Sailor of the Week: Oct. 22-28
Ned Nielsen of Hilton Head Island, S.C. is this week’s US SAILOR of the Week for the persistent efforts he’s made to grow the sport of sailing. Ned has led the charge in growing the fleet at the South Carolina Yacht Club from just two boats a few years ago to 11 boats today.
The fleet races every week thanks to Ned’s efforts to encourage and motivate sailors to participate. Ned is involved in every aspect of organizing these races from promotion to race management to teaching and coaching. After each week’s races are complete, he invites participants into the club house for beverages, and they watch video of the night’s races.
Ned has run several learn-to-race seminars with material he’s studied from Dave Perry and Dave Dellenbaugh presentations. He organized a team of sailors to compete in the Dennis Conner International Regatta in New York City. Three members of the team had never sailed a J24 prior to starting practice for the regatta. Ned worked tirelessly to train his team for competition. They finished seventh out of 19 teams.
Last month, Ned organized a team of H2O racers for the Leukemia Cup in Savannah, Ga. However, Ned’s focus went beyond racing for this event. He challenged his team to raise $10,000 in memory of fellow racing competitor and friend, Bunky Helfrich. Ned’s team met the challenge and accomplished their goal.
Ned started sailing in high school on IOR boats. “The first time I saw someone put up a spinnaker, I was hooked,” added Ned. He mentioned how fortunate he is to have belonged to the Severn Sailing Association and crew for Stewart Walker in a Soling. This gave Ned opportunities to sail with some of the best sailors all over the world.
“The adventure of the sport is what I enjoy most,” mentioned Ned.