We spoke with one of our beloved instructors, Casey Haugh, and asked him about his experiences sailing. Here’s what he had to say:
1. How did you first get into sailing?
I got into sailing at a young age when I spent the summers at a sailing camp in St. Michael’s, Maryland. My family had a motorboat that we would always take out as well. My parents taught my brother and me to swim before we could walk so being around the water has always been second nature.
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?
I love this question because most knowledge and skills on the water come from disastrous situations. I have had problems ranging from horrible weather (lightning and fog) to someone actually dying. I tend to embrace problems on a boat because you really don’t have another alternative. We all know ignoring problems does not solve them — and on a boat you usually don’t have time to waste when disaster strikes.
3. If there’s one thing you can tell new sailors when they are just introduced to the sport, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that “sailing” is actually pretty simple and obviously extremely enjoyable! But to add onto that, I tell people that to become truly confident in the world of sailing, you must do your homework. For example, study about engine troubleshooting, holding tanks, electrical systems, and docking.
There is usually a lot more to “Sailing” than people initially think; but all of this knowledge is very much obtainable. People tend to get intimidated by the sailing culture and world, but it actually is very open-minded and everyone wants to learn and share knowledge.
4. What advice would you tell a new sailor to ignore? What are bad recommendations you hear about sailing?
One of the mistakes I see people make is they start too large. I get it, you want to take to the high seas and sail around the world. The problem is that you have never been on a boat. In this case maybe you don’t buy the 50-foot Hylas as your first boat.
I’m trying to say that people are a little too eager to get started and miss out on the opportunity to learn fundamentals about sailing that you cannot get on a large boat initially. I recommend sailing with a tiller for a while before moving to the wheel.
5. Who most influenced your life when it comes to sailing?
I have worked with so many people over the years and studied experiences of others from the past and present. That’s like asking me to pick my favorite Beatles member, ha!
6. Outside of sailing, what is something that you love to do; something that makes you feel alive?
I like to ride my motorcycle around Rhode Island. I often make the comparison between sailing and motorcycles in that each is a very technical skill that is not intuitive. Regardless, both demand your complete focus and attention while operating, which is something I love when looking at hobbies. When whatever you are doing is the only thing on your mind, all the world’s problems disappear. (Which aren’t too much for me when you live on a boat and drive a motorcycle around!)
About Casey Haugh
Casey is one of our catamaran specialists as he teaches Catamaran skills in the Caribbean in the winter and with us in the summer. He also lives on his boat here at Cove Haven. Casey also has extensive mono hull experience, and is very good with boat systems as he is an ABYC certified marine technician. Mostly Casey has a great demeanor and gets rave reviews from his students with his easy going style.
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 114 Cruising Catamaran
- ASA 118 Advanced Docking
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