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Sailing Club of Washington

March 13, 2021 Member Only Membership Meeting

Zoom meeting invitation will be sent to members via email.

The March 13, 2021 Member Only membership meeting will include special screening of "Celestial" [a film by Jack Gordon]

Meeting agenda:  
Board updates prior to the screening - 7:00 - 7:30 
Screening 7:30-8:00
QA with the film director at around 8:00




A group of students use their knowledge of the forgotten art of celestial navigation in a prestigious sailing race to discover a pure form of sailing and a new connection to the sea.


Electronics have permeated into every aspect of modern society, making us reliant on them for basic everyday tasks like communication and research. In the sport of offshore sailing, where the night sky has been used to navigate for thousands of years, most people would be hopeless without their GPS. Today, few people have had the opportunity to learn how to navigate using celestial bodies.

Celestial follows a crew of students onboard the schooner S.S.V. Tabor Boy, as they compete in the Marion to Bermuda Race navigating exclusively with celestial navigation. Directed and produced by Jack Gordon, the film gets an intimate look at life onboard the vessel and the intricacies of navigating celestially.

Told through the perspective of the three Watch Officers and the Captain onboard Tabor Boy, the film shows the value of learning to navigate celestially and the deeper connection it produces between the sailor and the sea. Onboard the vessel for the entirety of the race from Massachusetts to Bermuda, the film captures the mental and physical strain of offshore sailing

A group of students use their knowledge of the forgotten art of celestial navigation in a prestigious sailing race to discover a pure form of sailing and a new connection to the sea.


28 Minutes


Jack Gordon is a documentary filmmaker from Massachusetts and a student at the University of California, Berkeley. He graduated from Tabor Academy in 2017, where he was introduced to the art of celestial navigation when he took Captain Geil’s course. He is the director and producer of the short documentary The Ocean Knows No Borders (2019) and the feature documentary A Century of Tabor Rowing (2018). In addition to creating documentaries, he has created a number of videos and films for major national companies, organizations, bands, and sports teams across the United States. Jack is also an intern at the Pan-Mass Challenge, the single largest athletic fundraising event in the country, where he leads their video marketing efforts.


Captain “Cap” James Geil

In early 1985, James Geil was hired as a mate aboard the Tabor Boy under Captain George Glaeser. In 1987, he assumed command of Tabor Boy upon Captain Glaeser’s retirement. He holds a US Coast Guard 500 ton license - master of steam, motor or auxiliary sail on any ocean. While at Tabor, Captain Geil has sailed more than 75,000 miles with hundreds of student crew. He transited the Panama Canal with Tabor Boy in 1993, an historic event for the schooner. Captain Geil has sailed the schooner in almost every kind of weather, shepherding her through several gales at sea and a couple of hurricanes at anchor. Through his wide experience and quiet confidence, Cap, as he is known to his crew, has taught scores of students to love and respect the sea.

Chip Connard

S.S.V. Tabor Boy Executive Officer (XO), Tabor Academy ‘19

Sofia Vakhutinsky

S.S.V. Tabor Boy Senior Officer, Tabor Academy ‘19

Connor Cook

S.S.V. Tabor Boy Senior Officer, Tabor Academy ‘19


Like the main characters in the film, I attended Tabor Academy for high school and was introduced to celestial navigation through Captain Geil’s course my junior year. Throughout four years of high school, that class remained the most interesting and exciting course I had enrolled in. Though I have had a few opportunities to experience offshore sailing, I never got the opportunity to put my celestial navigation skills into practice.

As my documentary and video career has accelerated over the past two years, I’ve had an urge to eventually create a film about celestial navigation in the Marion to Bermuda Race. Growing up in Marion, I was well aware of the race and its unique character as the only race that maintains a celestial class. When I learned this past winter that there was a group of Tabor students preparing to compete in the celestial class of the race, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to make my idea into a reality.

It is my hope that this film will raise awareness of the fascinating art of celestial navigation and grow an appreciation for a purer form of sailing that deepens one’s connection to the sea. The fact that Tabor Academy continues to give students the opportunity to learn such a unique and transformational skill is truly unique, and it is something that should be appreciated tremendously by those that have had the opportunity to take the course.

This film will speak to the deep connection people have to the sport of offshore sailing, the way it can intimately connect you to the sea and the stars, and the sense of freedom and adventure that it instills. To see the joy and passion of the students from racing and navigating the vessel will show the value in disconnecting from the technology around us and rediscovering this traditional form of offshore sailing.


Sailing Club of Washington  [SCOW]
PO Box 25884  •  Alexandria  •  VA  •  22313

We keep our boats at Washington Sailing Marina on Daingerfield Island
1 Marina Drive  •  Alexandria  •  VA  •  22314

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