for US Continental orders over $99
If you are a sailor in Arizona you pretty much knows Victor Felice, past car racer, past sailing only, current Sailing full time promoter. He is a dedicated and passionate sailor looking for new ways to introduce non-sailors into our sport or activity. His latest idea was to bundle a promo offer with Hot Air Balloon flying and Sailing, we will keep you posted about who got more air.
1. What was your first sailboat? How old were you when you started sailing?
My first boat was none other than a new Mirror 10 . It pretty much was the 'default' boat in Malta (where I grew up) around the mid-seventies. Several friends also sailed Mirrors and we had a very active race season. I was about 15 years old at the time and sailed all summer and raced the rest of the year.
2. Who introduced you to sailing?
As on any Mediterranean island, sailboats were everywhere. In my case, I just wanted to sail. There was no formal school or introduction. I read the manual, hoisted the sails and off I went...Probably not very well but once we started racing in all conditions, one learns pretty quickly! After a few years, I moved to Switzerland and later found out my father donated my 10 to a local boy's orphanage!
3.Which has been your most memorable regatta?
This January's Leukemia Cup in Arizona - because it rained! To most that would mean absolutely nothing, but for those of us whose foul weather gear is earing socks, it was a blast to race in 'different' conditions.
4.Do you practice any other sports?
Yes... catamaran sailing! Very high calorie burn and I always discover a new muscle that aches - but what a rush!
5. Tell us about the Tiller & Kites Program?
What started with one J/24, Mermaid Rescue, quickly grew to a fleet of 3 J/24s, 3 Nacra catamarans, a Coronado 15, 2 Santana 20s, 4 Catalina 25s and a couple more. It never did make much sense to anyone but me to own so many boats, but it did become the foundation of Tiller and Kites. My biggest fear was that the 'we will do tomorrow what we did yesterday, and the day after that too' sailing environment would quickly bore me to the point of disinterest. Trying to shake up and change things from within proved to be a task I did not have the time or temperament to deal with. Instead we took a different course and looked at creating a new sailing community and mentality based on 21st century business and economic and social reality. One of the first things we did was join International Yacht Training as an accredited school. I was already a certified bareboat skipper and instructor with IYT. We then secured a lease with the Maricopa Water District and Pleasant Harbor and set up shop at Lake Pleasant. Next came 'Tumbleweed Sailing', a fractional ownership program using the nearly identical Catalina 25s. Out tag-line is Exceptional Sailing. Yes, desert sailing can be quite exceptional, but because if there is a way to get someone on the water and sailing, we will find a way, even if personal exceptions have to be made.
6. How the community benefits from the program?
There already is a sailing community in Arizona. But it is small. Most people do not realize that Metro Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the U.S. with a population of 4.5 million people. Many moved here, used to sail and have no idea that they can still sail here and usually in conditions totally different to what they are used to. We are working with different groups, companies and agencies to grow the sport, the lifestyle and step by step make Arizona a 'destination' for sailing as well. Lots of golf if you like that too!
7. How about the Soar & Sail program?
This is an interesting program we are just starting with the largest Hot Air Balloon company in the State - go soaring for a couple of hours and then sail for a few more. There are surprisingly many similarities between the two, but for tourists and visitors to see the area from a balloon and then a sailboat is a fantastic experience.
8. What is your relation with the IYT?
Set realistic goals and have a good plan to achieve them. Sailing is not the cheapest activity, but you do not need to go into debt to enjoy yourself. Be prepared to make many new friends, listen to opinions but take advice with a grain of salt! Read, study and never stop learning. Plan on most Monday mornings being spent telling everyone what you did last weekend. And most of all, include your friends and family.
9. What would be your advice for new sailors to stay motivated?
2018 is going to be a very interesting year with our own 'signature' events, regattas, activities and a slate of new programs being introduced to Arizona and then replicate them in other markets. Stay tuned for our All Women team!
Don't forget to subscribe to our social media channels!