Friday kicks off Island Yacht Club’s 28th Annual Women’s Sailing Seminar. It seems fitting that we shine our Latitude spotlight on Lauren Eisele, a principal instructor at the seminar for over 20 years.
How did you start sailing?
When I was 7 years old I started sailing dinghies at a community yacht club program on Great South Bay in New York. I was hooked. I spent my youth racing and teaching there, and the rest is history.
High School and College Sailing
I went to a high school that had a sailing team and a semester-at-sea program. At age 15, I was at the helm of a 54-ft ketch, sailing offshore from Rhode Island to the Caribbean. This trip solidified my enchantment with offshore sailing and the challenges, mysteries and beauty of the sea.
Subsequently, I continued to sail on my competitive college varsity team, racing A-division around the country. I majored in environmental science to protect the oceans.
The Move West
After college, I moved to the Bay Area, where I have been racing, teaching, and coaching for the past 34 years. I have developed and implemented sail training programs for local sailing schools and yacht clubs, served as a mate on several charter vessels, and been a principal instructor for the annual Women’s Sailing Seminars for over 20 years.
Aside from teaching and coaching, I have gone cruising offshore, worked on charter vessels, delivered yachts, and honored my ‘call of the sea’.
In 2017, I acquired my USCG 50GT Master Near Shore Captain’s license and joined the 24th Baja Ha-Ha rally, where I met my current business partner, Jerry Morgan. After the Ha-Ha, we started Captain Morgan’s Sail Charters, a San Francisco Bay eco-charter business aboard his Hunter 44 Whimsea.
A mermaid at heart, I spent my professional career protecting the Bay while working for both the ports of San Francisco and Oakland. A highlight of my career was working for the Port of San Francisco as the lead environmental-compliance manager for the 34th America’s Cup. I got to be part of the race logistics, planning, and event-management teams.
What is your favorite thing about sailing?
Being on the water allows me to connect with the forces of nature, and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of civilization. Sailing stimulates my curiosity and constantly challenges me to be smarter, safer and more humble.
What do you love about teaching sailing?
I teach sailing because it is so rewarding to witness my students transition from being fearful to confident. I love it when they sense that feeling of freedom that comes with the possibility that they’re ready to take the boat out themselves and start their own sailing adventures. There is something so gratifying when my students can feel and anticipate the wind and waves and how they affect the boat.
Learn from Lauren and many other amazing women instructors this weekend at the Women’s Sailing Seminar. Register today with Island Yacht Club.
Our series of the Grand Poobah’s Mexico memories continues with his latest story about Santa Cruz Island.
There used to be a working ranch on the Gherini property. They raised cattle and did some farming.
When I first visited in the 1970s, we gave the Mexican ranch hands a case of beer. They reciprocated by inviting us to dinner, sharing some of their Santa Cruz Island homegrown weed, and giving us horses to ride.
They even took us up to the airport when the supply plane came in. The pilot gave us a stink eye.
I wouldn’t expect to be given dinner, weed or horses these days.
The gals in the photo — Cherie, Caren and Dona — thought about buying the place and creating an all-women’s Green Acres Collective. They’re seen here checking out the rolling stock, some of which looked as though it might have needed a little maintenance.
Alas, all of them decided to keep sailing instead.
If Santa Cruz Island had more than sporadic internet — come on, Elon, get that Starlink going! — we’d spend a month there every summer.
Santa Cruz Island has an interesting history that you might want to read up on before stopping there.
Gary Clausen of Twin Rivers Marine Insurance has been serving the needs of his clients throughout California for many years, from the offices located at the Antioch Marina in Northern California. Those who know Gary personally, know that in the ’70s he was involved in the boating industry in Southern California. It was at that time that a dream started to materialize into the idea of having an office there.
We are honored to announce the realization of this dream with the opening of the Twin Rivers Marine Insurance second location on the Balboa Peninsula. Although numerous Southern California clients were represented from the Bay Area offices, Gary felt it was time that these clients were given the same personal face-to-face service that his NorCal clients receive.
The new office next to Balboa Boat Yard will be managed by Roy de Lis, who in his own right is already well known to the area and is a great fit with the Twin Rivers family.
The office, located at 2600 Newport Boulevard, Suite 106, Newport Beach, CA, 92663, will be open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to assist with all your marine insurance needs. Roy can be reached at (800) 259-5701.
Vendée Globe Start
The 2020-21 Vendée Globe started on Sunday afternoon off Les Sables-d’Olonne in western France. In most years, the start of the race is an impressive affair, with hundreds of thousands of spectators hanging out in town, visiting a race village, and lining the breakwater to see the racers off. This time the pre-race dock activities and access were slammed shut on the fans after the recent COVID lockdown in France. So it was a gloomy tow-out for the boats and solo skippers as they headed for the start line. Then the start had to be postponed for more than an hour to wait for a “sea mist” to lift.
Once the countdown started everyone was eager to go in a nice 12-knot southeasterly. One was just a little too eager. Louis Burton on Bureau Vallée 2 started in front. But the third-time Vendée Globe skipper, racing the boat that won the 2016-17 edition and holds the race record, was over early. It happens to the best of us. The Vendée race rules for an over-early start are kind of like that for the Three Bridge Fiasco in that you don’t head back to restart, but instead take a time penalty. But that penalty is rather draconian. “He is penalized according to the strict race rules, required to halt his race for five hours — stopping racing and resuming from the same point — before 38°40′ 00″ N, so just north of Lisbon,” stated a press release.
A Front Comes Through
On Monday, the fleet split into a smaller pack heading south around a restricted shipping zone and the bulk of the fleet staying north in moderate winds. Then on Tuesday a front came through, increasing winds to 40 knots and making for a bumpy ride.
Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss reported, “The next big thing will be crossing this front. There is this light patch off Finisterre, so I would prefer to be farther west, but I am not, and then we will be sailing towards the front, which will be interesting. If I can I will try and get a bit farther south and avoid the worst of it.”
Damage in the Fleet
Damage has already occurred, with Armel Tripon on L’Occitane en Provence seeing mast damage. Tripon has diverted toward La Coruna, Spain. Kevin Escoffier on PRB had to fix a faulty drain valve on his keel box. “It is Jacuzzi mode this morning on PRB,” he said.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking is Charal, which was heavily favored to win. The boat is broken, and Jérémie Beyou is heading back to Les Sables-d’Olonne. Technical director of the Charal Sailing Team, Pierre-François Dargnies, explained the problems: “It started around 2 p.m. on Tuesday when a sheet block tore off, which sprayed carbon all over the cockpit.” Then Charal ran into something while Beyou was trying to fix the block. “With a torn-off sheet block base and a damaged rudder, knowing that it is possible that the foil might also have been hit, and a broken runner… that is quite a bit for the third day of the race,” added Pierre.
The race rules leave the start line open for 10 days after the gun, so Beyou has until Wednesday the 18th to fix a lot of things then restart.
The rankings on Wednesday have Maxime Sorel on V and B Mayenne in first, and Charlie Dalin on Apivia in second, Benjamin Dutreux on OMIA–Water Family in third and Yes We Cam! with the entertaining Jean Le Cam in fourth. Go Le Cam!
California is known for a spectacular coastline and 12-month sailing season. Less well known is the eastern ‘shoreline’, which sits near one of the best sites in the world for land sailing and setting world sailing speed records: the Ivanpah Dry Lake bed. We recently received the film trailer below for a film about the Iron Duck – a legendary iron ‘sailboat’ that set the world speed record on California’s ‘inland sea’. We previewed the entire 30-minute documentary, which is an inspiring tale of the human spirit and how people are driven by curiosity, passion, creativity and desire to take on great challenges.
Southern California filmmakers Bowsprit Company sent in the description: “It almost ended before it started, with the crash of their first-speed yacht record attempt, the disaster that broke the short-lived Wood Duck. The Iron Duck tells a story of how Bob Dill and Bob Schumacher went on to build and sail the fastest wind-powered vehicle in the world.
“In 1999, they shattered the 100 mph mark and secured a place in the record books that held for ten years to the day.
“The wind-powered world speed record was an obsession of Dill’s who thought he could break it with the initiative engineering ideas he had to build the Iron Duck. Bob Dill’s infatuation with the speed record drew him to drag his best friend Schumacher along across the country every year for a decade. They persevered through unpredictable playa conditions, design iterations, and entirely self-funding an ambitious record attempt. The campaign was a success with Bob Schumacher, who set a new and seemingly unbeatable speed record at 116.7 mph. However, both friends have always wanted for the trophy to be in Bob Dill’s name.
“Today, we follow Bob Dill as he brings the legendary boat out of retirement to sail it one last time (his 70th birthday) before scrapping it and saying goodbye to the 30-year project. As in the speed trials, the wind doesn’t readily cooperate, and Dill has to decide if he is ultimately ready to let go of the dream of the Iron Duck.”
Curiously, after ten years, the record was broken by Bay Area sailor and entrepreneur Richard Jenkins, who is also the founder of Saildrone in Alameda which we covered in our August 2018 issue. Richard is recognized in the film when he ups the record from 116 miles per hour to 126.1 mph aboard his land yacht Greenbird. The film is worth watching, and comes out November 20. The Greenbird record still stands.