From Captain Jan Miles in response to being honored by Tall Ships America with the Lifetime Achievement Award:
Many thought streams have been running through my head since the award. They get jumbled up in their rush to be viewed more closely- each quickly shoved aside by another and another. My sincerest appreciation goes to all those responsible for nominating me.
At this year’s conference, Executive Director, Bert Rogers reflected on the beginning of Tall Ships America 40 years ago. I was reminded of sitting in on the very first conference in Newport, when it was decided to form the American Sail Training Association. I was mate aboard BRILLIANT at the time.
Surrounded by those Captains and management types I felt out of place, although I was honored to be included and hear their long range thinking and philosophical perspectives on the value of such an association. Back then the working class sail vessel fleet was small but showing signs of growth. BILL OF RIGHTS and HARVEY GAMAGE were recent new-builds, some five or more years after Sloop CLEARWATER.
Today the fleet, now termed “Tall Ship,” has not only grown and spread throughout the country, but has done so with a focus on “training” rather than mere recreation. While this training focus is of the programmatic “education curricula” formula, the vessels I have sailed seem to have been advocates of the “experience” of sailing, with the “educating” coming from the requirements of the vessel to accomplish safely its voyage.
This sometimes occurs with youth trainees aboard, mostly with adults looking for “what it feels like”, but always with a majority of 20-something, professional crew seeking to learn by doing- experiencing more over greater distances. It seems there has been a “train the professional sailor or sail-trainer” program at play for most of my sailing, or it may be better to say “develop the professional sailor”.
It is truly a deep personal honor to have contributed to our profession in a manner seen as a valued contribution! I am truly blessed by my career and deeply humbled, yet extremely appreciative, of the honor of this recognition by my peers, shipmates and colleagues for what they see as my contribution to the whole of our community.
Many, many thanks to all of you!