One of the top moments of our Annapolis Sailboat Show was seeing our friend John Arndt, creator of the Summer Sailstice, receive the sailing industry's Distinguished Service Award. If you want to know what kind of man invents his own holiday, read on! And make sure to put June 18, 2016 on your calendar, as that's the day the whole world goes sailing!
John’s multifaceted involvement with sailing has seen him spend many years chairing and serving on boards such as the Northern California Marine Association, Sail America ,and SailSFBay. Add to this his work as Latitude 38, associate publisher, and his dedicated efforts in creating and driving Summer Sailstice, and we can see that this is no ordinary sailor. Despite all his commitments, John manages to embrace his passion and has racked up a significant list of sailing achievements.
Whether racing, cruising, or poking around the bay John has covered thousands of ocean miles. He has participated in several Bermuda races, numerous one-design races and collegiate races. He has also enjoyed sailing in Europe and the Mediterranean, spent two winters cruising the Caribbean, and not least of all, spent countless sunny (and not so sunny) afternoons sailing in his home waters of San Francisco Bay.
“Before birth - my parents sailed. I was born in December and sailed the summer before!” he replied.
It took a couple more years before John was ready to handle the sheets and learn the ropes in Casco Bay, Maine, under the watchful tutelage of his parents. The first boat John owned was a Snark, after which he sailed his way through many others including a Turnabout, a 420, and his grandfather’s Rhodes 19 which still remains in the family today. John spends much of his sail time aboard his Ranger 33, aptly named Summer Sailstice.
“Summer Sailstice is my effort to create an event in which all sailors can participate regardless of how or where they sail. It also puts the true nature of sailing on display to help shatter some of the myths and preconceived notions of the non-sailing public.... I've always enjoyed the simple pleasure of being under sail and felt very lucky to have it be part of my life. Most every sailor I know feels the same. While everyone feels lucky to sail and often wants to invite more people to participate, the extremely broad range of sailing styles, boats and disciplines has always made it difficult to unite sailors in a shared mission,” he said.
“There's a real beauty and serenity that comes with utilizing all your senses and abilities while being immersed in the natural world to move towards a destination. For me, just being out there, is pure pleasure - whether it's sunshine or storms.”
Clearly John is a very worthy recipient for sailing’s annual Distinguished Service Award. and plans to continue “sailing and connecting with sailors around the world to help tell the story of sailing so others can find their way to enjoy it too."
John received an inscribed Captain’s Clock, designed and crafted by Ocean Icons, and donated by Weems & Plath.