Emily Early

By Don Sanford

Every so often I think that it might be time to give up this sport. Then I look around to some of the other boats and realize that I'm still "just a kid." At least that's how I felt every time I looked over at Annie Allen and Emily Earley.

Last week Emily Earley joined the ranks of our Celestial Members when she passed away on April 16. I first encountered Emily in 1977. That was my first year as a member and I'd signed on with Don Ermer. In one of our first races that season, I recall finishing several boats behind another E Boat skippered by Dr. Mendenhall who was then quite a bit older than either of us Don's. Then I met his crew, an older woman and a young kid. The older woman was Emily and the kid, well that was Bruce Renwick, I think. By the time I came on the scene, they'd been sailing together for some time, perhaps decades, which no doubt accounted for their performance on the water. Teamwork and a keen eye for the wind count for something in boat racing, and they continued to outsmart us for most of the season. A few years later, Emily and Dr. Mendenhall made the transition from his E Boat to his new Kirby 25, Annie Allen. After the Dr.'s death, she stayed aboard with her new skipper, Bruce Renwick. A few years ago, she missed part of the season after an accident in the cockpit. Emily, always the enthusiastic sailor, was back the following season. Windy days or calm, Emily, lover of nature and environmentalist, was always happy to be aboard and out on the water where she and her skipper would frequently have their way with the rest of the fleet.

The next time someone says, "You're too old for this sport, why don't you give it up?" remember Emily. She would have been 95 this June.