Sailor of the Week: March 11 - 17
Shields was 27 when he learned how to sail. He was on his honeymoon in
the Virgin Islands, and a five minute lesson, drawn in the sand,
convinced him there was nothing to it. Joe quickly learned that it
wasn’t that easy after all. “My wife watched in amusement as I capsized
every ten seconds,” Joe said. “I returned to shore humbled but not
When he returned home, Joe took on the sport like it was a full-time job. He read every book he could get his hands on; took every course he could afford, and joined the Moraine Sailing Club (MSC) in Pittsburgh, Pa. He moved his way up the ladder quickly in a lot of ways. Over the years, he boat a 12-footer, a 14-footer, a 19-footer, and now he sails a 23-foot classic Alberg designed South Coast 23.
importantly, for the past 15 years, Joe has been largely impactful on
the MSC and its members. He has been a true “jack of all trades.” He
has served as the newsletter editor, website developer, membership
director, education director, vice-commodore, and commodore. He also
recognized that the club needed more quality sailing instruction for
its new members and became a US SAILING certified instructor. He went
on to get certified as a US SAILING Instructor Trainer.
year, MSC celebrated their youth sailing camp’s 10th anniversary. They
also had their biggest group of adult “learn to sail” participants (80)
in the club’s history. For a small club based on an inland lake (Lake
Arthur), they have experienced steady membership growth over the years.
Also, Joe has taught many sailing counselor courses for US SAILING
throughout the region.
“We like to think we are doing our part in keeping the sport of sailing alive and well in Western Pennsylvania,” added Joe.