Chesapeake Racer Profile by Molly Winans
MAURI PRO SAILING WE share your passion for sailing
h, to be at a place in life where you feel at home, enjoy your work, and still display your age and weight at the top of your sailing resume. Meet Mike Coe. The 29-year-old Annapolis native grew up doing some junior sailing at Severn SA and Annapolis YC and competing for two years on the Broadneck High School sailing team, but he notes that playing lacrosse and playing percussion in the band were equally as important to him at that time. It was during his tenure on the University of Maryland sailing team that sailing took its hold on him.
A sailing friend’s suggestion led Coe to Saunderstown YC in Saunderstown, RI, to teach kids on Optis, Blue Jays, and Club 420s, a job he loved, which brought him back for four summers. “It was a crystallizing moment for me,” he says. Following his graduation in 2006, Coe worked for Doyle Sails for six months, but Rhode Island was still calling his name. He moved back north and coached in a high school program, did odd jobs, and sailed as much as possible. During those couple of years, he and his friend Jesse Fielding competed in the 49-er, including going to the Miami OCR. He also regularly sailed a V-15 and 5O5, among other boats. While competing in the J/24 East Coast Championships with Will Welles and Pete Colby of North Sails, he was offered a sailmaking job in Milford, CT. He took it for three years and then jumped at the chance to transfer his skills to his hometown North office two years ago. Among Coe’s diverse racing accomplishments are crewing on 5O5s in North American and World Championships and competing in Snipes, Vanguard 15s, and Lightnings. He has excelled at match racing and won the Prince of Whales Semi Finals (as trimmer) and the Sail New York Match Race Regatta (as helmsman) in 2007. Among his big boat victories were winning the IRC Mid-Atlantic Championships on the J/122 Catapult (2011), the J/22 North East Championships (2011), and Antigua Race Week on a J/122 (2011), all as trimmer. As tactician, he’s won the Screwpile Regatta on the Farr 30 Gotcha (2011) and Governor’s Cup on the GP 42 Stray Dog (2010) and placed second in the Annapolis to Newport Race on a Farr 395 (2009). When was the last time you fell overboard? I was at 49-er training camp with a team in March 2010. I wasn’t quite as fit as I used to be. We capsized a lot. When you fall out of a 49-er, it’s never pretty. They sail away from you quickly.
Who are your favorite sailing buddies? Dan Wittig, Grady Byus, Geoff Ewenson, Ali Meller, and Russell Miller. What was the last book you read that you would recommend? Competitive Leadership: Twelve Principles for Success by Brian Billick. He writes a lot about preparation giving you a competitive edge. There are a lot of parallels to sailing. What are your favorite movies? “Miracle” and “Hunt for Red October.” What sports teams do you follow? The New England Patriots. If you were taking a road trip, what would be on your playlist? We played Pitbull (a Cuban rapper) on our trip to Key West. I’d also play the Hilltop Hoods and Wu-Tang Clan. If you had your own mantra on a T-shirt, what would it say? “Love many. Trust few. Paddle your own canoe.” What’s the best thing you ate on a boat recently? I can tell you the worst thing I ate. Freeze dried food… Nothing’s better than warm lasagna. What gear do you depend upon? Gill Salopettes (they have good pockets), Adidas Watergrip shoes, and SmartWool socks. Name one mistake with sail trim you see repeatedly. Spinnaker trim is one of the most nuanced aspects of our sport. I think people need to play around with pole heights more. If you won the lottery, what kind of boat would you buy? A 20-foot, center-console powerboat. [He laughs when I say, “Really?”] I can sail all the time, but I can’t go wakeboarding all the time!
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