Kim Nguyen is one of Cal Sailing Club's (CSC) most dedicated volunteer dinghy instructors. If you've ever been down for Saturday morning lessons, you're bound to have run into him. Prior to getting his Junior rating, Kim helped out the club by keeping everything clean and working the dock at Open Houses.
Kim first moved to the Bay Area in 1975, but spent stints in Alaska, Montreal, and Seattle before permanently establishing his roots in El Cerrito in 1987. He joined CSC in 2008. When not sailing or working, he enjoys reading, especially history, math, and stuff about boating. Kim was kind enough to take time to answer a few of our questions:
How did you hear about CSC, and when did you join?
I accidentally walked into one of the open houses back in August of 2008. I did not have a chance to go on the boat ride, but I signed on to become a member on that date.
What is your favorite boat to sail?
I love the new Venture. It's roomy, very stable and goes well if there is enough wind; otherwise, I am really happy with the Bahias.
What motivates you to volunteer at CSC?
I got a lot more from the club and her members than I can ever give back. Thanks y'all.
What is your favorite thing about CSC?
My favorite things? Open houses and all the people involved in them. It's amazing to see a bunch of strangers (the public) being put on a little Bahia and then getting along so well with each other and with the skipper. I guess that's where the saying "We're on the same boat" comes from.
What is the most terrifying moment you've had on the water? What about the most exhilarating?
The most terrifying for me was my first lesson on a JY15. It happened not long after I joined the club. A skipper offer to give me a lesson, and I eagerly took up the offer. When we were out, the wind was blowing hard, the skipper started to enjoy his ride, and completely forgot about his student. I was so terrified I did not return to the club for a while. It took me almost 18 months from that terrifying moment to my most exhilarating moment at the club, the moment Michael Scalet told me, "The boat is yours." I took it as an approval/signing off for my junior rating. By the way, he never actually put his signature on the white card... I think Peter Kuhn signed me off years later.
Do you have any sailing-related goals for the near future?
I would like to be able to retire within 3 years, buy my own little boat, and sail it to Seattle.
Which are better, pirates or ninjas?
In term of salary, I think pirates get paid more.
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I think we need pictures for this series
Here are more quotes about Kim:
"He's awesome, he does so many lessons, and they're real long, not short like [name deleted]. The other thing which was so nice, he took [another name deleted] out for a dinghy lesson. He's everything that CSC should be."
"Good job! (where's my treat?)" (that's official)
"Watching him from the bench when he's teaching is a thing of beauty. He'll stay out till docktime if students want to. And he got back to teaching sailing after breaking his back!"