There is a circle of life for sailing that we’ve all unconsciously experienced in our own way. It starts when you’re a kid in a junior sailing program and life is all about Optis, Lasers, and 420s. Then, if you’re lucky, you sail in college...more 420s or FJs. Out of college, you find yourself sailing a Vanguard 15 or other dinghy or perhaps someone’s keel boat. You’re living the dream on the water. Then, suddenly it happens--you’re married, you’ve got a family and, Shazam, there’s no more time for sailing. You think the dream has died and your sailing days are over. But wait, there’s more!
Give it a couple of years. You spend some quality time with your family and suddenly your kids decide they want to sail, too. Bam! It’s back to the V-15 or keelboat or whatever with them as crew. The dream is back...only its better. You’re sailing with your children and, if you’re really, really lucky, you married a sailor and you’re back on the water as a family. The circle starts over.
This is precisely what happened to Ken Horne in Texas. Here’s his circle of sailing life story and more:
“I’m just getting back into sailing after taking off 12 years to start and raise a family, but once my two kids got to be teenagers, my wife said, ‘You need to find something to do.’ At first, I got a trawler to putt around in but that was boring. Then I bought a J/105 thinking I would day sail beer can race it with family and friends. Well, ‘casual’ has nothing to do with the kind of racing we are doing.
“We had only sailed one major regatta on the J/105 before the NOOD. For 2019 I bought a brand-new set of sails from UK Sailmakers Texas, at the Marblehead NOOD regatta most of the sailors we raced against said we were the fastest boat on the course. ‘These sails are rocking,’ said my jib trimmer who’s a pretty experienced guy. ‘This is the best jib I’ve ever trimmed.’
“We were fast upwind and downwind. The only thing that kept us from winning the regatta were my starts! The boat that won had perfect starts. Their tactician is a top woman match racer and she is representing the USA at the Women’s Match Racing Worlds.
“Our next regatta is the Ted Hood Regatta and then the North Americans, both in Marblehead where 30 boats are expected.
“I was amazed how in Texas all the top J/105s sail with UK Sailmakers’ sails yet here we were the only boat with UK Sailmakers sails. Seeing our speed, a lot of people here asked me about our sails. In fact, on one of the tune-up days, a coach from another sailmaker tried to tell us how to set up our boat. Politely, I said thanks but no thanks. In tuning, we kicked his client’s (you know what). At the end of the practice day he was taking pictures of our sails.” If Ken and his crew keep sailing fast at the upcoming big J/105 events, chances are he won’t be the only boat with UK Sailmakers sails on courses outside of Texas.