Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Meet George

I'd like for you to meet George Saidah, Captain of Heart of Sailing.

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to join George and his crew for a daysail around San Diego Harbor. As all four of us sailors (baby C stayed with Grandma and Poppa) are nautical neophytes, we weren't quite sure what to expect. It was just ... perfect.

George is a retired guy who now runs an organization called Heart of Sailing. I'm not sure all of the details, but his story goes something like this:
After retirement, George was trying to think of a way to combine his ample free time, his love of sailing, and his urge to provide a valuable service to the community. In the middle of the night he shot awake in bed with this idea - which eventually became Heart of Sailing.

Here is an excerpt from the mission statement:
Although alternative forms of therapy such as art and music therapy, as well as horseback riding, have become widely accepted in the last few years, sailing is a unique environment for participants. Sailing encourages abstract thought and teamwork, develops problem-solving skills and ultimately helps one learn patience and self-respect. The experience of sailing is not limited to the physical, although for many participants, it is their first opportunity to enjoy the unique sensations associated with sailing: the feel of the wind, the movement of the waves, the sounds as the boat moves through the water, all of which are stimulating and exhilarating.
Some of this may be true, but we didn't do this for J as a "therapy". We did it for fun! And fun it was.
We were accompanied by another local family who have become dear friends over the last couple of years as our kids grow up together. Good company always makes a day more fun, less challenging, and more special.
With George and his crew, we four D's, and the 5 members of our friend's family, we had a pretty full little boat. Which was all the more reason for the kids to climb out on to the prow, which is a far different experience than riding on the seats in the stern. (That's pirate-talk for "front" and "back", for you land-lubbers).
We got to see some interesting traffic in the Harbor - including one freighter laden with brand new yachts - big, expensive yachts. I couldn't help but wonder of that was the only cargo currently traversing the 7 seas that, if the vessel sunk none of the cargo would be lost!

We also had the pleasure of meeting some Sea Lions. They were just basking in the rays of a beautiful San Diego day, choosing a buoy as their place of R&R.

And, just as George promised, as we rounded the tip of Point Loma, we caught a great view of the Point Loma Lighthouse. This lighthouse canot be seen from anywhere on land, as it is at the base of a high cliff at the tip of a peninsula. If you can see the lighthouse, you are officially in the Pacific Ocean!

In all, we have George's skills and generosity to thank for a fun and exciting day. Aye aye, Captain J!
Heart of sailing? Heart of gold!


Camille said...

How exciting!!! What a great idea.

kristina said...

We sailed twice with Heart of Sailing, first time with George----glorious memories.

isles said...

Love that little grin!

Niksmom said...

Heart warming! (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) George sounds like a pretty special captain, too. So glad it was a wonderful adventure for you all.

leila said...

Wow, great tip, I wanna go too! I live closer to the San Francisco locations, but I think I'd rather sail in San Diego where it's gonna be warmer!