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Life skills learned through sailing helped this swashbuckler combat hunger, thirst, dysentery—and body rashes!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 4:06 PM | David Schieffer (Administrator)

By Charles Segebrecht

Most of us had a taste of true independence in our younger days. We experienced times with critical decision making regarding survival–jobs, housing, next meals, etc.; quiet days of settling into new environments with absolutely no support team in place; and days (hopefully weeks/months) of no communications with parents or friends, i.e. no cell phones! For many of us, our apron string connections ended with departures for colleges or the service, and family/friend communications consisted only of occasional letters. Today, many young adults (misnomer) remain tethered throughout each day with family and friends–parents, as well as their children–thus, remain forever codependent. In our younger days, we didn’t have the luxury–and detriment– afforded by Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and/or Snap Chat.

Regarding my younger days: I truly divorced myself several times from any support structure I may have had when traveling south on Lake Volta,* escaping the desperateness of northern Ghana using all kinds of sailboats. Another separation was traveling north from Colombia, S.A., using the same wind driven transportation means, as I strived to get back to the States. Neither adventure included enough money–and certainly no cell phones. They did, however, include hunger, thirst, body rashes and dysentery and required total self-reliance. The bottom line: learn how to sail. Sailing can make a difference. Knowing sailing can save a life–your life!

What a segue to a request to join the LQ Yacht Club! There is, however, lots of truth and evidence to the above. We are witness every day to our youth being totally absorbed with their electronic devices–even while driving golf carts here at LQ. But I’ll bet you’ve never seen the use of a cell phone on a Sweet 16 or Sunfish. I’ve always called this sailing sport a diversion because it requires a sailor’s concentration on knowledge, experience and conditions, and all-the-while practicing self-reliance. Once the basics are learned, he or she can sail anything anywhere–for pleasure, in competition and even for escapism. No cell phone required. And how convenient the Yacht Club makes it; lessons are available right here at your lake. Simply visit

Recently, I came across a Bluetooth anemometer device a sailor can use defining wind speed anywhere on the water (Google: A&B ABM-200 Wireless Airflow; $75). But, why?! The wind is and will be what it is. The speed makes no difference in pleasure sailing and is inconsequential in racing (remember: when racing, it’s all about tacking with wind shifts). Another smart phone use when sailing is a directional defining app (Google: Compass App). Again, why the need here at LQ? On large water, I get it; but here, there is no argument. Still another smart phone use when sailing: a GPS speedometer app (google speedometer.mobil). Really?! I probably would have lost races to Randy and Leslie if I had been messing around with my phone app, trying to define just how much faster I was going than they, instead of concentrating on boat handling and racing basics.

In other words, phones are left ashore–safe, dry and of no use when sailing. Let messing around with boats be all it can be. . . a true diversion, a sport continually teaching self-reliance, a life-long learning activity giving lucky sailing children liberty–the kind of liberty gifted to you in your younger days by your parents as you left the nest.

Definition: Lake Volta – largest manmade lake in the world covering 3,280 square miles covering 3.6 percent of Ghana’s land surface

Diversion: Google body rash pictures

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