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This is the second in a series of interviews with Sailors with disABILITIES volunteers. In this interview you will meet Jay, a crew and on-water program volunteer with SWD.
Click here if you're interested in volunteering with SWD.
Meet Jay and keep reading to find out what inspired him to volunteer with Sailors with disABILITIES
Please tell us about yourself
I’m originally from Los Angeles California. I owned a gardening company and I was fortunate to be able to manage it from a distance. This allowed for some “fun” jobs including working at a summer camp at Big Bear Lake, which is outside LA, in the mountains. This is where I learned to sail at the late age of thirty-three. From there, I was introduced into the wonderful world of club racing and spent the next fifteen years as a bowman and learning how to sail. (I’m still learning on the last point!)
My wife and I moved to Australia in 2003. We have enjoyed raising our daughter, Sydney, who is now eleven. Sailing has taken a back seat though.
What made you want to volunteer with SWD?
I’ve always enjoyed passing along knowledge, whether it be sailing, gardening or teaching my daughter math! I thought about volunteering and making a difference, but I didn’t know what I could do.
So I contacted SWD and it’s been fantastic.
Jaycheerful as ever and doing what he loves.
Did a connection with disability, disadvantage or sailing influence your decision to volunteer?
Yes, I had missed the friendships and camaraderie from the sailing environment, as well as teaching and working with kids. It was always fun to watch kids solo their dinghies and take pride in learning new skills.
What activities have you undertaken on the boat as a volunteer crew member with SWD?
I’ve started with SWD in the past few months. I just completed volunteering in the 8-week Winds of Change youth program. I’ve also been on some of the training sessions and participated in one of the Sunday winter series races. I’m currently participating in the 12 week training program.
What are some of your achievements, personal and skills-based, since you began with SWD?
Sailing on new boats is like opening up a gift package; it’s always exciting and there is tonnes to explore. Every time I go sailing, I find I’ve learned something new, which is why I enjoy it so much. I’m still learning my way around each of SWD’s three boats, but each time I’m out I find out something new about the boats. Most of my past experience has been on smaller boats, so big boat handling offers a new dimension. Much is the same, but there are also subtle differences. I’ve learned how to use a “coffee grinder” style winch, learned about navigation markers, different types of flashing lights, and compass reading declination, to name a few.
What have you enjoyed most?
Passing on knowledge.
I’ve enjoyed meeting the volunteers learning a bit about them, and sharing a common interest.