Nov. 12, 2002
Karen Dobbs: From novice sailor to old salt
by BEN GARDNER,
Two and one-half years ago, Karen Dobbs — orchestra manager, professional trumpet player and Web page designer — decided she needed to have an adventure. She became a novice sailor.
Karen did some research and (as a major milestone birthday present to herself) purchased a brand new Hunter 26, which she christened “High Cs.”
Karen lives in Charlotte, but rather than sail on nearby Lake Norman, she prefers the beauty of Smith Mountain Lake and keeps her dreamboat at Pelican Point Yacht Club.
Karen’s sailing career started off with a bang — a really big bang. During a “learn to sail” event sponsored by Blackwater Yacht Racing Association, “High Cs” was rammed by a larger boat causing a big jagged hole in the side. Undeterred, Karen had her boat repaired and came right back on the water.
Determined to learn, Karen sailed often, accompanied by her faithful sidekick, Gabby, a Yorkshih-Territzu and became active in BYRA events. (She also designed and operates the excellent BYRA Web site). Like most novices, Karen was usually competing for last place.
As her time on the water increased, her skills improved, but then disaster stuck again. Last year, a freak dry-dock boat yard accident crippled “High Cs” again, and Karen was understandably discouraged. High Cs needed extensive repairs.
This past Saturday night, however, at the BYRA Annual Awards Banquet, Karen’s patience, persistence and practice paid off. The “bad luck novice” Karen Dobbs (with her crew, Karen Litz) received the third place trophy for the BYRA Fall Series, and, astonishingly, the first place trophy for the Michelob Cup Regatta in the non-spinnaker class B.
Karen Dobbs is a novice no more!
Ben Gardner is a native Martinsville lawyer and avid inland sailor. The Skipper and wife, Marty, are the stewards of three children, three grandchildren, and the good ship, Blunderbuss. Join Ben for his how-to-get-started advice, profiles of local sailors, and musings on inland sailing near Roanoke. Have a question for the Skipper? Want to sound off or share a sailing experience? Send your comments to Ben’s mailbag. Read past columns: 2002 archive, 2001 archive, or 2000 archive.Learn to sail! Click here to try the sailing simulator.