Seamanship lessons from a yacht captain

There’s a lot to learn from a day with a professional yacht captain.

During my day of instruction with Capt. Kelly Gordon, she allowed me to take the wheel of the largest vessel I’d ever run in nine years of boating.

Over the last year or so, there has been quite an influx of -boaters joining the community. This influx includes seasoned participants and novices, popping up in major port cities like Newport, Rhode Island; Miami, Florida; and Chicago, where Gordon mans a privately owned 75-foot Sunseeker. Gordon often catches these new boat owners trying to tackle the cerulean waters of Lake Michigan, as well as the locks.

“This season, a lot of boats have been sold, typically anywhere from a 30- to 50-foot range. I also see quite a few couples renting boats, and there is a lot of yelling,” she tells me. “I can’t stress enough how important communication is for safety and success on the water.”

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By Tonya Russell

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