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Nicole Miller Prepares for the Pacific Cup Race to Hawaii

When we were putting together last Friday’s story about the Pacific Cup entrant Presto, we discovered that one of her crew, Nicole Miller, is a passionate Bay Area sailor who regularly sails aboard another of this year’s entrants, Ross Werner and Kevin Wilkinson’s J/112e Jubilant.

“They [Werner and Wilkinson] are making a family entry and so I needed to find a ride after training with them in OYRA races last year,” Nicole says. “I’m still relatively new to sailing with respect to folks who’ve done this their whole lives. I’m still making mistakes and learning.”

sailor, Nicole Mille
Nicole Miller is preparing for her first Pacific Cup race.
© 2024 Nicole Miller

Nicole has been racing in the Bay for around 17 years. She owned and lightly sailed a Catalina 30 for about five years before returning to sailing on other people’s boats. “Since my husband Tim is not a sailor, but does enjoy baseball and dining (chef owner of Mistral), we just recently got a Duffy, of all things, to spend time in the water with each other and friends.”

Being the sailor of the pair, Nicole says, “I’m very fortunate in that I do not get any flak about spending Friday evenings and many weekends racing. I appreciate that! I sometimes joke that I don’t have to ask the wife if I can go sailing — I am the wife. All kidding aside, I appreciate the freedom to pursue sailing and particularly racing.”

While in college, Nicole crewed once in a beer can race in Redwood City. But it was during a ride with OCSC in 2006 that she found her passion for sailing. Next, she crewed out of Coyote Point and then joined a crew from South Beach aboard a Catalina 30. “Shout-out for the Catalina 30 Nationals coming up this fall.”

“I thought it would be colder up in the City, but it was awesome,” Nicole says. “The sailing culture at South Beach is excellent, and as many know, there’s a fun group of women sailors there and a strong group making sure all folks, including women, get many opportunities to learn and grow as sailors. The Red Bra Regatta is one great example of that. I could list off a dozen or more folks who have kindly given and continue to give me opportunities to learn and grow. I really appreciate our club, the members, and on-the-water programs.”

This will be Nicole’s first Pacific Cup. Over the past year she’s been taking part in Pac Cup training sessions at St. Francis YC, and it was there that she met Joe and Sue Davey of Presto. “I let them know my capabilities and weak spots, and they still warmly invited me to join their crew.”

Presto is a 48-ft Chris White Voyager catamaran. “One of only two made,” Nicole says. She and fellow Pac Cup sailor Ben Carver from Seattle joined Sue and Joe aboard Presto for last weekend’s Pacific NW Offshore Race in what she says were 15-foot seas. “We ended up ninth in line honors and fifth corrected. Twenty-four boats competed. Nothing like a churning sea to help one appreciate life’s simple pleasures of eating and drinking!”

As part of her preparation for the race to Hawaii, Nicole is building “a robust first aid kit and safety plan.” She took the two-day Maritime Medical Guides course at Spaulding last year and is partnering with Sue, who has EMT experience, to set up the kit. “We joke that we are a floating hospital. Hopefully that readiness keeps accidents away!”

Nicole is excited about the race and the experience of making the crossing with Presto’s capable crew. “I love Andy Schwenk’s description of the race ‘course’ — the Great Pacific Whale Pasture.” She adds, “Mahalo to all who have given me a chance on their boats now and in the future; I’m so grateful!”

We snapped this picture of Nicole in 2019 when she won a Jim DeWitt painting after visiting the Latitude 38 booth at the Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show.
© 2024 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

“I love the Jim DeWitt painting that I won,” Nicole adds. “It’s the first painting that you see when you walk into our home!! He contributed so much to our Bay Area community and beyond!”

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