“I’ve got some money and I’m taking some time off,” former governor Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday when reached at his home in Warwick by phone.
Chafee said he has worked all his life. But that’s changed since he withdrew as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. Being out of a job, however, doesn’t mean he’s been idle.
On Monday he returned from Clearwater, Fla., where he watched his daughter Louisa sail in the Nacra 17 World Championship. The regatta is a qualifier for the Olympics, and Louisa, who will sail as crew, and Bora Gulari, who is skipper qualified to sail in the Olympics, aim to take part in the games this summer in Rio da Janeiro. They are the only American team to be sailing a Nacra 17, a catamaran Chafee said is so fast, “you can’t keep up with it in an inflatable.”
Chafee said the Clearwater regatta was rugged. On one day, he said, the waves were six feet high and four feet apart. Louisa and Bora capsized, “but they got the boat up and finished the race,” he said.
Chafee said Louisa sets goals for herself. While at Brown, he said, she announced that she was going to be an All American Sailor. “I was thinking, you should first make the team,” Chafee said.
As for her bid to sail in the Olympics, Chafee said Louisa “picked the class where her weight was appropriate.” In the last six weeks, she also teamed up with Bora, who will “drive” the boat.
“She has had her struggles along the way,” Chafee said, disclosing that it appeared she might have to put her dreams on hold until the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. But the Chafee/Gulari team sailing in a fleet of 48 boats with sailors from around the world performed well in Miami. For a while, they were third in the fleet, and ended up finishing 12th.
It hasn’t been all sailing for the former governor, either.
Chafee joined his son Caleb in Australia, where he is studying environmental science for a semester at the University of Melbourne. Together, they took a six-week tour that brought them to New Zealand, among other countries.
Although out of the country, Chafee, for sure, has been watching the campaign back home.
Talking about Hillary Clinton’s seemingly early lock on the Democratic nomination, Chafee said, “I always thought there was room for someone…it just wasn’t me.”
On the Republican side, he thinks with Gov. Chris Christie out of the race, the focus from party moderates will be on Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. As for an explanation of Donald Trump’s popularity, he credited it to entertainment without much substance.
And what about Rhode Island?
Chafee said he’s a Rhode Island supporter and finds Gov. Gina Raimondo one, too. Asked about RhodeWorks and the plan to fund bridge repairs with truck tolls, Chafee said, “I’m wary of politicians who put the burden on non-voters.” He said he questioned the city’s tiered tax system when it was introduced and businesses, many of which are not voters, were taxed at a higher rate than voting homeowners. He feels the tiered tax system has served to hurt business and “it has never really worked.”
As for his daughter, who he calls “a real tiger,” Chafee only guessed what Louisa might end up doing after putting her mind to sailing. He said she “really liked mythology” and there has been some talk of pursuing a PhD and teaching. But then, he observes, she really stood out in Mock Trial, and there’s thoughts of law school.
Meanwhile, Chafee said the family is focused on Rio.
He aims to be there when Louisa enters the stadium with all the American athletes.