R rig as the main could only go so far forward before running into the swept shrouds,” said Ken.
Michael was enthusiastic about his experience racing with Ray Boisvert aboard his Pearson 30, STACY LYNN. “It was cool to see and work with sailors of high experience,” he said. “They knew what they were doing and they acted fast and very efficient, and I guess you really need those kind of qualities when you are racing boats,” said the scout.
Michael enjoyed being part of the team, helping with tacking and handling the sheets on the Genny. He hopes that his fellows in Ship 100 will have the chance to race, too. “If we get another opportunity like this, my other shipmates…should definitely come and experience this,” the racing sailors “are probably the best sailors I had seen in a long time. It is best for all Sea Scouts to…work in a situation…with experienced sailors,” Michael said.
Though the team did not place, the Sea Scout recognized that he “learned some things from the experience and that was good enough for me. I didn’t really care if we won or not,” Michael said, noting that he looks forward to his next opportunity to sail with QYC.