By MARY HURSH Guest Writer
“My father, Andy, taught me everything about sailing. He started me off on an Opti. He sailed next to me and told me what to do. He made me feel comfortable and he made it fun for me. He had a great time and that made me have a great time,” said Emily Allen, fleet captain for the newest fleet at the Wawasee Yacht Club, the Inland 20s.
Allen, a 2014 graduate of Wawasee High School, and her family have been members of the club since 2003. “At first, I was not a water person. After becoming more interested in sailing, I asked my dad if I could go out on the E-scow with him and do some racing. I knew my sister and brother enjoyed racing and so I thought I would too,” said Allen.
From the Opti to the Sunfish and then to the E-scow, a 28-foot long racing boat, Allen has had fun . “My sister helped me on the E-scow to get the asymmetrical spinnaker in and out of the bag, extend the pole line, hoist the halyard for the tack line can bring the sheet out to the pole. She worked the lines and I flew the spinnaker. John Fleming completed our E crew.”
Allen finds sailing the Inland 20 with one crew member continues the fun of sailing. “This boat is a good step before racing an E-scow or a bigger racing boat.”
The I-20 has a tunneled hull with an asymmetrical spinnaker tacked on a retractable bow spirit. It is 20-feet long and made of fiberglass. Two people race the boat. The captain reads the wind, controls the main, and tries to get to the best spot in the starting line before the horn goes off. “I enjoy the whole feel of the boat. It is solid. It goes fast. It is very controllable and it reacts to your movements,” said Allen. “Staying in the wind and watching for shifts is key. Also, having good communication with the crew really helps me do better.”
Allen has taken part in many regattas at the club. She was also an assistant to Jeff Herdrich, director and instructor for the junior sailing program offered every summer at the club. “I set up boats, helped with the classroom lecture, and instructed children from a club boat. She was given the Nancy Blackwell Award in 2014. This award recognizes a woman in the club who has given time and service to the club and who exemplifies the best of sportsmanship. “Julia, my sister, a 2008 recipient, presented the trophy to me at the club’s annual awards night.
After the racing season, Allen will leave her home in Leesburg and return to Purdue University where she is a senior. She is studying interior design and hopes to get a commercial or residential design job in Chicago. She is also the fleet captain of the Purdue Sailing Club. They sail the 420s, a collegiate boat. “We have eight boats in our fleet and we go to different colleges for regattas. I actually met my boyfriend through the sailing club.”