Chris Allen joins the Narragansett Sailing School team of instructors. In the interview below, Chris shares his background in sailing:
1. How did you first get into sailing?
I used the proceeds of a paper route to buy a Sunfish that I launched off the beach in Larchmont, NY. It might still be my favorite boat. After 30+ years of ownership, I sold it to a friend in Maine, for a case of beer.
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?
Every experienced sailor has made a thousand mistakes. My goal as an instructor is to help students avoid the serious mistakes and encourage them to constantly learn from the rest. I actually kind of love it when Mother Nature gives me a “dope slap”, and I’m proud to share every one of those stories with other sailors.
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’d say “Welcome to sailing, we are so glad you decided to give this a try!” It’s my job to discover your inner sailor. Everybody is a little anxious at first, but we’ll start with a few very simple maneuvers that demonstrate how to control the boat. It looks complicated, but the boat has been carefully designed to be easy to sail. It’s a great confidence booster.
4. What advice would you tell a new sailor to ignore? What are bad recommendations you hear about sailing?
Sail for fun. Enjoy the sun, fresh air and water. Don’t let the inevitable setbacks bother you. I learned a long time ago not to dwell on the one or two mistakes I made. They are “learning opportunities”, move on and remember to celebrate your successes.
5. Who most influenced your life when it comes to sailing?
My hard-working uncle finally found time to devote to his passion for sailing, when he retired when I was 22. He “hired” me to help bring his 36-foot yawl for the first of many planned seasonal crossings from the Chesapeake to the Caribbean. As a former Naval officer in WWII, and ran a tight ship, but during our two-month trip he never stopped sharing his sailing wisdom, and love of the sea. He passed away unexpectedly just a few months later, at 66. So when someone asks me if I want to go sailing I always say “yes”.
6. Outside of sailing, what is something that you love to do; something that makes you feel alive?
I enjoy biking, hiking, cooking, and have recently discovered the unabashedly nerdy sport of remote control sailboat racing. Help me!
Chris is certified to teach:
- ASA 101: Basic Sailing
- ASA 103: Basic Cruising
- ASA 104: Intermediate Cruising
- ASA 105: Advanced Coastal Navigation
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