What Brigs Did for Me
Over 30 years ago I had the good fortune of sailing on the brigs. I was 16, athletic, ambitious, curious and a bit bored. I ached for independence and adventure – the suburban ravine system and my banana bike no longer held the appeal that it once did. Fortuitously, my mom found out about the boats and scrimped and saved enough to get me enrolled in what would become the beginning of that delicate, but ultimately successful, transition from a somewhat grumpy, dependent teenager to self-assured, confident young adult. I met an extrarodinary array of young people on the brigs – aspiring leaders, thinkers, malcontents, over-achievers, athletes, poets and pranksters. I felt instantly at home – what teenager doesn’t feel like a misfit at their core. Nobody knew anyone else, and yet we all instantly seem to fit like family. The hard work of keeping the sails trimmed and everything ship shape welded us together in a joyful state of exhaustion, adventure and constant learning. The boys were no better than the girls, coming from money didn’t get you out of swabbing the deck, and triumphantly pulling together to get to that ice cream cone on the other side of the lake was a conquest worthy of the earliest trans-Atlantic explorers. I found more than my sea-legs on the brigs, I found a belief in myself and others that launched me outwards and upwards.