Sailing is a negative growth sport. At the end of summer 2010, sailing instructors Taylor Walker and Jay Greenfield hatched the idea for Team Chance. Their goal was to make sailing more affordable, accessible, and appealing to the general public. They didn’t think it was fair that in order to sail, you have to know someone with a boat or belong to a yacht club; and regardless, it isn’t cheap. Accessible community sailing centers are scarce in most areas. Walker and Greenfield were fortunate enough to grow up sailing in yacht club programs, but realize not everyone is so lucky. They want to change that, and Team Chance is their vehicle to get more people, especially children, on the water, having fun, and learning.
Over the winter, Walker and Greenfield teamed with Captain Chris German, the founder and director of Connecticut Community Boating (CCB), a non-profit in Bridgeport, CT. German, who shares their passion for sailing, has already had great success in getting hundreds of children from varied backgrounds on the water. Team Chance is now a subsidiary of CCB, striving to achieve a similar mission. The three have been collaborating on how to expand CCB by making sailing available to people in the eastern end of Long Island Sound with hopes of opening a new chapter. Team Chance is exploring different waterfront options locally, where they hope to have a fleet of boats available to run a no cost junior sailing program, and also a “Free-Sail” on weeknights, where local families and friends could come down to use their fleet and instruction. By introducing our program and message to the community, we hope to spread our love for sailing.
This spring, local sailors Bill and Rebecca Turner, members of Thames Yacht Club, donated their boat, Stealth, to Team Chance. Stealth is an Evelyn 26, a locally designed and built racer from the 80’s. Stealth temporarily resides at Sound Boatworks in Westbrook, CT, where the team is conducting a refit to make her race-ready this season. The refit is made possible by the generosity of MDCapital of Madison, CT, Sound Boatworks, Mystic River Mudhead Sailing Association, Samson Rope, Evolution Sails of Mystic, CT, MDC Machine Design of Stonington, CT, Atlantic Marketing, and individual donors.
Stealth will serve a number of purposes this summer. The team has put together a competitive racing schedule, featuring events such as Storm Trysail’s Block Island Race Week, Figawi, the Mystic River Mudhead Donzo Wednesday Night Series, and many other Long Island Sound regattas. Through Stealth and a competitive race program, Team Chance can gain recognition in the sailing community, fundraise, and promote our message to those who are already fortunate enough to be on the water.
Team Chance, as a subsidiary of Connecticut Community Boating, can accept tax-deductible donations. For more information on the team, to follow our progress and to find out how to donate, please visit our website, and add us on Facebook.! Also, feel free to contact Taylor and Jay directly.