How did you first discover Sailing and what attracted you to the sport?
My attraction to the ocean began when I took my first marine ecology class at UC Santa Barbara. I became enamored by the unknowns of what lies above and below the oceans surface. It was like a secret world I just couldn’t get enough of. Sailing and being so connected to nature and the elements felt like a natural progression and a great to get more contact. It felt simple and right. I was introduced to sailing by friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Do you have any sailing mentors that have influenced you along the way?
I began sailing as an adult. I never grew up saiIing or racing. I was 23 the first time I stepped onto a sailboat. I didn’t really follow any racing and my exposure was mostly what I could find online. I watched sailing travel channels! I still love catching up on my favorite YouTube cruisers channels as they sail the globe and learn how to sail in the same way that I did, trial and error! I consider those people to be my inspiration.They turned their sailing dreams into reality and thats a pretty awesome thing!
You are not only a weekend sailor, but a licensed Captain that has been working in the marine Industry for years! What inspired you down this path and what challenges have you faced?
When I graduated with an Environmental Studies degree from UCSB, the last thing I wanted to do was sit inside at a desk discussing and debating the world existing outside my office doors. I knew I wanted a job in the field. I just never imagined that I would gravitate toward the maritime industry or that I’d become part of the 2% of the worlds female maritime industry workers. At times, working in such a male dominated industry feels overwhelming and like an uphill battle. What gets me through hard times is having a friend group of strong, supportive, women (and men) as my cheerleaders. When I’m feeling down, I lean on those people for the support and confidence. All in all, I find working on the water to be fun, rewarding, and in my opinion, a pretty cool job. My goal one day is to captain high powered tug boats!
Looking back over the last 5 years what sailing milestone are you most proud of?
I can think of two. The first was achieving my ASA sailing instructor certification. It was a total shift of mindset. Rather than doubting my skills and looking to others, I had to take charge and make use of my skills and knowledge. The time for rapid knowledge absorption had ended and the time for refining of skills had begun. My students held me accountable by asking me some simple, and many not-so-simple questions. They brought my knowledege to test every single class and forced me to fill in any gaps I may have had in my sailing knowledge.
My second sailing milestone was returning from the longest and most rewarding sailing adventure of my life so far, sailing with my partner from our home in San Francisco down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and back. You never know if you’re ready to leave the dock until you take the plunge! We couldn’t have confidently left home without the help of our friends, and among the three sailors(all female!) we entrusted with helping us on various legs of our journey were Somand's very own Noelle Brewin and Laura Levy!
If you could be sailing anywhere in the world right now where would we find you?
Thats easy. I have dreams of warm winds and clear waters. I would love to be sailing in the South Pacific right now. If there are white sand beaches, and beautiful coral reefs, I'm in!
Do you prefer inshore or offshore racing? Any events that really standout?
While inshore racing is exhilarating, I love being able to sink into the rhythm of a long offshore race. It also gives you a chance to take in your surroundings. In one memorable OYRA Race, we saw so many whales that we began chanting “Sails not Whales!” in an attempt to get the crew to focus on trimming the sails instead of being distracted by the wildlife. It was more or less a lost cause. There was just so much wildlife and we didn’t want to miss it! We didn’t do very well in that race(haha), but it is still one of my favorite races to date! One day I hope to participate in a race across the Pacific, either in the TransPac or PacCup race.
What are your top sailing goals for 2021 and beyond?
You may have guessed at this point, but I love sailing for the adventure and connections to the outdoors. I would love to one day sail around the world with my partner and travel to distant shores. That probably won’t happen in 2021, but perhaps in the next 5-10 years.
What advice do you have for aspiring women in sailing?
If I can do it, so can you! Stop doubting yourself. Also, you’re never too old to learn how to sail( my oldest student so far was 71!). Sailing can seem like an intimidating sport to get into, so I highly recommend sailing with a club. Its an easy way to get involved with as much or as little commitment as you chose to put in and a great way to meet other sailors to bring into your friend group. The sailing community is warm and welcoming, so get involved!
To follow Vicky visit her instagram @vix986