Interview w/Katie Pettibone on her way to Oman

Katie for SATT 2014Katie Pettibone returns to the Oman Women’s SATT (Sailing Arabia the Tour) Team for the third year, now as Skipper/Leader. The RTLI team was able to catch up with Katie before she boarded the Emirates plane off to Oman:

RTLI:  Katie, you are headed back to Oman for your THIRD year to coach these young Omani women sailors – what have you seen change in the attitude toward the women sailors within the Oman Sail/SATT community?

Katie:  Oman has continued to rally around and support the women’s sailing effort, and internally watching the women and the men’s team get integrated into a training and sailing regime has been terrific. When we first started, the girls were completely separated from the rest of the Omani sailing efforts, as there was not yet a high level women’s racing team. Many people I met in the first year (2012) had doubts that a novice team of Omani women could do this physically demanding competitive adventure. When people saw the Omani women’s team not only survive, but excel – they were excited and inspired by what the women had achieved, so the effort continues.  I look forward to seeing this project fulfill His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said’s vision.

RTLI:  Dee Caffari has left the Oman women’s sailing program to pursue her dream of co-leading a Volvo Round the World team. This leaves you as leader. What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) as you step into her leadership role with the team?

Katie:  Dee leaves big shoes! She is a dynamic, empathetic personality that has set the tone and focus from the start – to build the Omani women’s skills. My big challenge will to be to continue to fulfill that mission as the priority, and accept gains in skill sets as a win – even if race results don’t reflect that significant progress.

RTLI:  Only a few of the Omani women are returning to this year’s SATT team. Who will be the Omani women leaders on the team? What are their roles, and what do you hope they can each achieve individually and as a team?

Katie:  We only have two returning sailors – Eptisom and Raya. Looking at the girls who have been involved and moved on to other things, the involvement of these women in the program has really furthered their problem solving skills, dedication to hard work and belief in self – which is translating into successful careers and lives outside of sailing. Raya is still sailing, and preparing for a career in Finance – and she tells everyone that she wants to be like me(!) – a strong reminder of how important women leader role models are to young women everywhere. Intisar, who last year won Oman’s first Woman Sailor of the Year award, is now running an athletic program, and deeply believes in women in sports. She is an emerging leader, and will enable many girls to compete for generations to come.

Both Raya and Eptisom will help prepare the new women for the pace, requirements of taking care of the boat, and themselves, as well as what is required to be a part of a team. For three of them, this is a first. Both Eptisom and Raya will remember their first time, their doubts, fears and the struggles… and be great mentors to these new young women. I want each of them to leave this experience with a sense of accomplishment, that they learned skills and what it means to truly part of a team. Teaching them the value of team and what it takes to be a great team member is not easy. The concept of ‘team’ is ingrained here in the U.S., in our sports crazed nation. What it means to put something else above self, even if self would benefit from doing something different, is a critical and new concept for these women. Not everyone gets it, and my hope is through this competition the girls can begin to experience and see the benefit, and great joy of team.

RTLI:  You will have Liz Baylis from the U.S., and Mary Rook from Great Britain, on board helping you coach the Omani’s. What will each of them bring to the team?

Katie:  Liz brings incredible talent, and also wisdom in teaching new sailors new skills. She is returning as navigator and knows what to expect from the Omani women. With her role as WIMRA (Women’s International Match Race Assoc.) executive director, she understands that this team and effort is planting seeds for long-term growth in yacht racing and leadership opportunities for women in the Middle East. Mary Rook is a young Olympic sailor from Great Britain who is fiercely competitive, and has an amazing can-do attitude whether she is showing the girls how to jibe the pole on the bow or trim a spinnaker. I refer to her as my ‘fire fighter’ since she will be the trouble shooter on board. The girls look up to both Liz and Mary, and they relate to Mary because she is close to their age.

RTLI:  As you prepare to board the plane to Oman what are some of the thoughts and emotions going through your head?

Katie:  Heading to Bahrain – preparing for the long flight. I am excited to compete in the race with the team and eager to see how this new batch of Omani women sailors fare. Sprint Offshore racing is hard. It is the hardest, in my opinion, because you can’t get into consistent routines and it is tremendously physically and mentally demanding. I think this young team has tremendous growth potential, and at the end of SATT 2014, I want to instill in them the satisfaction of a job well done… of completing a journey, and to be able to look back on everything they have learned. My challenge is to translate the depth of knowledge I have gained over decades, to lessons on the water that are impactful and immediate, so they can make rapid improvements in this short time of the event. This is just the beginning of Oman Sail’s great project and sporting adventure, that will reap huge benefits as those who gain technical, team and leadership skills succeed in sailing, and then go on using those new skill sets, to be successful in business, politics or in whatever they choose to pursue!

Read more in this great article: EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour – All women team ready for action -Sail World

ISAF & Rolex Announce World Sailor Nominees

Rising Tide Leadership Institute would like to announce that two of our sailing friends, and competitors, Raiya Al Habsi (Oman) and Deneen Demourkas (USA) have been nominated by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex, for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2013. Having sailed with each of them, Rising Tide Ambassadors Katie Pettibone, and Linda Lindquist-Bishop, offer their congratulations!

ISAF received nominations for the 2013 Award from across the world, for sailors representing all aspects of the sport. The nominees are put forward based on achievements made during the qualifying period from September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013. Only one nominee wins in each of the male and female categories.

Raiya & DeneenRaiya Al Habsi (Oman)
“Seeing Raiya get nominated is inspiring and exciting for women in sailing. It is a budding sport in Oman. As her coach, I have been deeply impressed with her hard work, perseverance and spirit. She is helping to bring this sport to a whole new generation and region,” shared Katie Pettibone. Read more about Raiya.

Deneen Demourkas (USA)

“I’m thrilled to see Deneen nominated for the 2013 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year! I’ve raced against Deneen for almost a decade on the Farr 40 and Farr 30. She is a formidable competitor (3-time World Championship winning), and a great leader. As president of the Farr 30 global class association she has built communication, a sustainable event schedule, and kept the Farr 30 an internationally competitive class. Way to go Deneen!” -Linda Lindquist-Bishop. Read more about Deneen.

The ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world, will be selecting the winners. The MNAs may vote for only one nominee in both the male and female categories, whom they believe most deserves the award. The winners will then be announced at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award presentation and dinner, taking place on Tuesday, November 12, 2013. The venue for the event will be at the El Bander Hotel, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

Good Luck Raiya and Deneen!!!

2013 Fastnet Race ~ Women Competing & Leading

Bravo to Dee, Raya and fellow Fastnet competitors! 

The MOD 70 trimaran, Oman Air-Musandam, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, finished FIRST ~ just 24 minutes following the overall Rolex Fastnet Race winner Spindrift II ~ in the MOCRA Multihull class, with a crew including world yachtswoman, and Rising Tide Leadership Institute Ambassador Dee Caffari, and Oman Womens Sailing Team’s Raya Al Habsi.

Raya and Dee“I can hardly believe I finished the Rolex Fastnet Race,” Raya said just after crossing the finish line. “It was a little bit tough but… it felt good to be part of such a successful team.” RTLI Ambassadors Dee Caffari and America’s Cup sailor Katie Pettibone, as well as Liz Rushall have been among those mentoring the Oman Sail women’s team. Raya’s participation in the Fastnet Race has taken Omani women’s sailing to a new level.

Watch these great videos highlighting Dee and Raya’s Fastnet experience:
Interviews with Dee Caffari, Sidney Gavignet and Raya Al Habsi on board the MOD 70 Oman Air Musandam before the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2013 [3:52 min]

40 hours of racing for Oman Air Musandam MOD 70 to win the MOCRA Multihull class in the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race [3:48 min]

Additionally, professional woman sailor Dona Bertarelli was the first to cross the finish line into Plymouth as the new co-skipper of the world’s largest racing trimaran and fastest offshore race boat, the 40m long, Spindrift II. This boat won Rolex Fastnet Race line honors for a second consecutive time.

In total nine women skippered boats in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, and three all-women teams, including Girls for Sail, led by Susan Glenny, on the Elan 37, Jumbuck, and Captain Lucinda Allaway on the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre’s Sigma 38, Redcoat. And the winner of this unofficial championship was Lucy Reynolds’ team on the First 40, Southern Child. While Lucy and her husband Christian normally run the Swan 51 Northern Child for the Fastnet, this year Lucy put together an all-female crew for the first time. The 2013 Fastnet Race exemplified women leading and competing on the high seas!

Fastnet Race

Way to go Raya and Dee!

Making history at 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race…

Oman Sail’s Raya al Habsi was chosen by Rising Tide Leadership Institute Ambassador Dee Caffari to join the crew on Oman Air-Musandam MOD70 trimaran in this year’s 608 mile Fastnet race which started yesterday in Cowes, England ~ enabling her to become the FIRST Omani woman to race offshore and take part in the Rolex Fastnet Race. A record fleet left Cowes, England yesterday, with 347 starters from 20 countries for the 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race (which first took place in 1925), with both men and women competing in the same race for the FIRST time. Meanwhile at Plymouth Yacht Haven crowds of press, friends and relatives of crew begin to gather, waiting for the boats to start arriving.

oman-air Fastnet

MOD70 Oman Air rounding the Fastnet Rock earlier today.

Raya feature

Raya commented before race start: “I am excited and I know maybe I will face hard times. But I am ready to face those times and do what I need to. I want to get to the end of the race and feel proud. I know very little about the ‘Mod70’ Oman Air-Musandam, but I know you have to be strong in body and strong in mind as well.”

Rolex Fastnet Race reports an intriguing dust-up is taking place between the world’s fastest competing yachts:

After an excellent start, the 40m trimaran, Spindrift 2, led the Multihull division along the south coast of England last night, but earlier this morning off Land’s End it was the Sidney Gavignet-skippered MOD70, Oman Air-Musandam, that had moved into the first place, despite being half Spindrift’s length. Crossing the Celtic Sea, it was then the turn of the 31.5m trimaran, Banque Populaire, to edge ahead. But at the Fastnet Rock, Spindrift 2, just managed to get her nose in front, rounding at 14.03:08 BST with the Armel le Cleac’h skippered Banque Populaire right on her transom.

“It is a great match,” enthused Spindrift 2’s co-skipper, Yann Guichard, this afternoon. “Right now, Banque Populaire is just 300m to windward and we are doing the same speed and the same angle.”

In theory the bigger boat should be faster, but Guichard says that in the 18-19 knot winds they have, the smaller Banque Populaire benefits from being lighter. “We are too heavy, so it is really close. We gybed first and she gybed just to windward, so it is like a match race – it is definitely not over yet.”

Click to follow the race!

Rising Tide team meets CNN Hero of the Year!

During the Traverse City Film FestivalRising Tide Leadership Institute’s Jeanne Gross and Linda Lindquist-Bishop met Pushpa Basnet of Nepal, the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year. Pushpa was in town to bring awareness to the new documentary Waiting for Mamu about her life mission to make sure that ‘no child grows up behind prison walls.’

Butterfly House Project

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world — according to UNICEF, 55% of the population lives below the international poverty line — so it lacks the social safety net that exists in most Western nations. Space is extremely limited in the few children’s homes affiliated with the government.

So when no local guardian is available, an arrested parent often must choose between bringing their children to jail with them or letting them live on the streets. Nepal’s Department of Prison Management estimates 80 children live in the nation’s prisons.

“It’s not fair for (these) children to live in the prison because they haven’t done anything wrong,” said Basnet, who started a nongovernmental organization to help. “My mission is to make sure no child grows up behind prison walls.”

Pushpa is leaving Traverse City, Michigan for the Philippines, where she will speak to a group from 28 countries who desire to learn how she is helping children of incarcerated parents – a global (and US) problem. This 28-year-old Nepali woman has become an inspiration to many.

You can learn more about Pushpa’s work and how you can help the plight of children being raised in prisons at the Butterfly Home.

Rising Tide Leadership Institute salutes Pushpa Basnet for stepping up to lead as a 21-year-old and Thomas Morgan for telling her story.

Butterfly House

L to R: Linda Lindquist-Bishop (RTLI), Pushpa Basnet (2012 CNN Hero of the Year), Jeanne Gross (RTLI), Angela Bernhard Thomas (Filmmaker)