Cover of book by authors Phil and Nancy Rink describing the year they sailed the Caribbean and Bahamas with their children. The Rinks spoke at Rotary recently about a different sailing adventure: five years in Pacific Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. cO(courtesy photo used with permission)
BY LINDA HULL
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
“You need to be self-sufficient and pay attention,” advised Phil and Nancy Rink as they spoke to Rotarians on August 10 about their five years living aboard the Bright Water, a seafaring adventure that began in 2012. Their presentation explained how they rebuilt their 46’ motorsailer; outlined their route sailing along the Pacific Coast from Washington State to Mexico; detailed their plans, preparations, and equipment; and described the vast, empty beaches they explored along the Sea of Cortez, its abundant sea life, and the camaraderie among the other sailors they met during their travels.
Despite encountering a reef unmarked on charts, experiencing a broken rib, and enduring a painful encounter with a large fishing hook, both Phil and Nancy assured us with smiles, “Nobody died.”
As they spoke about their years on the water, they shared exceptional photos they took underwater and on land. It was a program perfectly suited for summer daydreams.
Phil, who was born and raised in Los Alamos, graduated from Los Alamos High School in 1978. Both he and Nancy earned degrees in mechanical engineering at the University of New Mexico. In 1985 they moved away from White Rock, but have recently returned to its friendly neighborhoods.
As entrepreneurs, the Rinks have worked for themselves, for large and small electronics firms, and for nuclear and aerospace companies. In the 1990’s they developed the FISHEYE Underwater Video Camera, the first product of its kind in the industry.
In 2001, the Rinks embarked on a one-year cruise to the Bahamas and islands of the Caribbean with their children, Lena and Pender. Their story is told in great detail in Mermaid: Our Family in Paradise. The book not only tells the story of the Rink family at sea, but provides equipment lists, planning calendars, anchorages, and tips for families who would like to consider a lengthy sailing trip. A video of the Mermaid trip may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spQL5xGFWYo
In addition to being avid boaters, the Rinks have both coached soccer and swimming and have organized science fair competitions.
For more than 10 years, the Rinks have been writing and publishing Jimi & Isaac books for kids – “short, fast-moving, easy-to-read realistic fiction books, a genre that has been forgotten by the publishing industry.” In a 2019 presentation to the Rotary Club of Los Alamos, the Rinks told about this series of books, the importance of story-telling, and how the Jimi and Isaac books teach problem-solving. The books are geared to middle-school students, especially boys, and to “kids who don’t like to read.” They are written in the “tradition of Tom Swift and the Mad Scientist Club series.” The Jimi and Isaac series and Mermaid: Our Family in Paradise can be purchased through local booksellers, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
The Rotary Club of Los Alamos meets in person Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00, in the Community Room, Cottonwood on the Greens, at the golf course. A Zoom option is available by contacting Linda Hull, Rotary Club vice-president, 505-662-7950. Hull is also happy to provide information about the Club and its humanitarian service.