How did you gain the confidence to race in single handed offshore events?
I had the boat for a couple years, we were planning on doing Pac Cup and figured if I was going to do that I should be able to sail the boat by myself. I started out slow by just going on little sails in the estuary. Then I began bringing the boat home solo from crewed races, playing around with self steering and figuring out how to gybe the spinnaker. Singlehanding is such a fun part of our sport, but I do have to remind myself to be careful all the time !
Are there any challenges you have faced as a woman in sailing? If yes, how did you overcome them?
As a woman there are many sailing challenges, for example there are times you feel like (or know you aren’t) strong enough to do a certain job on the boat. Those times suck, but there is not much you can do about it besides move to a position that suits you better. Do stuff that scares you. I didn’t take junior sailing and hadn’t skippered a boat before, but just had to start doing scary sh*t - like rounding crowded marks and doing starts not being sure where to put the boat. Just putting yourself in many years of challenging situations you start to get more and more comfortable. Surrounding yourself with great crew who can help you learn get you out of jams is also key.
What do you feel is the biggest difference between inshore vs offshore racing?
Offshore single handed racing is such a cool and interesting challenge. I have to tell myself to be careful and make different decisions than I would with a full crew - I love offshore racing. Inshore is also a really cool, hard & fun challenge (especially the one design fleets), but going offshore in little boats that just come alive in offshore conditions is such an awesome feeling.
Do you ever get scared?
Yes all the time! I had a major equipment issue right when I was finishing the [Singlehanded Farallones] Race the first time. The gooseneck bolt came out and the boom came off, I just had to stay calm and tell myself I knew what to do to fix it. I ended up being able to reattach the boom and finish the race all without taking the kite down. But that’s the best part of singlehanded sailing - all your failures are you and all your accomplishments are you! Make your own decisions!
What types of racing have you participated in and what format do you enjoy the most?
Basically I started racing by sailing on an express 37 Golden Moon with Kame Richards and Bill Bridge. That was such a fantastic experience getting to join a crew that works well together and has each other’s backs. you really learn quickly on a boat that has their sh*t together. I have mostly done buoy racing and ocean racing, but the most fun thing I’ve done is The Coastal Cup - we came in second, it was pretty epic! The breeze was up and it was an awesome experience! I’ve also done some crewed Hawaii races.
Are there any bucket list events and/or sails you want to do?
I really want to go on a Baja surf trip! Not a race, just a slow, relaxed, off the grid sail!
Do you have any advice for women that are nervous to take the helm?
It’s OK to be scared.
Do you have a favorite sailing memory or milestone that you’re proud of?
Yes, certainly competing in the Singlehanded Farallones Race, but also skippering the Pac Cup. Doing that was a really big deal & huge responsibility, I was in charge of my crew’s safety crossing an ocean! It was a lot of work and a great experience!
It would be cool to see more women skippers out there!