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The Sydney Hobart Race Is a Family Affair for the Scotts

The sailors and designers in the world of North Sails are some of the most inspiring people on the water, and we’re hoping to share more of their story with you. “Letter to my younger self” is a series told from our North Sails ambassadors. In each article we bring to life their advice and personal journeys centered around the question: if your “now-self” could give your “younger self” advice, what would it be?

Dear Younger Manny,

I have so much I want to share with you in this letter. I feel like I’d make you (15 year old me) pretty damn stoked—but I’ll try to keep things short and sweet. 

First off, don’t worry, you’ll get your chance at sailing in the Sydney to Hobart—just like dad. I know he’s got quite a few races on you, but you’ll eventually catch up, and, in the journey, you’re going to make him (and yourself) really proud. And, don’t worry, you’ll even get to sail a few with him. 

Don’t fool yourself though, the Sydney to Hobart won’t be easy. In fact, the race will be quite miserable at times. You’ll be scared, frustrated, and wondering why in the world you’re doing the “Great Race”. The complete exhaustion you’ll face is overwhelming, but you need to push through because when you cross the finish line and pull into Hobart with hundreds of people cheering you in, congratulating you on the enormous accomplishment, the pride you’ll feel is indescribable. That experience alone is completely overwhelming.

Throughout your journey though, whatever you do, don’t forget your roots. Do not, under any circumstances, forget the Scott family motto.If you feel frustrated with something, take a moment, calm down, and do not give up. Just like dad said, that’s it: “Don’t let it beat you.” 

You’re right to think about it every time you’re faced with a challenge (and believe me, you absolutely will!). Just relax a bit, roll with it, and take the opportunities you’re offered. Stay humble and let yourself make some mistakes—it’s the best way to learn.

Your love for sailing will not waver. Ever since your Boxing Day tradition, from when you were a little kid and you’d go down to the Yacht Club with dad to see him off the dock, you knew you wanted to race in the Sydney to Hobart. Remember when you used to draw pictures in kindergarten of what you wanted to be when you grew up? See if you can find them – there’s one picture of you and dad standing together on one of the boats he sailed the race. You knew then you wanted to be like dad when you grew up, although you also knew you wanted to make sailing a career, not just a hobby. 

With that in mind, just do what you love. Over the years, your biggest obstacle might just be yourself. There’s always going to be that anxious voice in the back of your mind, trying to throw you off. You know the one: “Am I good enough? Do they think I’m actually good, or are they just saying it? Is that the truth?” Turn the voice down and really listen to the feedback you’re given. Take it on board as much as you can. You’re a perfectionist—but that’s a good thing, it will get you far (including an apprenticeship at North Sails).

Stay driven and thirsty for knowledge. Keep absorbing the information and stay curious. The boats, the sails, the rigging, and how it all works together to get you from one place to another is really cool and it will only get cooler and more fascinating. What will surprise you, is how connected we all are. Not just about sailing around the world, but there’s something that connects every single person on the planet in some way or another. The more you look for those connections to people and places the more you will find them, and that’s pretty incredible.

This year (2021—the year I’m writing this letter to you) will be your third race with dad, and your third race overall. You will be sailing on King Billy. To experience it all with dad standing next to you is pretty cool. This will also be his 15th race so make sure you celebrate extra together. You’re a lucky kid—but you already know that.

Sail smart and sail safe,

📸 Andrea Francolini Photography
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