Gail describes herself as “a kid who sailed and grew up.” In 1985, that kid won the Women’s 470 World Championships. And on October 15th, 2022, she and 11 fellow sailors will be inducted into the Sail Canada Hall of Fame during its 2022 ceremony.
In July, on our very own Wayfinder, Gail took a course with one of our most beloved and skilled skippers, Rob Keith. Why would a World Champion sailor need to take a sailing course? “I can make a boat go fast and straight. But I don’t know how to keep it off the rocks.” Competitive racing on a course means sailing on a track, in a straight line. No engines. No anchoring. No navigating. Anyone who has enjoyed the beauties and complexities of British Columbia knows that the tides and currents and deep dark waters knows that these skills are non-negotiable. Thanks to her friendship with Rob’s wife, Gail knew just who to call and made her way to Sidney for an amazing trip.
Gail’s journey to our docks began 5 years ago among a gathering of friends and came together with Rob Keith on beautiful Summer Circumnavigation of Salt Spring Island. Genoa Bay, Telegraph Cove, Montague, Bedwell Harbour, then Sidney – their counter-clockwise journey around Salt Spring Island is inspiring more trips. Thailand this coming March.
We asked Gail for her insights on excellent instruction. The ability to manage boat issues and provide guidance attuned to each student’s abilities, without losing sight of having fun – qualities of note in the greatest instructors. As a former sailing instructor, she knew the challenges first-hand. Qualities she appreciated in Rob, whose local knowledge led them to terrific sunsets and excellent storytelling added to a relaxed trip.
We hope to see Gail again, maybe on one of our flotillas. We wish her a hearty congratulations on her well-earned recognition. Fair winds and following seas.