33,000 sailors/1 amazing instructor
3:45, oh no! I have to run! Tossing my journal, pencil, and camera into the backpack, I jump off the boat, and take off running down the dock. Recalling the code, the numbered buttons are quickly pushed into the black box by the gate gate. I'm out and dashing for dock E10. In support of individuals and couples in gaining the skills and confidence to “cruise," I get to meet with Penny Whiting!
33,000 women have passed through the Penny Whiting Sailing School since its start fifty years ago. Presently, Penny is teaching a fourth generation of women, grandchildren to her first students. She's well-known to have fostered a love of sailing to anyone with a desire to learn. In speaking with two of her former students, Penny's beliefs are reiterated using her same words, "If it's hard to do, you're doing it the wrong damn way."
Coming from a long line of see faring parents, one could say it was only natural that Penny spent her life on the sea. Growing up on the sea with three sisters myself, I know it is not just upbringing which keeps one out there. Whether Penny's drive came from her passion with sailing, the camaraderie of the boating community, a love for adventure, or the mesmerizing effect of the sea, Penny not only embraced a livelihood teaching on the water, but she also built her own vessel. In fact, Penny has built several vessels in partnership with her late brother, a business which began when she was only sixteen! That took GUTS! From where does one gathered such confidence?
Sailing is a means to a greeter end. It provides an opportunity to "...watch someone do it right, watch someone do it wrong, and watch someone bugger it up," says Penny. It is a physical accomplishment that proves you have the strength to overcome any challenge you desire, achieving much more than you may have thought. It builds stamina to problem solve, to safely move outside your comfort zone, and to try and try again. Both physically and mentally challenging, sailing can also be pure pleasure and romance.
Penny had a vision to teach people to sail. Her path had bumps and she adjusted navigating around each one. Now, at a new turning point, Penny continues making adjustments. Paint brush in one hand, a small can in the other, Penny Whiting is painting a new future for herself.
A new road, uncertainty abounds, the possibilities are endless.