I was asked to give a little talk tonight at the Women’s Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay (WSA). They had a speaker cancel so it was very last minute notice. Thankfully it is a casual crowd! I will be speaking side by side with one of my favorite humans and sailing mentors, Kathy St Amant, to a group of women and men whom I admire and respect greatly. Needless to say, I feel very honored. They asked us to speak about racing in The Sunset Series, and our experiences of what it takes to put together a crew and campaign our boats. Since it is my first season, and Kathy’s umpteenth, we will have mostly different perspectives to share, but I believe that the common thread will be the way we view our crews and the experience of being on the water.
When I decided to race this year, I knew that I wanted an all-woman crew. People often ask me why, and my response is always the same. I am passionate about getting more women on the water, and what better way to contribute to that than starting with my own boat! Plus, I knew that it would be a positive experience, even before we gathered for our first race. I had a hunch that we would foster an environment of peace and mutual respect, that we would have respectful communication, that we would lift each other up and support each other at all times, and, that there would be no yelling. Well, the no yelling thing is actually a rule on my boat, but I had a feeling that I would never have to enforce it!
Please know that I have nothing against sailing with men, and in fact, I love it most of the time, and many of my mentors are men. I will say though, that sailing with an all-female crew is a pleasantly different experience than sailing with a mostly male crew. The energy is generally softer, kinder, more uplifting, more positive and more centered around personal and team growth. I am sold!! I chose my team based on the variety of experience we all encompassed, and the potential for us all to learn and grow together. The biggest “secret” about choosing my team was in choosing key people who were experienced racers who could guide our team, mentor me, and help me to become a better sailor.
This is actually one of my secrets in life: Always surround myself with people who know more. This pushes me to learn and to always do better. I love being mentored and I love mentoring. This is why I chose my team the way I did. I fell in the middle of the spectrum on racing experience, and the circular nature of our mutual inspiration was amazing!
As I think about what I will talk about tonight, I think of all that my crew taught me. From the badass racers that are my tacticians to the less experienced racers (badasses in their own right), each woman taught me so many things! Things about: my boat, sailing, repairs, love, friendship, bravery, humor, sail trim, and humility. Every one of us showed up with an empty cup every day. We showed up open to what we had to learn from each other. Every one of us consistently extended love and warmth to each other and across the water to our competitors (even the ones who didn’t offer that in return). This makes me more proud than any trophy or standing we could have won.
As I wrote about in my last post, our season, and the experience of sailing with these amazing women surpassed every hope and expectation I had. To quote Carrie, It was “pure fu*king MAGIC”!
I have officially been bitten by the racing bug, and am very excited for all of the adventures that await Team Cassiopeia and me! Our motto is Love Wins, and I can attest that it surely does!