In 2008, Behan and Jamie Gifford set sail from Seattle with their three children, Niall, Mairen, and Siobhan. Their Stevens 47, Totem, took them down to Mexico, across the pacific, and beyond. Almost exactly ten years later they crossed their own track, completing a circumnavigation. They are currently in Mexico, where they had planned to set sail for another Pacific crossing, before the Coronavirus pandemic put those plans on hold. You can follow their adventure at sailingtotem.com
John Kretschmer is a philosopher sailor and a great storyteller - in the vein of Bernard Moitessier. As a sailor he’s logged more than 300,000 offshore sailing miles. He’s taught thousands of people about ocean sailing, imparting his knowledge in person and through his writing. He’s the author of At the Mercy of the Sea, Flirting with Mermaids, Cape Horn to Starboard, and most recently Sailing to the Edge of Time - which just last week came out as an Audio book. I sat down with John when he was in town to speak at the St. Francis Yacht Club.
Rich Jepsen found his life’s work at age 14, when he was allowed to take a small boat out sailing for the day by himself. Eight years later he got his first gig teaching sailing, and he’s continued that work to the present. He was an owner, operator and CEO of OCSC Sailing School in Berkeley for over 30 years. Today, while still teaching sailing and leading sailing trips around the world, he’s also Vice President of U.S. Sailing. In 2017 Rich received the Timothea Larr Award for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of sailor education in the United States.
In January 2018, Caitlin Schwarzman and Jason Rucker set sail with their son Arlo and daughter Alma, from Alameda for a year-long adventure through the Pacific. Their boat Debonaire is a 44-foot double-ended wooden ketch - and is the sister ship to a boat Caitlin went cruising on with her parents in the 1970s. We discussed getting themselves and their boat ready for the trip, the adventure itself, and how it brought them closer as a family. You can find their blog at: www.ayearandaday.net
In part two of this two part interview, Elana Conner talks about sailing solo across the Pacific: what made her think she could accomplish it in the first place, what lessons she learned after she got out there, and why it’s made her feels more like herself than ever. We talk weather, electronics, and the frustrations of sailing in the wrong direction. Follow and support Elana at www.peregrinasails.com
As a child, Elana Conner lost both of her parents and spent her school years in foster care, hoping from family to family. She struggled, but managed to finish high school and then college. She learned to sail in San Francisco, less than a decade ago. But personal difficulties and strong mentors convinced her she needed to follow her dream of circumnavigating on her own boat sooner rather than later. She recently sailed across the pacific solo, arriving in New Zealand a little over a month ago. In this first of a two part interview, I speak with Elana about the challenges she’s overcome and how she learned to sail. Follow Elana at https://www.peregrinasails.com/
Here are ways you can support children in the foster care system:
- First, and most basic, when folks shop on Amazon, choose to shop at https://smile.amazon.com/ and choose a local foster care org or CASA chapter. For every purchase made, Amazon will give money to your org, and it adds up quickly!
- Foster Hope is the New Zealand base foster care organization Elana talks about in our interview - https://www.fosterhope.org.nz/
- Together We Rise — https://www.togetherwerise.org/team-building/ — They have a number of programs, including opportunities for corporate team-building projects (like assembling bikes and skateboards, or backpacks).
- Become a resource family in SF to foster or adopt a child from the foster care system: https://sfcaresforkids.org/foster/
- SF Foster Youth Fund — http://www.sffosteryouthfund.org/what-we-do/ — they provide funding and/or scholarships to allow children in foster care to have access to activities beyond the basics, like music lessons, summer camps, etc.
- CASA in California— https://www.californiacasa.org/ — CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocate, and there is a CASA program in almost every district in the country, as well as a national advocacy organization. People who are interested in becoming a CASA go through a multi-month training and are sworn-in at their local court.
- Finally, here is an additional list of ways to help foster kids: http://www.fostercoalition.com/help-foster-children
Lauren Moody fell in love with the sea when she served in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier. But it wasn’t until after her deployment at UCSC that she got into sailing, on boats that were a little smaller. After moving to the San Francisco area a decade ago, she built a community of sailing friends at the Travis Marina. It was there she first laid eyes on Intrepid, a Bob Perry designed Islander Freeport 36. It was in bad shape, nearly sinking at the dock. But it took some time for her to convince the owner to sell. Now she’s putting much time and effort into bringing the boat back to Bristol condition, doing all the work herself and learning much along the way. You can read about her accomplishments at SailingIntrepid.com
In 2001, while cruising in the Caribbean, my girlfriend Miranda had to be evacuated from our boat and taken to a local hospital due to extreme dehydration. It was one of the scariest experiences I’ve had at sea and I wrote about it in Sailing Magazine’s 2002 Safety at Sea issue. In this episode, I retell that story.
Jim Hancock is the founder and president of the San Francisco Sailing Science Center, a hands-on, interactive learning center that will be headquartered on Treasure Island. He's a long-time Bay Area sailor who has cruised the Pacific, been a sailing instructor, and is the visionary behind this exciting new project.
In 2015, the Vawter family, parents Cameron and Annie with daughters Isa (6) and Adelaide (7), set off under the Golden Gate Bridge aboard their Mason 43, Banyan. They've been cruising the Pacific ever since, arriving in New Zealand last year.