October 22, 2019 – Long Beach, CA via Seattle, WA
Long Beach native Julia Jaynes just recently competed in the 2019 LEMWOD (Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One Design Challenge) as part of the Hawaii Yacht Club Team led by skipper Annie Gardner. The event was held over the weekend of October 12-13, 2019 in Catalina 37s and Cal 20s at Long Beach Yacht Club. Julia recently graduated from CSULB as a President’s Scholar with numerous awards and accolades. She was a member of the CSULB Sailing Team and grew up learning to sail at Leeway and ABYC. At her young age she has already given back to the sport of sailing by working as an instructor at Leeway Sailing Center and participating as a member of the race committee in last year’s 29er Worlds in Long Beach as well as an umpire at the US Sailing Match Racing Qualifiers. She has also supplied content (articles and pictures) for SCSN over her college years. Julia recently moved to Seattle where she started a career at Microsoft. Your SCSN Editor asked Julia for an interview about her experience at this event and she accepted.
Hi Julia, thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk sailing! Hope all is well. How are things going for you starting a new career and moving to a new city? A lot of changes for you!
It’s been really exciting to move to a new city and start work with a really great company. Seattle is definitely a lot colder and wetter than Southern California, but I love it so far.
What got you interested in sailing? From what I know, I think you pursued it on your own initiative. Is that right?
I was at Alamitos Bay on a summer day and saw other kids sailing sabots. I went home and told my parents that it looked so cool, and I wanted to learn. My parents signed me up for lessons at the Leeway Sailing Center, and I was hooked. I am really grateful that Long Beach has such a great sailing community that I got to be a part of. I did summer racing programs at ABYC and high school sailing with Long Beach Poly which were really great in setting a strong sailing foundation.
It looks like the LEMWOD was another successful event where new friendships were made and old friendships cemented and strengthened. How special is that, that our sport of sailing really brings people together!
Yes, I totally agree with that. I was really fortunate to be sailing on the same boat with my friend and fellow CSULB Sailing Team alumna, Sunny Scarbrough. And we also got to make a lot of great connections with the women on our boat and on the other teams. While the team I was on, Hawaii Yacht Club, had our eyes set out on first, it was really awesome to see my former coach, Allie Blecher win the event. I’ve made a lot of great friendships through sailing and now have friends all over the world because of the sport.
What crew position did you have on the boat?
I did pit, which is my normal position on the 37s. The team I was on was really great as we got to try out different positions throughout our practices which was awesome getting a little taste of everything. I believe it helped us to get the boat more in sync through us understanding all the roles.
How was the team assembled?
Allie Tsai organized our team. It was mostly through word of mouth but also through showing interest in women’s sailing. I was really lucky that two of my good friends race at Wet Wednesdays on Allie’s boat. I told them I wanted to get more involved with keelboat racing and eventually sail in a LEMWOD so they helped to introduce me. Allie really wanted to bring together a boat to strive for the best and empower women in sailing to achieve more which resonates with me. She brought together women in sailing who are strong, quick learners, and want to better themselves and the overall team.
What are some of the things you learned from your experience at this event?
I learned a lot throughout the event. The most awesome thing was realizing how great women sailors are at not only getting the job done but also creating community. I also really grew in my voice and confidence on boat. It can be intimidating when you are the youngest and probably have the least keelboat experience. I realized a strong dinghy background provides a great basis for racing and I shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. Another great thing was having so much support and coaching from a lot of great male sailors as well. It made me realize in general the men also want the women to have success out on the water. I really got to fine tune my timing in the pit for better sets and roundings. The weekend overall was really empowering and one of the most fun regattas I had sailed. It was really great to see so many women out racing on the water and got me even more excited for future regattas and possibly bringing together my own women’s team in the future.
The wealth of sailing talent at this event was really well spread across all ages – it must have been quite a valuable experience for you to sail with some of the best women sailors , especially your skipper Annie Gardner.
I am extremely fortunate to have gotten to race with Annie Gardner as well as our tactician Katie Pettibone. They have accomplished so much in their sailing careers and really helped pave the way for women sailors. It was really cool to hear how they were thinking about not only the races themselves but setting up a game plan for the overall regatta. They are both super nice, supportive women that really love the sport. They really help set the tone for our boat, that we were going to work hard and strive for the best but also realize we are doing this for the love of the sport. They really helped to keep the boat on task but also positive and fun.
Any tips and advice you have for young women who want to learn to sail and compete in this sport?
I think sailing, especially as a woman, is a lot about dedication and courage. If you want to learn to sail, there are a lot of great opportunities at local sailing center and yacht clubs. I think dinghy racing is a great place to start. It can be intimidating as sailing is still a very male dominated sport. However, if you stay dedicated and work hard, you will be rewarded with opportunities. You also have to be courageous and not be afraid to participate, learn, and get a few bumps and bruises. I also think a big part about growing and getting opportunities in sailing is by not being afraid to ask. Ask the questions about what someone is doing to get their boat going fast; ask what you can do to help; ask if that boat you’ve always wanted to sail on is having practice days that you can crew at. I also think especially as women sailors we have to advocate a little bit more. Let others know that you can and want to do a certain roles on the boat; that you want to learn and are willing to work hard.
What things in sailing are on your bucket list to do as time goes on?
I haven’t done any offshore racing yet and would really like to get into that. I would eventually want to sail a TransPac.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I’m really grateful to be a part of a sport that is something I can do for the rest of my life. Sailing has taught me so many skills, not only how to make boats go fast but also life skills that I know have served me well. I feel really fortunate.
Thanks so much Julia for taking the time for this interview. I am sure it will inspire some young women to want to get in the sport of sailing and show what opportunities are out there for them.