I thought I’d kick off this week with some topic that would spark a sailing spirited discussion but then I realized that the election has left me fatigued of animated language. So instead, I’ll share agreeable good news.

My home lake is nestled in Cowan State Park in southwestern Ohio. The lake small and beautiful, and on good days, the pair of nesting eagles fish while we race. A robust public education program led by two park naturalists includes a kayaking, canoeing and SUP’s and this summer it was expanded to include sailing on Hobie kayaks.
The pilot program teamed the Park with the club’s certified sailing instructors to take the general public on the water. It was popular and successful offering the public a taste of sailing that left them wanting more. Keep an eye out for more on this in an upcoming issue—it’s a game changer.

The first step to program sustainability is teaching the naturalist how to sail so they become certified instructors. That has become an autumnal mission in the Lawrence household. Andy and I have coached. My teenage daughters sailed with them in 420’s. While there are still knowledge gaps to fill, the transformation from a nervous first sail to out on the trapeze can only be described as joyful.

So, you ask, how is this relevant to you? Because what happens locally expands nationally.

Cowan Lake sailors have won any number of national championships and a silver medal in 1992 Olympics. Dave Rosecrans was President of US Sailing, 2001 to 2003, I came off the board last year, and members have served in various classes as national officers. We charter, retire, and buy cruising boats. We even start sailing newsletters.
While the Hobie kayaks will call Cowan Lake home, they traveled other inland lakes and Lake Erie over the summer. I do not know the program plans beyond Cowan, but I do know having the Department of Natural Resources take an interest in sailing in the same way they support other outdoor activities has the potential to raise sailing visibility in a way no single club or business could possibly match and that’s news we can all rally around.