Snapshot of a Sailor: Kelsey Durham

By: Sailing Story

The Future of Sailing

Kelsey Durham was racing in Bermuda when the Commodore of the Manhattan Yacht Club noticed his ability on the water. In other words, Kelsey won a few races and soon Michael Fortenbaugh realized having Kelsey aboard Arabella, the flagship of the Manhattan Yacht Club, was a good idea.

Take a look at a story on Kelsey Durham racing in Bermuda

Currently, Kelsey is part of the crew of Arabella as it sails around the British Virgin Islands. He has already participated in the offshore passage making course as Arabella traveled from Bermuda to the British Virgin Islands and he has been a crew member on a few ASA/Manhattan Sailing sponsored events.

Spend any amount of time with Kelsey Durham and you quickly realize that if you are in need of a skipper for an important sailing race, he is your man. Also, if you just need a hard-working, smart sailor nearby, there might not be a better candidate. 

It is also clear that introducing young people to sailing early on will promote a lifelong appreciation for the sailing lifestyle.

“When I was six years old I participated in a non-profit program called the Whites Island Summer Day Camp in Bermuda. A typical day consisted of sailing and swimming located on Whites Island. My instructors saw my potential at a young age and furthered my access to the industry by introducing me to more opportunities.” Kelsey smiles the way a confident racer tends to do when he explains his beginning in the sport of sailing.  

We sat on the deck of Arabella and talked about sailing in Bermuda, “Bermuda is home to world-class sailors because of its great wind. The weather allows sailors to train year-round; thus, naturally providing a competitive edge.” The setting, a picturesque anchorage in the British Virgin Islands, would naturally be the place for someone who grew up in Bermuda to decide to work.  “I always loved the water and the introduction to sailing at a young age fuels my passion today.”

“As I learned more about sailing, I realized the amount of work that was ahead of me. Between the cost of travel and injury recovery, the support from sponsors and my family was unparalleled.” 

It is then that Kelsey shares an interesting observation, “Sailing is more accessible than most people think. There is no age limit or gender bias involved in this sport.”

When I ask him about how young people can benefit from sailing he responds, “Sailing develops team building and work ethic by pushing one’s limits through physical and mental exercise, along with extreme weather conditions.” 

“As I continue sailing, my goal will always be to push myself to the highest level of success. Continuing my sailing education allows my competitive personality to thrive. The water can be calm and relaxing but also very intense in a tournament setting. I enjoy match racing most because of its extreme, short-term and one-on-one orientation.”

You should keep an eye out for Kelsey Durham, there is a good chance he’ll be winning the type of sailing races that are talked about on the world stage very soon.  For now, you’ll find him on Arabella and hopefully in New York Harbor this summer.