Imagine this: You are sitting in a nine-foot long boat by yourself, rocking gently up and down with the waves, a slight breeze cooling your face, the sun warming your cheeks. There are a few other people around you, but not close enough to pop your bubble of solitude.
Now, who wouldn’t want to do that?
Well, that’s exactly what 15-year-old OVS freshman Ryan Evan Simpson does on an almost weekly basis. He isn’t just any boy who loves sailing; Simpson happens to be a world-class sailor.
It all started one summer.
Ryan was eight at the time, and like many eight year olds, became bored. His parents, Eva and John, decided that he needed something to do, as they were busy working as accountants.
So, his parents entered him in a sailing class, coached by Mark Gaudio, at the Lido Isle Yacht Club in Newport Beach. Nine years later, and sailing is still his main hobby. He’s stuck with it for so long because he loves the relaxing feeling he gets while sailing.
“I feel amazing like I can fly,” Ryan said. “The water splashing in my face, the salty air are all things I consider home because I’m at home when I am sailing.”
As far as Ryan’s dad is concerned, there are many reasons why sailing is good for his son. In the Regatta league, the only way to advance through the levels is for a sailor to earn points by staying on course and keeping a steady pace. This teaches patience and persistence, as the races are long and the competitors are bound to run into bought patches.
“You have to keep working hard,” John Simpson said. “You have to keep yourself motivated even between a few points.”
Within the span of his sailing career, Ryan has won many accolades in his sport.
The award that meant the most to him is the Sportsmanship Award for his sailing class this past August. The competition that gave him his world-class sailor title was when he placed in the highest fleet at the Nationals for Naple Sabots, the type of boat he sails.
His Naple Sabot, a nine-foot-long, single-handed boat, has been through a lot, and he plans to take her to win a Regatta Award. The Regatta is a set of sailing races in which the top of each class receives an award. Aside from sailing for his own pleasure, he likes teaching his younger brother, Ethan, to sail.
Simpson encourages others to sail, although it takes a lot of perseverance.
“It takes a long time to develop excellent skills on the water,” Ryan said.