Arizona's Sailing source for
Of course, the primary boat is the bright pink J/24 MERMAID RESCUE. Taking a step back, it did occur to me that although entertaining, that really is a less than genius idea.
A second primary boat? I could justify it; but I just could not explain it!
I always wanted to create an ‘art boat’, similar to what BMW had once done with their cars or the German J/70 Sailing League did in cooperation with a famous German artist and the United Nations UNESCO Project for the 17 mainsails reflecting global environmental goals. But, ours had to be local, indigenous, hand-painted with a cause and a purpose. It had to tell a story. Now that is a good idea!
My neighbor, Benjamin Metelits, is a therapist at the Veterans Administration in Phoenix, Arizona. One call to him and he immediately put me in touch with Beth Dietrich (Recreation Therapy Supervisor), who in turn introduced me to Josh Parks (Adaptive Sports Coordinator). Josh then invited Kristina Ritter, an accomplished artist who also works at the VA Art Therapy program. With a few emails, phone calls, and a visit to Tiller & Kites sailing program at Lake Pleasant, the "art boat" named REBEL YELL, was born.
From my perspective, I did not want to have any influence or input in what the boat will look like. Tiller & Kites, my sailing school, provided the boat, the paint, rags, tape, and materials. The rest was left completely to the veterans to represent whatever they wanted, however they wanted. Yes, they do have a story to tell, and the boat is full of subtle nuances and suggestions that in most cases only another vet will recognize and appreciate.
REBEL YELL will be sailed in the future as part of the VA Adaptive Sports program that Tiller & Kites is introducing to Lake Pleasant. This boat will create interest and support for the program.
For those who think Arizona is ‘the desert’, you have no idea what you are missing! Yes, we sail. A lot! We have amazing weather, a superb marina, lots of sunshine, winds from drifters to epic squalls laced with thunder'n'lightnin' and 'blowing dogs off chains'. It's a great community and lots of new residents in Peoria and the North Valley are always impressed at what we have and what we do... in the desert! REBEL YELL is just the start."