Book makes learning to sail a breezeThe...


Book makes learning to sail a breeze

The captain tells you to trim the sails and you reach for scissors. When other crew members refer to the dinghy, you suspect they mean you.

At a loss when it comes to sailing -- and at deciphering the often complicated books written about it? Di Goodman and Ian Brodie have written an instruction manual that, well, even an 11-year-old can understand.

"Learning to Sail: The Annapolis Sailing School Guide for All Ages" (International Marine/McGraw-Hill, $12.95) was conceived about two years ago, after Mr. Brodie and his son, Russell, then 11, took Ms. Goodman's beginners' class at the school and tried to read more on the subject. Finding nothing in the bookstores that was geared to children and/or other beginners, Mr. Brodie suggested to Ms. Goodman that they write a book themselves.

"I've always taught beginners, and I always remember what it was like for me when I was a beginner," says Ms. Goodman, 32, who began sailing in her teens, "which for an Annapolitan is late." She started hanging around the sailing school, offering to fold sails or clean the boats, and eventually began teaching there about 15 years ago.

Ms. Goodman, who also worked in textbook publishing, just completed her first year of law school at the University of Baltimore.

For Mr. Brodie, 58, the book is "a complete change from my day job" as Washington correspondent for the Times of London. He joined the Times 18 months ago, having written previously for another British paper, the Daily Telegraph. His sense of a void in the market for a simplified sailing manual turned out to be on target -- the first publisher approached with the idea immediately accepted it.

The illustrations are by Joan B. Machinchick, whose designs are well-known in Annapolis.

A winter where snow must have been on the ground about 300 straight days. A summer where the average temperature seems somewhere around the boiling point.

Pretty strange weather we've been having lately, huh?

Nonsense, says Alan Robock -- and he should know. As Maryland's state climatologist, it's his job to know the Free State's weather backward and forward. And he refuses to get worked up about some weather patterns he sees as fairly ordinary.

"People have been saying that to me for the past 20 years," he says of suggestions that Maryland's climate seems to be careening wildly from one extreme to the other. "The fact is, it's normal for the weather to vary."

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Robock, 44, joined the meteorology department at the University of Maryland in 1977. He lives in College Park.

Dr. Robock says he chose to study meteorology over other xTC sciences because, "It's something I can experience, not something I have to analyze in a test tube or an accelerator."

As state climatologist, a volunteer post he was given officially last December, he and his staff -- UM students and weather watchers at 100 sites throughout the state -- gather and distribute information to anyone who needs it: farmers working out irrigation schedules, ski resorts trying to plan their season. If you want to know what the state's total snowfall was in January 1935, he's the man to call.

Chris Kaltenbach

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