A sad tale about the demise of a venerable sailing institution. I like Soundbounder's observation about the misperception about snobishness in sailing especially in the older, richer clubs. I agree with him. The best clubs are always all about sailing.
Looking back on 2009, the thing that struck was the way the nautical and sailing blogging community has blossomed. For me, the highlight was back in February when a bunch of us in the NY area got together for dinner mostly at the Peconic Puffin and Frogma's coaxing. Another one is in the works for January or February. You can read more about the blogs and their bloggers here.
There were many community projects most instigated by the Tillerman. My favorite was Love and Sailing that was deservedly won by Captain Puffypants for his candid and funny account of a novice sail with his bride.
My favorite story about blogging was a recent one, getting to know (virtually) Peter Gustaffson and his Blur blog. It's truly inspiring how one guy, one boat and a bunch of mates have become the premiere destination for sailing online in Sweden.
My favorite blog post of the year was Bowsprite's nautical bestiary. It speaks for itself!
My favorite Blog-like thing is actually a Youtube thing, Dylan Winter's Keep Turning Left. This is a labor of love and I have spent many happy hours sitting back and soaking in his unique narrative as he creeps along the UK coast.
In other news Big Oceans' Blogger, Nick Jaffe completed his novice single-handed sail from Europe to Australia. I have been following Nick since I started my blog over three years ago. He started at about the same time, blogging about his mission to buy a boat and sail it back from Holland to Australia.
I was lucky enough to have a number of guest authors who helped make this a better blog. Thanks guys! There were two accounts of a very rough Around Long Island Race by Ethan Garr and Jeff Campbell; my old mate from London, Andrew Holmes recounted a great Round the Isle Of Wight Race; and my club-mate Tim Fletcher told about a worthy cause Sail Habilitation that thanks to his and others' efforts was saved from bankruptcy.
The new thing of the year was Twitter and there are a bunch of twits worth following. I am still not sure about Twitter, although it's good at getting the word out quickly.
Last but not least a big shout-out to Scuttlebutt. Sailing friends who have never heard about any of us bloggers talk about Scuttlebutt as the source of sailing news!
Regular visitors of Messing about will know that every Friday I religiously post a music video that tickles my fancy. To be honest I was starting to get bored with the whole thing. It was becoming a chore. That was until I saw this video fromPlaying for Change. It's inspiring. I hope you love it too.
With all the BS continuing to go on about the America's Cup, it was good to be able to enjoy some amazing accomplishments in sailing by some exceptional people, most of them ordinary people who have overcome huge adversity without the aid of lawyers.
Robin Knox-Johnston still symbolizes much of what is good in sailing. This April was the 40th anniversary of RKJ's victory in the Golden Globe, being the first man to sail single-handed non-stop around the world. When he did it, he was unknown, had little support and was sailing a fairly small and relatively old teak boat. I want to thank everyone who participated in making April 23rd Robin Knox-Johnston Day in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Golden Globe. 35 bloggers, 160 Facebookers and a lot of Twits congratulated the great man.
Geoff Holt is still out there now, attempting to be the first quadriplegic to sail the Atlantic single-handed. The guy is a force of positivity!
I was fortunate enough to hear two great sailors speak about their life this year. Back in March, Gary Jobson gave a talk at my club and recounted some wonderful sailing tales. I also had the opportunity to hear Rich Wilson talk about his completion of the Vendee single-handed round the world race. He had the least means going into the race and was probably not favored to complete the race but he did and was one of of 11 out of 30 to do so.
For me, one of the greatest personalities of the year is Sam Davies who seemed to sail the Vendee Globe with a permanent smile on her face. This chick rocks!
Some of the most notable feats in sailing this year, seemed to be mostly about teenagers. With one teen beating another's record within a space of months. Clearly there's more to come here.
We lost some great sailors as well. The most moving was the passing of Nick Scandone, the paralympic saillor who died from ALS a few months after winning the gold in Qindao. He held on until he won that medal.
Roy Disney left a huge mark on the sport and Joe Rouse celebrates his life in pictures here. The great Walter Cronkite was an awesome sailor and his close buddy, Mike Ashford, movingly recounted sailing with Walter at his funeral. It's worth watching.