Notes from US Sailing’s Leadership Forum
Earlier this month, the Topaz crew had the opportunity to participate in US Sailing’s Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego, California. The forum provides sailing educators, race officials, and industry heads the chance to come together to discuss issues that will have a direct impact on our sport.
Topaz’s Hardy Peters attended the three-day event, and he said the best part of the leadership meeting was the caliber of attendees.
“You had the folks that lead the sailing effort on the ground through their clubs and non-profit sailing organizations,” Peters said. “These folks are setting the direction and pace for US Sailing by looking at sailing education, racing rules, rule interpretation and enforcement, environmental issues, handicap sailing, youth development, and community involvement. They were there because they are truly passionate about the sport and want it to develop and because they believe sailing is not just a sport, but a life skill that can lead to great personal development.”
The most important part of the meeting for Topaz was the networking the meeting afforded – amongst the participants and sponsors alike, and even between competitors.
Peters says the demo day was by far the most fun.
“It was a blast. Since I was on my own, it was a very long day, but a rewarding one,” Peter explained. “Once I was able to get all the boats rigged, Topaz was the first boat on the water and folks were standing in line waiting to try it out. Our first sailor was a young instructor who did not have crew, so I jumped into the boat with him and we went for a good sail. Wind was 10-12, just a perfect day for the boats! We tacked about and on the downwind leg, popped open the asymmetrical spinnaker and headed into the beach. We were the only boat on the water at the time, so the sight of us coming in, with the spinnaker sporting the big Topper on it, it was quite an impressive sight!”
Besides a perfect day sailing in Mission Bay, Peters says another highlight of the forum was meeting the Volvo Ocean Race team Alvimedica.
“They made a presentation on team building and the cooperation that was needed in order for them to finish the race and win seven events within it,” Peters recalled. “They were the underdog, but through solid team work, they came out on top. They also had a unique presentation on the pollution that they encountered while sailing and racing on the world’s oceans, which seems to be more prevalent. What used to be limited to just one area has now spread to many. A good warning to us all.”
Peters also had the chance to meet Americas Cup and Around the World sailor Dawn Riley.
“She is an interesting, no-holds barred woman who commands the attention of the room when she comes in,” said Peters. “However, she is extremely passionate about sailing and sailing education in her home port. To me, she reflects the passion that is needed to grow the sport to the next level.”