Michael Iannicelli Century Club 2017 Sailing Like Crazy

Michael Iannicelli SpinSheet Century Club member 2017! Congratulations to Mike for reaching his 100 days (105 last we checked) on the water within the calendar year, all achieved by sailing like crazy! He writes: "I am a member of Sail Nauticus in Norfolk, VA, a community sailing center on the Elizabeth River. We have a fleet of ten Harbor 20s with our dock adjacent to the battleship USS Wisconsin, now a tourist attraction for the Nauticus museum."

We asked the new Centurion to answer a few questions... here are his responses:  

What compelled you to join SpinSheet’s Century Club?
Bragging rights with my fellow mentors and gaining an extra incentive to leave the dock during the dog days of a Norfolk summer. I was already spending a lot of time on the water during the season either mentoring new members or skippering social sails so I decided to track the days and get recognized for the effort. I have found that keeping a detailed log (you got the summary version) of my students progress makes it easier to maintain training continuity.

Is this your first year? If not, how many have you completed?
My first year was 2016 and day 100 was December 31st. For 2017, I worked harder to get more time in the winter months and for my second year, day 100 was October 8th.

Were any of your on-water days on powerboats, kayaks, or other crafts?
I counted 1 day of cruising on my friends Yamaha Waverunner but the other 99 days were all sail.

Do you have a full-time job? If so, how do you find the time to get out on the water so often?
I am Retired. From What, depends on the Decade but yes, that gives me more options than the folks who have to take a long lunch or can't arrive at the docks before 6 pm in the summer.

Do you have a few days that stand out as the most special ones on the water this season?
Watching the August Solar Eclipse from a drifting Harbor 20. Moonlight sails during the summer. Any day that one of my students passed their in-house Captains Test and could start taking their friends and family sailing.

Did you experience anything extraordinary?
No UFO sightings or the like this year. For me, an extraordinary event occurs each time a student has an "ah ha" moment in their training when the boat starts responding to their will; when they discover the subtleties of sail trim and lose the death grip on the tiller. Any day can be extraordinary if you are helping someone reach toward their goal.

Did you experience anything scary?
Nothing where I feared losing the boat or injuring crew. I did manage to upset some friends during an early Spring sail when the expected reach back to the dock became a wet, chilly upwind slog with the rail in the water after the wind shifted. While sailing this year, I have at different times lost a halyard shackle, a jib boom shackle, and had a boom vang separate from its boom fitting and fall noisily into the cockpit. I would classify these as more annoying than scary.

Favorite wildlife sightings?
Dolphins! I still find it odd that they would be present in an industrialized waterway but when they are "holding station" with you on a beam reach with a steady 15 knot breeze, it just makes the day better.

What did you learn by spending so many days out there?
a) Sailing shorts with padding in the seat are your friend; b) Sailing out of the docking basin between a 122-ft schooner and a Battleship sharpens your focus; 3) Just because a docking maneuver worked Yesterday, Today does not care.

What would you say to someone considering joining the Century Club in 2018?
a) I found that just the mental image of 100 days on the water got me sailing earlier in the off-season. Locally, the longer days of summer are balanced against Thunderstorm cancellations, light winds and debilitating humidity, and other outdoor activities vying for your time; b) It takes little effort to make a log entry or a note on a calendar to document your activity. If you are "messing around in boats" anyway, why not get some formal recognition for something you love. Besides, the burgee with "100" in the center is a conversation starter.

Learn more about the Century Club here