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Veteran Sailors Show Lakewood Youth How to Stay Ahead of Their Game

It's a big week for our youth racers here at Lakewood, and we're kicking it off with the annual Cold Front Series.

A set of three monthly races, the Cold Front Series is open to all youth racers who have successfully transitioned into racing classes. Ranging from optis to lasers to Flying Juniors for advanced high schoolers, youth racing boats appeal to a variety of skill levels. Personal seamanship gets you part of the way. But one thing's for sure when you're training for a race -- you're only as good as the rest of your crew.

Youth sailors train hard to learn the subtleties of team success. At Lakewood, youth racers know that winning a competition doesn't happen in a vacuum. Sailors depend on each other. And Lakewood's youth are in an ideal place to learn from the best.

Training at a yacht club comes with a few competitive edges. One is learning from some of the greatest sailors and crews that are out there. I got to catch up with four of our veteran racers at Lakewood to find out their secrets to working with a top-notch crew.

One of the biggest concerns of sailing in any race is safety. Uzi Ozeri knows that his crew looks to him for dependable leadership. "Anything can happen out there. Steering breaks. Sails tear up. I make sure that as fast as we are, we're as safe as we can be." At the same time, Ozeri depends on his crew to not let him down. "There's a difference between instinct and training experience. I trust that my crew will perform under pressure."

Trust is a consistent theme among successful racers. Commodore Joyce Maxwell understands the importance of being able to rely on a sailing crew. "I know I'm capable. And when I know my crew is capable, I'm confident about the race." Offshore out on the waves, it's only you and life happening in real time. What plays out can make or break your faith in the crew. "Three days out on a sail once, we ran into a hurricane. Waves were stacking up, and one person freaked out. We listened to the weather. We radioed other ships in the area. We got each other through. After that, I trusted the boat. I trusted my crew. Sailing is all about trust."

Even though racing can get rough, some of the most dedicated racers have a slightly more enterprising attitude about it. John Broderick shared a few drinks with Ed Bailey and John Cameron one night. The Bacardi-filled bar talk quickly turned into one of the biggest racing opportunities for hundreds of offshore sailors every year -- the Harvest Moon Regatta®. "What's my biggest challenge with the crew? All the years I sailed, I never looked at sailing with a crew as a challenge, but as an adventure. New conditions each year honed my sailing skills and kept me looking ahead to next year." Problematic circumstances often become a matter of perception when you want to sail with a winning crew.

Adjusting to a positive mindset and getting creative about solutions are traits that noteworthy crew members cultivate. John Barnett knows a thing or two about having to improvise. When the wind shifts out at sea, it's easy to lose your bearings as the light gets lower. "Sailing a boat with no charts or navigation equipment, I thought I could stay with the fleet, but when the wind shifted, there wasn't a boat in sight. We thought about it and knew the intercoastal lights were inland. So we had a good idea where the beach was. We were the last boat in. But we all pulled together and made it work." A successful crew knows how to innovate in a pinch.

Safety, trust, perspective, and inventiveness. These are only a few of the qualities modeled by our veteran racers and crew members here at Lakewood. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill. But as we gear up for another Cold Front Series, the Lakewood youth sailors are following in those very footsteps. All the best and fair winds on December 12!

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Anne Bechard 
Digital Marketing Specialist

I'm thrilled to be a part of Lakewood's marketing team! From an early age, I started showing signs of becoming an auspicious writing geek. Today, I'm a columnist for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Business Insider. I get excited about exploring new ideas, communicating in a creative way, and solving problems that stump me. It's especially thrilling that I get to do all this in a place that personifies one of my greatest loves -- nature and the outdoors. I'm looking forward to growing our digital marketing techniques and meeting your communications needs with excellence!

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2322 Lakewood Yacht Club Drive, Seabrook, TX 77586 | Tel: (281) 474-2511 | Fax (281) 474-3502
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