Howard Donner

Onboard since 1999

OCSC: What sailing experience did you have before you came to OCSC?

HD: My family used to vacation by a little lake in the Sierras when I was a kid. I always pretended that I knew how to sail and figured out that if I randomly moved all the controls, I could usually get from one side of the lake to the other. In other words, I had no idea what I was doing!

OCSC: What do you like about sailing?

HD: I used to be into rivers/ white water rafting but as I get older, rivers seem pushy -- they force me to go down specific channels. I now like the feeling of openness that sailing provides and am stimulated by the number of dimensions it has -- meteorology, tides and currents, boat systems, etc. And, the more I get into it, I see that there's never a moment on a boat where there isn't an adjustment you can make to improve things. It's like an ongoing puzzle.

OCSC: What brought you to OCSC?

HD: My house in Northern California burned down in a forest fire, so I did what all people do in times like these -- I turned to Mom and Dad. It was my first time back in the Bay Area since I was 18. When I'm down, the way I respond to stress in my life is to learn something new -- this was the point that I decided I would learn how to sail. I'd always been into wilderness and the prime wilderness in the Bay Area is the Bay! I asked a couple of people about schools in the area, and they said that the best instruction to be found was at OCSC. It also didn't take me long to figure out that this is where the wind was happening!

OCSC: Why did you decide to become a member?

HD: I joined OCSC so I could rent REALLY nice boats! I couldn't believe the quality of the fleet.

OCSC: What sailing goals do you have?

HD: My goal has always been to scam my friends into thinking that I should be their skipper on bareboat vacations. Hey, it's cheaper to have me come along than hire someone else! I've done this every year and I hope to continue. I do have dreams as well about something bigger -- it's a huge step when you go outside the Gate. I would someday like to have an experience where I'm really introduced to the rigors of passagemaking.

OCSC: What do you do when you're not sailing?

HD: Until recently, I spent 1/3 of my time as a film-maker, 1/3 as an instructor of medicine and 1/3 as a commercial pilot. At this point, a lot is changing for me but I can say that my love professionally is wilderness medicine. Spending time on expeditions, being outdoors -- this is what I'll always be drawn to.