Snipe Sailing and Wingfoiling: It’s All About Community

One of the many commonalities between my book life and my boat life is the need for Community. As a writer, I try to help others navigate the minefields of novel writing and publishing—and I couldn’t have sent 5 books out into the world without receiving similar support. As a sailor, I really enjoy sharing my very specific knowledge—as long as it doesn’t interfere with actually getting on the water. In both cases, no detail is too small to be discussed and dissected; that’s the thing about shared passions. 

Communities don’t just happen; sometimes, we have to put in both short- and long-term time and energy to build them ourselves. This summer, I’m revelling in two: the rebuild of Snipe Fleet 17 in Newport, and a grass-roots wingfoiling group that sails together whenever the wind is stronger than other obligations.

Fleet 17 Newport opening night

Last year, I told you that Snipes had an evening race series for the first time since the year my crew was born (and along the way, I gained a new Snipe buddy, who now self-describes as the Fleet 17 burger-flipper). This year, we started off the season by racing two Mondays in a row! And though we only had three boats out each night, they weren’t the SAME three boats…

We are also going to have a strong fleet for the Newport Regatta, July 13-14, with folks coming in from all up and down the East Coast. I can’t wait to play host instead of visitor for once!

As for wingfoiling, Paul and I almost always go together—but it’s even more fun when others join the fun too. Last summer, we tried to coordinate with other sailors about our timing, but it was all a bit hit or miss. This year, Paul set up a shared chat with three other sailors. We let each other know when (and where) we’re going to launch, and also share tips and high fives. Since we all come from the competitive sailing world but learn at different rates, the banter is both educational and entertaining. Sharing the experience makes the good days even better, and it takes the sting out of sessions when I fall more often than planned.

What works for one Community doesn’t always work for another, but the adhesive that holds each together is the same: clear and consistent communication. The Snipe fleet has a WhatsApp group, while the (older) foiling gang uses text messaging. Today’s comms options can seem overwhelming, especially when trying to span generational gaps… but the key is to find one system that works for most, and then use it in a way that makes everyone feel included.

Got an example of Community that supports your book or boat habit? Drop me an email, or add a comment below (because those are the two communication channels that work best for me). I read every single one, with gratitude.

2 Replies to “Snipe Sailing and Wingfoiling: It’s All About Community”

    1. Ted, I would add specifically Snipe Fleet 532 (Annapolis). Alex and Lisa Pline have done a fantastic job rebuilding and regrowing what is now the most active fleet in District 1. So grateful, and also watching closely to see what’s worked!

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