by Derek King

Over the last few decades, sailing has gotten a reputation, not entirely undeserved at times, as the pastime of the privileged. While it evokes romantic imagery of billowing sails, and cruising silently along the water, it also brings to mind thoughts of yacht-clubs and blazers, of J. Crew, and of the strata of the super-wealthy.

This polarizing imagery is disingenuous to the broader sailing community however, and to the history of the sailboat, whose origins reside with fishing, shipping, and exploration, and not with excess and decadence.

This heritage is readily apparent in all aspects of the Clara Brown, a small sloop designed by the famous naval architect John G. Alden, and the current flagship for the Sail Buffalo Sailing School. Founded and headed by Piere Wallinder, the Sail Buffalo School’s program is designed to inspire a passion for the open water throughout the greater Buffalo community, especially in those who wouldn’t normally be exposed to sailing.

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