East Coast Championships Regatta – View Through the Lens

by Janice Anne Wheeler

September 14 & 15, 2019

Skip and ChrisBel29

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 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 encouragement. 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 the race director. 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-seated 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.

Severn Sailing Association is initiating a Youth Program and hoping to get three hundred kids involved in the sport! That is an impressive number and a very big deal to the local industry. No wonder Baltimore Area Boardsailing Association has been around for nearly four decades. BABA is the dedicated few teaching the new. From this outsider’s perspective they deserve big respect and recognition for their dedication. Check out the gallery below and the full collection of photos and videos on BABA Google Photos.

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