Alex Rush is an instructor with Narragansett Sailing School and has sailed for decades. He joins us with a wealth of information and knowledge! Let’s hear a bit from Alex in this interview:
1. How did you first get into sailing?
I started sailing at an early age. Starting with Dingy racing to going out on ocean adventures on our family’s sailboat – a 36-foot Hallberg Rassy.
2. Have you had any disaster scenarios, failures, or simple problems in your sailing career that have given you a valuable lesson as a result?
When I was working in Hong Kong, we were entered into a race called “The 5 Peaks”. The idea is you sail to an island and then have runners that will get off and run up and down the mountain and get back onboard to sail to the next island.
The idea we had to make our transition quick – and we thought easy at the time – was that we would slowly sail toward the beach and put out our stern anchor to keep the bow facing straight toward the beach.
Then the runners can get off and we can pull ourselves off. This worked great for the first two times of doing this…
The third time we tried this, the crew accidentally let the anchor rode go loose and as we started nearing the beach the boat turned sideways, which is a terrible place to be with waves crashing up the beach.
As the waves were slamming the side of the boat, she started pitching and rolling all over the beach until she was roughly 5m up the beach. This is hopefully the only time we will be shipwrecked for two days.
3. If there’s one thing you can tell new sailors when they are just introduced to the sport, what would you tell them?
When the drought of your vessel exceeds the depth of water, you are most assuredly aground!
But seriously, just go out there and learn. Number one most important thing is to just have fun and enjoy the experience. It’s the only way you will want to go back out!
4. What advice would you tell a new sailor to ignore? What are bad recommendations you hear about sailing?
I don’t agree that sailing is hard. You can start lessons with us today, and by the end of the day, you’re sailing around the bay.
The part that takes time is knowing all the more intricate details of each boat and understanding the day’s weather.
Sailing is so much about the environment and what is happening in the moment. That’s why even the most experienced sailors are learning every time they go out – because everything can be just slightly different than the day before.
5. Who most influenced your life when it comes to sailing?
This question is very difficult to answer! I have sailed with such a variety of sailors – some very well-known, and others not. But, they have all helped and guided me in some way.
If I had to choose one, it would be Sir Robin Knox-Johnson. I have been extremely lucky to sail and work with this man a few times and what an awe-inspiring and learning curve that was!
6. Outside of sailing, what is something that you love to do; something that makes you feel alive?
Sailing is a huge passion of mine. The other one, which is very much related, is travel. I have been consumed by sailing my whole life and it really is in my blood now, but anything that is on the water, I will probably enjoy. That’s fair to say.
About Alexander Rush:
Alex started sailing at an early age, racing dinghys and sailing on his family boat – a 36’ Hallberg Rassy. He has captained many boats in the Mediterranean seas. Alex has gathered countless sailing stories and a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.
Alex is certified to teach:
- ASA 101 Basic Sailing
- ASA 103 Basic Cruising
- ASA 104 Intermediate Cruising
- ASA 105 Advanced Coastal Navigation
- ASA 106 Advanced Coastal Cruising
- ASA 118 Advanced Docking
- Boat Systems
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