Take ‘Em for the Long Haul Kids Sailing on Distance Races
by Tracy Leonard
ounterintuitive as it may seem, my are strange and exhilarating feelings. Wak- maneuvering and nighttime phosphoreshusband Greg Leonard, skipper of ing up on a boat itself is fun, but when you cence before the boys retired below for the our J/120 Heron, contends that the wake up, come up on deck, and see huge night. Denis Hope-Ross, Heron’s tactician Bay’s overnight distance races offer one of swells and a huge smile on my dad’s face and father of one of the junior crew, held the best ways to introduce young sailors to because he finally gets to surf his boat, that a knot-tying clinic on the delivery back to sailboat racing. A distance race holds the is a heck of a sight.” Annapolis. All three boys stepped onto the excitement of lots of boats at the start, the Scott Ward, Taylor’s dad and Crocodile’s dock Saturday afternoon bright-eyed, tying promise of a cool evening breeze, iconic skipper, recalls, “The last 35 miles to the flying bowlines, and telling their own tales scenery like the Thomas Point Shoal Light finish, we had a really good reaching angle. of their night on the Bay. in the evening, a beautiful sunset, and the Everyone got a chance to steer and surf. In both the Ward family and our own, wonder of the night sky. When the novelty Taylor had a blast learning how to drive on younger siblings are already asking when wears off and exhaustion sets in, a comfy a reach with swells.” they can join the crew. Our three-year-old berth and dreamland daughter can hardly wait “Armed with harnesses, tethers, and strobes in beckon down below. until she’s a little older Judging from the addition to their usual life jackets, the boys acted as so that she can race with number of school-aged daddy. rail meat and, as my son put it, candy eaters.” crew we’ve seen stepping Greg likes to bring our off boats at this sumson and his friends as crew mer’s races, other Bay sailors agree. From Scott and his wife take all three of their for the races, because he has a chance to the Down the Bay Race for the Virginia children sailing, and Taylor is the first show them the sport he loves. The boys dig Cruising Cup to the Governor’s Cup, a to step up to the race crew. Scott started it, too. When asked their favorite part of handful of skippers are spreading the joy racing at a young age and found it such a the race, however, the boys did not rank of distance racing to the next generation. valuable experience that he wants to pass the exciting starts or the passing battles Even the Bermuda Ocean Race (BOR) along the same opportunity to his children. with competing boats or even the occafrom Annapolis to St. George’s had three He says, “Taylor is the perfect age to do sional bullet at the finish highest. Instead, junior crew in the fleet. The Day family this. I knew Taylor was hooked when we their favorite part has been hiking on the competed aboard their Farr 50 Tenho with got on the dock in Bermuda, and he said rail next to their dad, just one of the guys. their two children, ages eight and 11. Some he was really looking forward to getting Perhaps this is the best reason of all of the highlights of their race included back out to sea.” to take a child out to race. details you don’t normally hear about, such Our son joined Heron’s Bay race crew as catching tiny yellow crabs in the seaweed two years ago. During July’s Solomons of the Sargasso Sea. For Tenho, the 750Invitational Race, Heron’s nine-man crew mile race was a warm-up for their further had three boys between the ages of eight adventures, as their family plans to sail to and 11 join their dads for the the Mediterranean for a year. race and the return delivery. A veteran of last year’s Governor’s Cup Armed with harnesses, tethYacht Race, 14-year-old Taylor Ward was ers, and strobes in addition mastman aboard his family’s Beneteau First to their usual life jackets, the 40.7 Crocodile during the BOR. Among boys acted as rail meat, and many favorite memories, Taylor loved seeas my son put it, candy ing Bermuda rise up on the horizon after eaters. Exciting moseveral days at sea with no land in sight. ments included He says, “Being out so far from shore and a packed start seeing nothing but the edge of the earth with lots of
##Taylor Ward at the helm next to his dad during the Bermuda Ocean Race.
50 September 2012 SpinSheet