10 Essential Questions: Tom Madden

Meet Tom Madden, a Sailor who thinks there's nothing better than getting out on the water and sharing the experience of learning to sail with a new student.
Kristina Ciari Kristina Ciari
July 17, 2015

For our member profile this week we talked to  Tom Madden, a Sailor who thinks there's nothing better than getting out on the water and sharing the experience of learning to sail with a new student. 

Name: Tom Madden
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member Since: March 2014
Occupation: Civil Engineer for WSDOT
Favorite Activities: I love to sail, racing mostly, but I usually take two weeks to venture north to cruise in the San Juans and Gulf Islands. I am also into music, astronomy, telescope making, photography, woodworking, and computers. One of these days I hope to finish the airplane I'm building as well.

10 Essential Questions

How did you get involved with The Mountaineers?

Alan Vogt asked me to join as a skipper in the sailing division of The Mountaineers - to help teach the sailing class of 2014. I told him "I'll join the Mountaineers if you join my yacht club." He agreed, so I have been active in The Mountaineers ever since.

What motivates you to get outside with us?

There is nothing better than getting out on the water and sharing the experience of learning to sail with a new student. To see their smile and look of accomplishment of making the boat move using only the power of the wind, and using the skills they just learned in a class is very rewarding. To be able to help hone those skills and find new friends and "sailing buddies" is just that much better.

What's your favorite Mountaineers memory?

My first two evenings out with a group of 4 students learning to sail, and watching them learn and their knowledge grow as they sailed. Perhaps the best is when I mentioned, "anyone want to see what the boat looked like out of the water, come by next Friday evening." I mentioned that they were welcome to come help paint the bottom as well. One brave Mountaineer showed up, helped paint, and her work was very much appreciated. she has been part of the crew ever since. (Thanks SW!)

Who/What inspires you?

I would like to say I am most inspired by Dennis Conner, the skipper who won the America's Cup, then lost it, and then won it back again. I would like to say that, but that would be a lie. What truly inspires me is the smiles and sense of teamwork that a sailing crew develops, and the pride and sense of accomplishment I see after a race that has been fairly sailed, using nothing but the wind and the setting of the sails using the skills the crew has learned, and doing well.

What does adventure mean to you?

I learned many years ago that it is the journey, not the destination. To be able to sail and sail well, and then to continue to work as a team and push the limits of what you have learned is what truely make the sailing trip just another cruise on the water.

Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Other: Gotta get up early if you want to get things done, but you can't miss those beautiful sunsets either.
Smile or game face? Other: Smile - after a well sailed race and fun time with new friends, but game face only at the start of the race!
Superpower? Ability to visualize the wind moving across the sails, the interaction between the wind and the water, and the ability to find the best place to be. (OK, I wish)
Post-adventure meal of choice? Frosted animal cookies, a nice fresh apple, and maybe some Krispy Kremes...
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? I would love to have the skills of a strategist on an America's Cup boat!

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