It has been said that sailing is a sport for all ages. Sailors have always known this to be true. Gary Jobson, in his March Jobson Report for Sailing World magazine, picks up on this thread and begins his monthly column with, "there's an old saying that sailing is a sport for kids from ages 8 to 80." Well, here in Manhasset Bay, we have sailors who began sailing with their parents way before the age of 8, and we have octogenarians out and about on our bay, enjoying the salt air, sunshine and fresh breezes. Jobson, it is interesting to note lived in Port Washington from 1973-1975 when he coached the sailing team at Kings Point, wrote about our sport's most senior members who are "setting sails" way into their 90s. He mentions Walter Cronkite, 89; Olin Stephens, 97; Bob McNitt, 90; Dr. Stuart Walker, 83; Bob Stone, 83. And of course, he writes about our very own "senior sailor", Ed du Moulin. With permission from both Gary Jobson and John Burnham, the editor of Sailing World magazine, the following is excerpted from Gary's column: "Ed du Moulin, 91, is working on a book that he says will cover 80 years of sailing, 47 years on Wall Street, four years of service during World War II, and a lot of 'crazy' incidents in his life. In 2001 du Moulin's recollections of seven America's Cup campaigns were published by the Herreshoff Marine Museum in The America's Cup and Me, an enjoyable read. After retiring from a successful career on Wall Street, he started a new one as manager for seven different America's Cup teams. Recently he's been slowed by illness but is looking forward to day sailing this summer. 'I've enjoyed all my boats over the years, but I always enjoy trying to find the next boat. I'm looking at an Alerion 28.' du Moulin has always had a winning diplomatic manner and has often brought adversaries together. I recall being on an America's Cup team that was eliminated, and even though Ed was part of another team, he and Fritz Jewett had the courage and good sportsmanship to thank our crew for pushing their team so hard. His extraordinary class has served many as a good example." Referring to the night at the New York YC that honored its 100 or so senior members, Jobson concluded his column with, "There's a common denominator I learned that night about senior sailors: they cherish their time on the water and they do anything they can to help and inspire others to do the same." Those who know our "senior sailor" would heartily agree with that statement.
In addition to Gary Jobson's writing accomplishments, he is also the commentator of ESPN and hosts many prestigious sailing events around the world. Recently he was at the New York YC to host the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards. This year's recipients Nick Scandone (Fountain Valley, CA) and Sally Barkow (Nashotah, WI), who were honored with our country's highest sailing accolade at a luncheon a few weeks ago, accepted engraved Rolex timepieces, symbols of outstanding on-the-water achievement in the past calendar year. Scandone was recognized for his extremely successful year sailing the 2.4mR, a single-handed boat used in the Paralympic Games. His accomplishments include winning the class's World Championship in Italy last fall. "My goal is to win a Paralympic Gold medal in 2008," said Scandone, "but until then, this is my Gold medal." Barkow was recognized for her versatility and consistency, both abroad and at home, after winning a string of noteworthy international events - including two world championships - in four different keelboat classes. "It feels great to win this," said Barkow, who hopes to represent the USA at the 2008 Olympic Games. "It shows that our team has done a good job this past year, and we hope to continue with our successes."
Barkow, a 25-year-old, fifth generation sailor, was a kid when she first flashed the competitive spirit that would help make her a world champion sailor. Her older brother, Carl, could not skipper a sailboat for a regatta on tiny Pine Lake where the family lived 30 miles west of Milwaukee, so she took the tiller under one condition from her father: that she win the race. Richard Barkow promised to buy her a sailboat if she did. "I never expected to have to pay up," he said, chuckling. The 10-year-old promptly crossed the finish line first, screaming for a pink boat with blue stripes. She's been earning her stripes in many different types of boats and on waters worldwide ever since. In the four years since graduating from Old Dominion University with a degree in psychology, she has won five major championships, including three this year: the Yngling World Championship on Lake Mondsee, Austria; the Rolex Women's International Keelboat Championship in Annapolis, Md.; and the International Sailing Federation Match Race World Championship in Bermuda. She also won the Rolex race in '03 and the Match Race World Championship in '04. And she has her sights set on the 2008 Olympics in China. Barkow attributes some of her success to her growing up on the shores of Pine Lake, Wisconsin that proved to be the perfect nurturing ground. "There's not much trickier sailing than on the inland lakes," she said. "This is pretty much the hardest place to sail sometimes. You don't have the high shores and the wind just comes down and just hits the water and that's what you're supposed to react to." Not only is Barkow a great sailor, she is a leader and a friend. When she won the Rolex Women's International Keelboat Championship, she gave each of her crew (Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y. and Carrie Howe, Grosse Point, MI.) Rolex watches that she had won previously in other events.
Nick Scandone was just leaving for the IFDS Disabled World Championships in Australia when he heard he was the 2005 Yachtsman of the Year. "I knew I had a good season, but I didn't think it would get this kind of recognition. This is something I never dreamed would happen. I've always admired many of the people who have received this award in the past, and to have my name included is something I will always be proud of and cherish for the rest of my life." His remarkable performance in the 88-boat fleet included besting seven world champions as well as three Paralympic medalists who were among the 34 disabled competitors going head-to-head with the class's best able-bodied sailors from around the world. Scandone chalked up two first-place finishes in the eight-race series to edge out his closest competitor -- an able-bodied sailor and the class' three-time world champion -- by 10 points for the championship crown. Three and a half years ago Scandone was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Now 40 lbs. lighter, using a cane and with braces on both legs, Scandone has battled this progressive neuromuscular disease, for which there is no approved medication or cure, with a positive attitude. "Sailing has allowed me to have something to look forward to," he said. While he has become physically weaker over the course of the illness, Scandone's tenacious determination and competitive drive have not diminished one bit. It was a very special moment when Jobson, who overcame a personal battle with leukemia, called Nick Scandone to the podium. As he carefully rose from his wheel chair and used the podium for support, Scandone's speech energized the crowd. His goal of reading the 2008 Paralympics after the Olympic Games in China may seem like a fragile dream, but with his positive thinking and the support of the sailing community to motivate him - he received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech - he just might be on the starting line. And if he is, we'll all be there to cheer him on. To view the ceremony at NYYC, go to www.T2P.tv. For print information and see a list of past recipients, go to: http://www.ussailing.org/Awards/rolex.