I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

Tag: Joe Bozick

How to be grateful where you are

Joe, one of my mentors, shared a deep insight tonight. As he lay in his hospital bed he taught me how to be grateful where you are.

All his life Joe has been an active person. He has traveled the world over, hiked amazing places, competed in many sports, and engaged in activities that kept his brain and body stimulated. For the last couple decades he has studied the art of sailboat racing. He is a force to be reckoned with on the local racing circuit, typically taking home the gold medal.

I first met Joe in the context of sailing, during an event for disabled people at Footloose Sailing Association. He was sharing the joys of sailing and teaching the disabled sailors. Later I joined his racing team. Joe is eager to share his love and knowledge of sailing with anyone interested, and I was like an eager sponge. Dried out and ready to soak up his knowledge.

Though he has taught me a lot about how to sail fast and sail well, he more importantly taught me how to think. He showed me that problems are only problems if you let them be, or they can be new opportunities. He taught me how to think about the “why” behind something, to understand what it did before it did it. And he taught me how to think quickly on my feet and make the most of changing situations. Sailboat racing is no walk in the park. It is a mental and emotional chess game, just like life.

Joe did not get to cruise in his sailboat this summer due to his health issues. He got in only a couple races, but as he was laying in that bed, voraciously listening to tales of my adventures, he said something profound.

“I may not have had a summer, but I as I reflected I realized I have had a lot of great sailing adventures in my life. In the grand scheme of things one summer does not matter. As I look out this window I can imagine the wonderful places I might be anchored right now. I am grateful for the wonderful memories of those trips.”

Joe said this with a peaceful smile on his face.

Joe was not upset with his current situation. He was happy to be there sharing memories with me. Those memories helped him be grateful where he was.

The next time I am in an undesirable situation I too am going to look backward at my life and find a reason to be grateful right where I am.

What can you look back to in life and be grateful for?

Footloose 2015 Blake Island Trip

IMG_1407This year I joined the Footloose Sailing Association in Seattle. The entire goal of Footloose is to get people who would not normally be capable of boating, let alone the work required for sailing, out on the water and sailing.

Each season Footloose does a trip for the participants to Blake Island, a 475 acre state park. It is about 8 miles from downtown Seattle and the only way there is by private boat, no ferry or bridge.

This last weekend I had the privilege of hosting part of the group on my boat. We had 5 boats, 9 participants, and many volunteers head out to the island. It was a big undertaking but the participants got so much joy out of it that I am already looking forward to next year.

 

Shilsole Bay Yacht Club Raft

Liberty Bay July 3 raft up

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I was invited to a Shilshole Bay Yacht Club rafting event in Liberty Bay on July 3rd by Joe Bozick, an ex-commodore. Hundreds of boats gather on the 3rd and celebrate our nations independence.

I had never been to a rafting event before so I read up on how to raft, loaded extra bumpers and line from Penny onto my car, and heading down to Zippey’s marina.

My buddy Jason came along for the trip. As we loaded the goods onto Zippey some people came to the powerboat moored on the other side of the finger pier from her. They could not figure out how to get the boat to start. I helped them start it and it turns out that they had rented the boat from a website for the day. Protip: Do not EVER let someone take out your boat that you do not know and trust, let alone put it up on a boat rental site without ever meeting the people. As they pulled away from the dock they almost hit the boat next to them, then almost rammed the dock behind them, then almost hit the boat next to them, etc. I was finally able to grab ahold of the boat and push them out to point down the fairway and they made it safely out of the marina.

After that Jason and I puttered over to the fuel dock to fill up Zippey’s 4 gallon fuel tank and the two 2 gallon reserves we carried. While we were at the fuel dock I watch paramedic do chest compressions on a man for 20 minutes before he died. His dinghy fell and hit him in the head. As we pulled away from the fuel dock moments later to travel for many hours to an event were hundreds, possibly more than a thousand, boats were together in Liberty Bay it was a sober reminder that life is fleeting and precious and as fun as boating is it is an activity that needs to be done with extreme caution. Equipment needs to be checked and double checked and even then you should keep a wary eye and anticipate issue, which always arise.

The trip up Puget Sound and through Agate Pass into Libery Bay was a beautiful one. The tide was flooding and against us most of the way. Poor Zippey has an 8 HP motor that is not aligned properly. We crawled our way there at about 2 knots. The trip I planned 4 hours for took about 6 hours due to the flood current pushing hard against us.

Jason "tubing" at 2 knots

Jason “tubing” at 2 knots

We got in and found the Shilshole Bay Yacht Club boat and rafted up to Joe’s Sweden 36, Breeze. Breeze is a great boat and I have had the priviledge of crewing for Joe during races. Joe has taught me a lot about the art of sailing and racing. The people from the club are great and I look forward to future events with them.

Rafted to Joe's Sweden 36, Breeze

Rafted to Joe’s Sweden 36, Breeze

Shilsole Bay Yacht Club Raft

Shilsole Bay Yacht Club Raft

Jason and I were invited (invited ourselves really) to watch fireworks from the flybridge of Collin’s beautiful trawler. The fireworks were spectacular and the company even better.

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The next morning after checking our fuel reserves (We burned most of it on the way up) Collin and his wife graciously allowed me to borrow their dinghy to fill up my gas can. Their dinghy was great and I would not mind having a similar setup. The sad part is that at a very low throttle it ran faster than Zippey had the previous day!

The current running through Agate Pass can get pretty intense. We weighed anchor at 10 am to try to run with the current through the pass and out to the Puget Sound. The current pushed us up to about 7 knots! (That is 7.7mph for you landlubbers. Pretty fast on a sailboat) The rest of the trip was a modest 3.5 knots. I know Zippey can do better. I need to realign the motor and maybe change the prop. Other boats with the same motor were flying past us.

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Jason and I made it safely back to Zippey’s marina in 4 hours 24 minutes. Only 24 minutes longer than I had anticipated. Not too bad for my first “long voyage”!

I very much enjoyed my first rafting event and the people that are part of Shilsole Bay Yacht Club are great. I look forward to joining the club and am already excited about attending next year’s July 3rd rafting event!

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