Thad's Maritime Odyssey: Sailing, Teaching, and Anchoring Community Spirit

Thad's Maritime Odyssey: Sailing, Teaching, and Anchoring Community Spirit

We would like to tell you about one of our customers who is a very valuable member of the sailing community and a terrific person! 

Meet Thad Van Gilder—a sailor, boat enthusiast, and an educator navigating the vast expanse of his maritime passions. Thad's story unfolds as a mosaic of sailing, craftsmanship, and teaching, creating a narrative where each wave echoes tales of boat building, academic orchestration, and the rhythm of the open sea.

Thad's foray into sailing stems from familial ties to a motorboat. Yet, it was a pivotal moment—the passing of his father—that propelled him into the windswept world of sailing. A pact with his mother led to the construction of his first vessel, igniting a lifelong passion.

Thad's maritime journey is a voyage through an eclectic fleet of boats. From the simplicity of a homemade 8' sailboat to the historical embrace of a 1981 Cape Dory 36, each vessel holds stories of restoration, exploration, and an unwavering connection to the open sea.

Cape Dory Sailboat

Beyond the helm, Thad is a steward of tradition. Mentored by the venerable old school of wood boat builders, he has mastered the art of forging nautical tools and casting items in bronze. His commitment to preserving these time-honored techniques adds an authentic cadence to the maritime symphony.

Thad's life unfolds not just on the water but in the classroom. As a high school music and science teacher, he orchestrates a harmonious balance between academia and the seas. The seasons dictate his rhythm—winters and springs dedicated to the meticulous art of boat maintenance and craftsmanship, summers serenading him with the rhythmic lull of open waters.

For aspiring sailors, Thad imparts pearls of wisdom—three cardinal rules: eschew boat loans, commence with a modest vessel, and embrace a hands-on approach to ownership. Anchors & Oars, a haven for quality boat parts, has earned Thad's reverence. Discovered six years ago, the establishment's commitment to salvaged parts with narratives aligns seamlessly with Thad's ethos of authenticity and durability.

Thad extends his passion beyond personal pursuits. Teaching sailing classes and offering guidance during late-night calls from novices underscore his commitment to nurturing a supportive sailing community. Anchors & Oars recognizes Thad as not just a sailor but a luminary—his wisdom and dedication greatly admired.

Speaking of Anchors & Oars, Thad's impact extends beyond the seas. Josh Davidson, owner of Anchors & Oars, acknowledges Thad's invaluable contributions. Thad's extensive knowledge and willingness to help, especially in aiding new sailors, resonate profoundly. It's this spirit of community and shared love for the maritime world that makes both Thad a beacon in the sailing community.

Looking forward, Thad envisions owning a DIY boatyard—a sanctuary for fellow sailors to maintain their vessels. Thad's commitment to sailing remains steadfast, embodying a life steeped in maritime expertise and a deep-seated love for the boundless blue. Here's to Thad and his maritime odyssey, where each wave echoes the story of a sailor, a teacher, and a guardian of the sea.

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