Start Sailing Now: Beth White

webTell us about how you got into sailing? About five years ago I was in my mid-forties, going through a divorce, and looking for a new challenge. So I took an introductory sailing class at J/World Annapolis. I had been on boats in the 1980s but never helped sail them, so I was a true beginner. Did you have any preconceived notions about sailing? I thought sailing was really hard, and my first time out I was white-knuckled. But it was exciting and fun, and not as difficult as I had imagined. What has been your sailing experience thus far, and what are your future plans? After completing the introductory course, I signed up for Thursday night racing and found that I really like racing more than cruising. Now I’ve been racing for several years and have completed two Frostbite series on J/80s. I’ve progressed through several courses, and I’m currently working to get my keelboat certification. In the future I may do a flotilla cruise with J/World. For me, sailing was, and continues to be, all about building my selfconfidence and clearing my head when life gets stressful. Through sailing I’ve made fantastic friends, and although we bonded on the water, we’ve carried the friendships over to land and enjoy doing non-sailing things together. Early on, I was placed by chance in a boat with all women, and we really bonded. We signed up for classes together and started wearing pink polo shirts or pullovers and hats when we raced together. We shared our personal ups and downs, and it was cathartic. These women knew about my divorce, and one night between races I pulled off my wedding ring and actually hurled it overboard. Our instructor wasn’t sure what was going on! What most surprised you about sailing? Although I enjoy cruising, I was surprised how much I love to race! If someone were interested in learning to sail, what would you tell them? My advice would be to call J/World and take a class. In their program, new sailors always have fun, gain knowledge, and learn the correct way. #