Sailing in December? But sailing is a summer sport, right? Well, down under it’s summer right now and a few weeks ago, some of the top U.S. Paralympic sailors competed in the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships in Melbourne, Australia. We’re heading into an Olympic/Paralympic year, and the Olympic Sailing competition will take place August 5-20, 2016 and the Paralympic Sailing events will take place from September 7-18, 2016.
I came across a couple of inspiring videos from a documentary, “Uncharted Waters” following athletes on U.S. Sailing Team Sperry and featuring Annie Haeger, Briana Provancha, Sarah Everhart-Skeels, and Cindy Walker, who are vying for a spot on Team USA (see links to videos below). Long before each of these sailors learned the difference between a bow and a mast, an American named Eleanor “Ellen” Prentiss Creesy was breaking barriers navigating the Atlantic and Pacific seas.
Most likely, Ellen Prentiss Creesy is not a household name, but thanks to DARE THE WIND by Tracey Fern, readers are introduced to a New England trailblazer who was drawn to the seas and had a passion for speed. Learning to navigate a schooner or clipper is as difficult as navigating life’s obstacles, and the sage advice she received from her Papa is one I added to my list of favorites: “A true navigator must have the caution to read the sea, as well as the courage to dare the wind.”
In 1851, she made history as the navigator while her husband was captain of a sleek clipper ship, the Flying Cloud, which set a world record for speed sailing from New York around South America (Cape Horn) and up to San Francisco. It's an inspiring and remarkable account of a 15,000-mile, 89-day record-breaking adventure at sea.
DARE THE WIND is a picture/middle grade book sure to appeal to would-be sailors, those interested in maritime or women’s history, and all who have “saltwater in their veins.” Readers who liked this will also enjoy Fern’s BUFFALO MUSIC about another history making pioneer, Mary Ann Goodnight. The gorgeous ink and watercolor illustrations by Emily Arnold McCully capture the period. I especially enjoyed the voyage scenes with Creesy steering the Flying Cloud through rain, snow, and treacherous waters. The Author’s Note and Glossary along with the voyage map on the endpapers are a bonus and provide informative background details.
Author, Tracy Fern - Website
Illustrator, Emily Arnold McCully - Website
U.S. Sailing Team Videos "Uncharted Waters"
U.S. Sailing - Website