#ThanksCoach, Charlotte Thompson

My coach whom I would love to acknowledge is Charlotte Thompson. She has been the largest influence on me not only in sailing but my life.

Screenshot 2018-09-28 09.48.53When I started sailing in the Ontario Boom program she was still a student, and my first time ever in a boat she was my skipper. I got a blood blister and she wrapped it in a bandage for me (Eight year old me was very impressed). A few years later she started her own sailing school on our lake completely from scratch. We went from two weeks of sailing to the whole summer, all thanks to Charlotte. This got hundreds of new sailors out onto our bay to start learning, including myself for I began to get my CANSail 3&4 levels.

During my 5 years at Gloucester Pool Sailing School, she has NEVER missed a day of its running, makes every sailor feel special, ensures that every single lesson has a theme, has an incredible attitude towards sailing, and inspires everyone to be as passionate about the sport as her.

She would go out on the water with me in a Laser for the last part of my CANSail 4 because she was determined for me to get my level. Sometime around year two Charlie pulled me under her wing and started letting me sit in on lessons as an instructor. By the third year, I was fully volunteering as a “junior instructor”. I had found my passion. She taught me how to set marks, make lessons, teachdifferent types of people, and make me fall in love with the sport even more. It made me feel so special that I was asked to try and learn to teach sailing with her. I eventually got my instructors qualifications and lived out a small dream of mine of officially coaching beside my biggest life influence.

Now a few years later, she isn’t coaching sailing as much anymore but still is a coach to me. In the last few weeks a few sailors from Trent University and I have established a brand new “Trent University Sailing Team”, and she still under no contract or payment has been helping us figure out logistics, help on where to purchase boats, and legal liabilities.

I can’t stress how much she means to the hundreds of kids she introduced to sailing, the parents who saw incredible positive changes in their kids lives, the fellow staff who always were power by her energy, myself who will constantly be saying “I want to be like her when I grow up”, and the sailing community.

#ThanksCoach, Kat Gatley

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