Aaron grew up in Walnut Creek, but didn’t get the chance to sail until he was an adult. He went to college at the University of Puget Sound, a liberal arts school near Seattle, where he rowed on the crew team and led canoe trips for the university’s outdoor orientation program. After college, he spent four years teaching science and helping run a wilderness camp in Maine, where he also led sea kayaking expeditions on the Maine Island Trail. He had sailboat envy the whole time, and, once he finished grad school in Boston, bought himself a membership at Community Boating to finally learn how to sail.
When the pandemic hit, he went deep down the wooden boat building Youtube rabbit hole, which is how he first learned about the tall ship Matthew Turner. He took his dad on the Matthew Turner’s 2021 Father’s Day sail, and was instantly hooked; he asked Captain Adrian how he could become a volunteer crew before the ship returned to the dock. On his first volunteer shift in July, the sail was canceled, so Aaron was put to work whipping lines with the largest needle he’d ever seen. Even though his hands were still sore, he came back the next weekend to sail and has been a regular ever since. Sailing on the Matthew Turner has been his first ever experience crewing a boat, and what a boat he’s gotten to learn on! In the absence of Call of the Sea programming this winter, Aaron joined the Modern Sailing club next door and earned his first two ASA certifications. With all due respect to 30′ Catalinas, he cannot wait to set sail on the Matthew Turner again later this month.
Sailing the tall ship has taught Aaron a lot more about physics and engineering than he expected! He’s really enjoyed the explanations from volunteers Randall and Mike about block and tackle systems, mechanical advantage, and rigging. And he’s loved getting sailing and navigation lessons from the whole crew. He is also grateful for the amount of time and care put into helping him finally understand how knots work.
Aaron says it’s been extremely fun and satisfying learning about the specific type of crewing & teamwork on tall ships: the call and response of mate and crew, the order of operations, the collective effort to keep things orderly and quick. He loves how different it is from the teamwork in field sports and the office. His favorite jobs onboard are serving as lookout, and helping put away the mainsail at the end of the day, a satisfying tactile experience as they fold the gigantic sail into a beautifully stowed shape. Aaron’s favorite sailing days on Matthew Turnerare special events with family celebrations & family sails on weekends, which is when he volunteers. He enjoys seeing people, especially kids, being mind blown by the experience. There is a specific facial expression of awe when they watch the yards move and sails being unfurled.