From Shelter Island to around the world

PETER BOODY PHOTO | At 15, Amanda Clark became the youngest female to make the U.S. Sailing Team in the Europe class. She’s got a speaking date at the library January 4.

There are almost as many sailors on Shelter Island as there are sea shells on its ribbon of beaches.

But there’s only one Amanda Clark — and she’ll be at the helm of Friday Night Dialogues at the Library at 6 p.m. on Friday, January 4.

Amanda Clark had already earned her sea legs scalloping with her dad, Dennis, and granddad, “Toots,” when, at seven, she joined the junior sailing program at the Shelter Island Yacht Club. At 14, she won the silver medal at the Optimist European Championships and was a top female finisher at both the North and South American Championships. At 15, she became the youngest female to make the U.S. Sailing Team in the Europe class. In 2001, at age 19, she started sailing the double-handed 470s class, first realizing her Olympic dream at the 2008 Games in Beijing and earning a bronze medal at the 2011 Sail Melbourne World Cup.

For 14 days last summer, Islanders were tuned in to Weymouth, England, holding our collective breath as we watched or listened with pride and cheered our own Olympian through 10 sailing events at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Shelter Island’s world-class sailor has trained with Navy Seals in 40-degree water, traveled to more than 40 countries, made friends all over the world — and will share stories and photos at the library on Shelter Island, where she calls home.

Reservations are required; call 749-0042 to sign up. Friday Night Dialogues at the Library is free with donations greatly appreciated — and those attending can pick up a voucher good for a 10-percent discount off a regularly-priced dinner at either La Maison Blanche or Sweet Tomato’s.

Coming up: On January 18, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. will discuss local issues, and on January 25, Rita Plush will be here with her new book, “Lily Steps Out,” a “middle-age coming of age” novel. On February 1, Museum Director Terrie Sultan will give a behind-the-scenes look at the new Parrish Art Museum.