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Hooked On Tinsley: Member Spotlight On Mark Adams
Mark Adams has raced and cruised extensively and has accumulated almost 100,000 ocean miles. When it came time to join a yacht club with his family, Mark was drawn to StFYC largely because of Tinsley. It was on the island that his two daughters learned to sail and love sailing and where the family shared several great memories. Learn more about Mark’s racing and cruising adventures and the family’s time on Tinsley.



When did you join the StFYC and what was your inspiration for joining?
I joined StFYC in 1996. I’d been sailing and racing since I was a kid and though I really didn’t need to join for racing reasons, we got hooked because of Tinsley Island. It provided us a summer place to take our daughters, Kate and Sarah. It was the first place we were able to let them off the leash, so to speak, and it was compelling in that aspect alone. Beyond that, the experiences, friendships and memories Tinsley has provided have proven it was a great decision and opened up an entrée into the complete StFYC experience, which subsequently provided so many sailing and racing opportunities.

Tell us about some of your most memorable moments while sailing/racing?
Learning how to sail was probably the most important thing that has ever happened to me. I can trace pretty much everything back to that point. It’s taken me all over the world, across oceans, both racing and cruising, and given me great experiences and friendship.

Most memorable? I’d say seeing Tahiti appear over the horizon after 23 days at sea racing the Tahiti Race when I was 18. That was pretty special and served as a counterpoint to all the dinghy racing I’d done up to that point. Crossing oceans is a petty heady thing, and I’ve accumulated almost 100,000 ocean miles. I’d love to get my daughters out there on the Blue Highway someday.
Also right up there was racing in Oslo in the International Knarr Championships (IKC) with Kate and Sarah when they were 15 and 13, crossing the fleet of 25 on our way to winning on one of the days.

We have been chartering the same boat in Maine for over 30 years. We try to have a father-daughter cruise there every chance we get and that has become a special thing. More recently I’ve been doing a lot of Master and Grandmaster level team racing. It’s great fun to go to a regatta and sail against folks you’ve known for sometimes 50 years, ever since you first met at a junior regatta back in the day...


You have two daughters, Kate and Sarah, who are also members of the club. What inspired them to join?
Well, they were kind of pushed! I wanted them to have experiences and exposures that come with membership. 

What are some of your most cherished Tinsley Island memories?
Having the girls grow up there really has been such a satisfying experience for all of us. They don’t remember a time when Tinsley wasn’t part of their lives. Saturday night barbecuing is always special. It’s such fun to see all the members cooking together—somewhat competitively. “Winning” the BBQ is always something to strive for. I thought I might have had a chance once, but Rick Wallace destroyed us all by grilling a complete, huge octopus. My lobsters didn’t stand a chance against that.

Your daughters raced collegiately and are now pursuing exciting careers. They sailed with you in many local, national and international regattas while growing up. How did sailing influence their lives and the relationship you have with them?
I’ve always thought that sailing, especially racing, is unique in that it really is intergenerational. I grew up sailing with my father’s friends, and there were always junior sailors on board.

As an adult, when we travelled to the IKC, we were hosted by friends and fellow competitors. In Oslo, we stayed with a Norwegian family in their 300-year-old house, on an island in the Oslo fjord. I think Kate and Sarah understood then that sailing provides wonderful experiences, beyond just the on-water component. My daughters have said that sailing gave them a whole boisterous second family of uncles and aunts looking out for them. They have gone on to sail with many of them.

Thank you to Jennifer Dunbar for submitting this Sailor Spotlight! If there is a fellow member you would like to recommend for the spotlight, we encourage you to reach out to the Executive Race Committee.

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