I started my career as a “sailing journalist” on April 10th, 1995. It was sunny and crisp Spring day. I wore a striped tie, a hand-me-down Brooks Brothers button-down shirt with a slightly worn collar, and a patina of awe and fear of my new “colleagues” who’d literally built SAIL Magazine from scratch starting with issue #1 in the winter of 1970.
And those legendary people who had legendary names on the masthead like Charles E. Mason III, Donald A. Macaulay, my dearly beloved Patience Wales, and others, were still there in 1995 when I was somehow saved from a life of escapism, high-end homelessness, and alcoholism in Antigua and dropped into the first “office job” I’d ever had at the ripe-old-age of 27. I was too embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know how to send a fax (so I watched the smart, Ivy League-educated folks do it), and not long after that, I was presented with my very own eeeeeelectronic-mail address!
So, just incase you haven’t picked up on my drift….I’m the product of, and very grateful for, an old-media upbringing. Those smart, kind, oh-so-preppie people taught me a ton about what it means to be a professional (or at least what it takes to be a “sailing journalist”), and they gave me the wonderful gift of being able to have adventures on the water (eventually, once I actually learned how to write), and to share them with “subscribers” who waited for our full-color stories of the sea to arrive in their mailboxes on a monthly basis.
But the truth is I’m simply intoxicated by the sheer magic, intimacy, immediacy, and yes, messiness, and mindlessness, and potentially narcissistic nature of new media. I may be a 47-year-old Gen-Xer who grew up experiencing the sheer panic of navigating (in the fog and otherwise!) without any electronics, (and working with legendary magazine founders), and talking on a rotary phone, and playing “mix-tapes” that a sweet-smelling girlfriend would make for me now and again, but…I love new media.
The point of this story (that honestly, I’m writing on my laptop, on a $25 Lucky Star bus ride from Boston to NYC for the start of the America’s Cup) is to share with you all (or at least some) of the instagram feeds (actually, Instagram is a kinda old, new-media but never mind) you should be following.
Back in the day, folks in Brooks Brothers shirts were the gatekeepers of who-was-who and what-was-what in our wacky-pastime/sport. But the invigorating truth now is we can go directly to the source and find out for ourselves!
I/we still hope to help you understand who’s-who and what’s-what. So, just do yourself a favor, click on every one of the following links and follow these pro sailors. They do amazing things, with amazing people, in amazing places, and take amazing photos. And thanks to the steady stream of “full-color” social media awesomeness that gets pumped into our smartphones at 4G speeds, we can be there right there with them when they’re doing it.
But don’t just talk my word for it. In fact, the whole idea for this story comes from my man, pro sailor, badass kite boarder, and Team 11th Hour Racing ambassador Brock Callen. See what he has to say about some of his friends on this list. And then let me know all that I’ve/we’ve missed. We’re starting with the pros but future lists will include, cruisers, and crossovers, and more pros, and regular joes, and families, and crazy-French-cigarette-smoking-solo-sailors, and maybe even a few where-are-they-nows. So hit me up. And give me your favorite instagram follows. I promise I’ll include them in a future installment.
Brock says: “With two America’s Cup’s under his belt, not to mention his time with Puma Ocean Racing in the Volvo Ocean Race, and Jim Clark’s 100-foot recordbreaker Comanche, Shannon’s feed is filled fast boats, fast cars, family, and lots of high-adrenaline joy.”
I say: “Brock is one of the more diverse guys out there. Between sailing all types of boats and kiteboarding on all different types of kite boards, Brock is constantly pushing the fun-o-meter to 11. In fact, he’s kiteboared over 100-miles from Antigua to St. Martin, sailed in regattas all over the world, and loves educating kids about Ocean Health as an ambassador for 11 Hour Racing. He also has some pretty cute kids that are often the focus of his time on the water.”
Brock says: After Kyle was part of the TEAM ORACLE USA’s historic America’s Cup comeback he stuck with the team and is now currently living it up in Bermuda, Australia, and everywhere in between. He occasionally posts photos of pretty girls beside him but mostly its holes in boats, goofy attempts at foiling, and this vid of his dad getting launched off an AC45 in Bermuda recently.
I say: “Weather he’s part of the team cracking off another offshore world record aboard the chrome and green MOD 70 Phaedo³, or doing the Sydney Hobart race aboard Maseratti, or sailing dingies with his girlfriend in France, 25-year-old Goodchild already has a resume most would kill for. He’s just getting started and after spending some time with him I can say he’s a pretty good guy as well–except when you try to keep up with him on a 7 mile run over insanely steep hills on St Barth.”
Brock says: “Blair is an Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion 49er sailor but his endeavors don’t stop on the Olympic stage. You can tell from his feed he loves living the ocean lifestyle—from spearfishing, to foiling, to jumping off Volvo 65’s—and he never seems to let up. This guy is still young so you never know what’s going to come up in the next few years.”
I say: “Amory is veteran onboard reporter of multiple Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup campaigns. His gripping, spray-in-your-face photography and reporting has put us right in the action almost a decade. But most people don’t know that I might have actually given Amory his very first paying sailing photography gig when I was a Senior Editor at SAIL. Totally serious. And it was super exciting—photographing a life raft test in an old warehouse in Fall River, MA. And you know what, I think he was wearing a slightly worn Brooks Brothers button down!”
Brock says: “Nick is a funny motherf*^%@# who never takes himself too seriously. He’s always posting random pics from Bahamas surf trips to Volvo stopovers in AbuDhabi and he always seems to bring his friends along. And guess who’s the guy riding the inflatable orca on the slide (off Jim Clark’s Athena) in Shannon Falcone’s instagram feed?”
Brock says: “Nina crews for Tornado Legend Darren Bundock in the Nacra Olympic Class. She’s young. She’s fast. And she’s one to watch.”
Also check out @couchsailorssf 🙂