Sophie Ciszek appreciation post You meet certain kinds of people…

Sophie Ciszek appreciation post

You meet certain kinds of people when you race sailboats offshore. One kind in particular you tend to meet at the front of the boat.

Working the bow is a key specialty. An offshore racing sailboat is designed to be run from the cockpit; that’s where the “afterguard” hangs out, the skipper, helmsperson, sheet trimmers and grinders. The cockpit is a relatively benign environment, designed to protect its occupants from the forces around them.

The areas in front of the mast and above the deck are a different story. The motions are violent. It’s a zone of whipping lines and flapping sails, and in rougher conditions of waves that sweep the deck without warning, doing their best to carry any loose items — including humans — over the side. It’s a dangerous, unforgiving place.

But you need people willing to go there, up the mast or out on the bow, in the middle of the night, in storms, when things are breaking and out of control. And not just willing to go there. Excited to go there. To take that risk. To run forward without hesitation, pitting their frail human body against the forces of chaos.

That’s what a good bow person does. I’ve known a few of them in my life. When I was growing up racing offshore they were the sailors I looked up to the most. They were my heroes.

Sophie Ciszek is one of them, and I’m glad she’s on the boat. When the crew of SCA gets into trouble, she’s the one who’s going to get them out of it.

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Tags: vor, volvo ocean race, weareteamsca, sophie ciszek.

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