Olympian Mark Reynolds Gives AYC a Perfect Day

PHILIP FREEDMAN

The Perfect Day with Mark Reynolds;

So here I am in the desert away from the ocean and yet I am spending more time around sailing than I have in the last ten years. Coaching the Arizona State Sailing Team and learning about sailing in the desert has been something very special for me, but when I heard Mark Reynolds was coming to speak to our yacht club the wheels of time stopped.  25 years ago I was racing against Mark trying to make the US Olympic Team, and now, here he was coming out here to visit us in the Arizona desert!

Mark Reynolds is simply the sailor’s sailor, as pure as it gets. Two Gold Medals, one Silver Medal and four trips to the Olympics.  He is definitely one of the “big boys” of sailing.

On Tuesday April 12th  my daughter Carina and I picked up Mark at the airport and brought him to the Tempe Town Lake marina where the ASU sailing team was waiting. The kids were thrilled – and a little nervous – to meet him. He spoke about his college sailing experiences and answered questions for almost an hour.

He explained the importance of having the boat ready to race including the sanding down to 600, polishing and finally the coating, and explained how hard the jib works and how it gets three times more wear than mainsail.

We took photos with everyone showed him the ASU campus and then were off to dinner with AYC Commodore Joe Motil and his wife. Over the course of dinner it became very clear how surprised Mark was at the active sailing community we have here. He said he had no idea this much sailing was going on in Arizona.

At the yacht club meeting Mark spoke for over an hour and you just knew that this was something very special. I have never watched everyone so on the edge of their seats at a club meeting. He talked about the Olympics, about working and sailing with his dad and Dennis Connor, Malin Burnham, Lowell North and many other stars of our sport.

It was especially interesting and exciting hearing how after being in eighth place after two days of racing in the 2000 Olympics he was still able to turn it around and win gold. Persistency wins!

Mark attributes much of his success to his sail design innovations and one of his loves is still sail making.  He also remains active in the Star Class working with the International Olympic Committee to keep the Star Class sailboat in the Olympics.

After his presentation Mark took questions and signed posters for the kids, and it was truly breathtaking to see one of the great stars of sailing right there in the room with us all at that moment.  Mark Reynolds at the Arizona Yacht Club.  Truly we do have an amazing club, and for me, with all of you and Mark together, it was simply a perfect day.