What Adventure will you create in 2015?

Adventure 2015 MC

Whoa! We are halfway into January with the buzz of New Year’s resolutions, and crowded gyms already behind us.

As we get back into the flow of life, it’s a great time to ask ourselves about our vision for the year ahead. We will achieve so much more if we are intentional about where we want to go – rather than racing blindly from one day to the next.

What do I want to accomplish?
Where do I want to go?
Who do I want to serve?

To start answering these big questions – we first need to seek clarity on what we’ve already done. Yes – first – ask more questions! The BEST clues as to what will bring us joy, adventure and fulfillment in the days ahead are embedded in the life we have already lived. Below is a short list of questions to get you started.

I challenge you to carve out some time for your self, and start THINKING.

To a great 2015!
L2B

CGT Adventure 2015 questions

Big Ten Network interview’s RTLI co-founder Linda Lindquist-Bishop

The Big Ten Network recently asked University of Illinois alumni Linda Lindquist-Bishop why she calls the leadership institute she co-founded ‘Rising Tide’?

Linda

Linda racing with team Delta

Linda explains, “Our goal is to improve everyone’s life by improving women’s lives. A rising tide lifts all boats.”

To add more women leaders to the equation we can’t just inspire and equip – we also have to change the acceptance for what women can achieve, with those who can provide or prevent access for women at the leadership table.”

Competing on the high-tech, high-performance platforms of sailing, aviation and motor sports equips women for leadership, creates acceptance for their abilities at the leadership table, and inspires other women to step up and lean in to leadership opportunities. Read more at: Big Ten Network

BTN home page

SATT 2014 ~ Award Ceremony & Future Plans

leg 7

Final leg of SATT 2014

The EFG Sailing Arabia The Tour 2014 finished with an international prize giving ceremony. Affixed to the second story of The Wave, (the base for Oman Sail and the ceremony location) were the national flags of all the teams skippers. I was moved to see the red, white and blue up there- fluttering in the breeze among the other countries’ flags representing our US contribution to this sporting endeavor that is opening minds and opportunities across a wide region. And I was again conscious of how grateful I am to have been born in a country that has provided me the opportunity to acquire skill sets that equipped me to come here and contribute in this important adventure in Oman. The Omani women from past year SATT races who have been on our team also showed up to celebrate with us – a testimony to the multi-national camaraderie that has been forged amongst us on and off the water. Raya and Raaja both were there – now more determined than ever to rejoin the keelboat team and keep racing! They will join Ibtisam to race in France on the J80 with Mary Rook in April.

team & results

2014 Omani Women’s Sailing Team and SATT 2014 results

closing ceremony

SATT 2014 Award Ceremony

After the ceremony, we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and then to Muscat’s Opera House to have dinner at a fabulous Indian restaurant – The Indus. The winning teams of EFG Bank and Team Delft were also present as we mingled with the sponsor and their VIP guests. I was grateful that this gave me a chance to thank the sponsor personally for providing us this life changing opportunity. While the other Omani girls headed home, Ibtisam was able to join us, She also thanked the sponsor, telling him how much fun the race was and what it meant for her to be able to compete. We all loved having a relaxing evening, with no pending early morning start(!), It gave us time with the other teams to laugh over our shared experiences throughout this year’s SATT

Going Forward: The Omani Women’s Team plans to compete in several keelboat events in Europe, starting on J80s (small but responsive sailboats with asymmetrical spinnakers) and to begin match racing. They are excited and motivated. I do hope that these young women, new in their confidence to sport, sailing and their own developing skills, continue to race on this Tour. They learn quickly and are athletic. Additionally, life at sea (the eating and using the bathroom) did not worry them a bit – which is no small issue. They all said it was an adventure they will never forget and were thankful for the opportunity to learn and compete. I still am in contact with most of the girls we have trained and coached over the past three years, and will always be connected even though vast oceans separate us. This is the beauty of sport.

celebration

Celebrating at the end of SATT 2014!

My plan is to head back to California and dive into California state politics with my job at the Civil Justice Association of California (2000+bills to read! As if California needs 2000 new laws)… Also racing the Formula 40 catamaran Shadow in San Francisco, riding motorcycles, and a couple of flying lessons are on the schedule in the next month.

Thank you for following this adventure, and I look forward to sharing the next!
-Katie Pettibone

Leg 6 & 7 ~ Omani women moving forward

The morning is here – its the final leg for Sailing Arabia The Tour. Today the third place finish is up for grabs between us and the TU Delft Dutch Team. A better spirited kind group of wonderful young men I have never met. Whoever prevails, its been an honor and a pleasure sharing this tour with them and sailing against them. The tour has been quite a journey. We have seen the pro-team EFG Bank find their footing early on, and dominate the race as expected, and as I have previously mentioned our team’s results already achieving the goals I had personally set for this event. Today we will be match racing against Delft, but our maneuvers and nuanced trimming simply are not equal to theirs, as we have four very new sailors who still are learning the roll tacking and gybing.

Headed into Mussanah

Headed into Mussanah

Yesterday was Leg 6B ~ of what ended up being a two-part leg from Dibba to Mussanah. The wind was forecast to be a light sea breeze, but then to die all night, making arrival to Mussanah impossible on the timeline we needed for todays start. The amended plan was then to race the afternoon through the parked ships outside the Strait of Hormuz, and make our way down the rumbline until 6 pm. Then motor all night and reach Mussanah. After a quick rest, we then would have a day race. Which we did. Unfortunately, during the amending on the water, the race committee unfortunately transposed a number on the way point of the first afternoon finish – although at the finish it affected no one because it was clearly stated again and again over the radio that we were to finish leaving the committee boat to port. We all did.

Khaloud steering into Mussanah

Khaloud steering into Mussanah

It was a line up going in. Messr Frankfurt, led by skipper Marcel Herrera and navigator Cory Rousselle caught the mistake on the paper, and instead of going straight headed up after finishing. Since we were on his tail, literally, we thought it was to avoid us. Well, although they weren’t prejudiced by the paper mistake, their plan was to protest the committee and get everyone thrown out – which is what happened. It doesn’t change their position overall but it did knock us to fourth place. And left bad tastes for many in the fleet. We and Delft had asked about the protest flag enroute to Mussanah – unaware of the technical mistake on the amendment, and they denied that it was about anything.

Inport racing: The afternoon race found the Delft team loosely match racing us, going into their epic high mode off the start line and getting a small jump on us. This pretty much stayed the positioning through the race, and they finished ahead of us. We looked for opportunities to take a passing lane to attack, but when the wind shifted far right we had a parade into the finish line again, and it was pretty much done. The Omani women were still happy to beat their brother boat, Team Renaissance, and are very happy with what they have achieved.

Raham enjoying the ride!

Raham enjoying the ride!

What’s next? Our two Oman Sail instructors, Huda and Khuloud, will continue to teach sailing to guests and kids, although I believe they will remain available to race on occasion. Huda really showed promise as a trimmer, and I told her yesterday how pleased I was with her progress, and hoped she would continue. Ibtisam will continue to race on the team, and will continue to take on a boat captain role. Raaja- who was not with us and was to have skippered the team – apparently will come back to the program to do more sailing. Raham, from the Oman Navy, will go back to her duties in the Navy but will occasionally race with the team. Raja, who missed SATT because of emergency surgery on her wisdom teeth, will also continue racing. Oman Sail has plans to reach out and develop talent in young women, and try to identify those in athletic programs already to see if they will give sailboat racing a try. Their commitment to the program, and their efforts are extraordinary and are such a gift to the region. It is an honor to be a part of it and see their work. Small steps, but incredible opportunities here.

After the finish and today’s prize giving, there will be a dinner with the event sponsor at Muscat’s Opera House. I hope to be able to thank him personally for his vision and support. It will be a nice way to end this year’s Sailing Arabia The Tour.

Leg 7 Results ~ TU Delft Dutch Team raced ahead, for an exciting first place finish! This victory resulted in an overall third place for them, and put the Omani Women’s Team into fourth place for SATT 2014. Read more about Leg 7.

What an amazing journey! More to come.

Preparing for Leg 6 ~ making excellent progress…

The day has arrived to finally leave this slice of heaven – Six Senses at Zighy Bay – where we have been resting for a day after the challenging 104-nautical mile leg 5 from Ras Al Khaimah to Dibba. This amazing resort has sponsored the all-women’s team, and we have been absolutely blessed with staying at their villas, and of fantastic hospitality. The resort is ecologically friendly, focuses on sustainability and simply is a “must” if you are in the region. All of us wish we had another day here, and were joking we should sabotage the race committee boat so we would have to stay!

Zighy Bay

Six Senses Resort – Zighy Bay

The weather forecast has been for light wind, and we were generally intending to motor for awhile till the wind fills in. However, today’s forecast by Predict Wind looks more promising, so perhaps we will get sailing sooner than previously anticipated. The game is on with Delft Challenge, as currently only .25 separates us in 3rd and 4th position. Normally we would plan on match racing them, but on Leg 6 – 140 miles from Dibba to Musannah – combined with the fact that they have a couple of points of sail that we simply cannot match, we have to use that strategy plus one to simply win. Their maneuvers are tighter than ours as well, so if we get into a gybe/tack-off – it won’t go well for us.

Yesterday we turned the boat over to the Omani women to race, and were onboard simply to coach. Epti drove, Huda trimmed, Khuloud took the bow, and Raham the mast. It was very light wind, so we only got one race in. They did a great job though, and we found that they definitely have been learning and picking up more than we thought. I believe that they defer to us as the experts, so previously it was hard to know where they exactly were in their development. It is very encouraging and I was pleased to see how far they have come. They also came from behind to beat their brother team, Rennaissance, so they were very excited. Later they put the boat away as well – folding sails, putting flags up, etc. It was really cool to see.

Only two legs left. Whatever happens I am extremely happy with what the team has achieved and am looking forward to the last two legs of SATT!

EFG Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2014 - Leg 5

Eptisom – Inport Racing

Owning the boat

Folding Sails after Inport Racing

Sailing Arabia The Tour (SATT) – a 760-nautical mile course that spans over four countries from Bahrain to Muscat, Oman, with eight of the region’s premier marinas playing host as stopover venues during the seven legs of the course.

Leg 5: Close race & another podium finish!

rak_dibba

Leg five was a beautiful day in Sailing Arabia The Tour! We started out of Ras Al Khaimah at 11:00 am for this challenging leg, which takes the fleet 50 miles up and around the Omani Peninsula, and 50 or so miles down the other side to Dibba in Oman. This area is known for its rugged mountain ranges that rise up to 2,100 meters. We had a great downwind spinnaker flight to the top of the Strait of Hormuz, where we rounded magnificent cliffs, through crazy tides and currents. It was wonderful to see, and at one stage over 30 boats, headed for Iranian waters, ran through the fleet. It was pretty exciting! I looked carefully for any long barreled guns, but didn’t see any, so was not worried. Plus we had the Omani Naval patrol nearby, so nothing could go to wrong…

After getting through to the other side, we headed down the coast with light wind. It was one of those euros-to-zeros back to heroes kind of race. The forecast had called for big winds and reaching, but the cliffs protected us. It was a long night of very nuanced sailing with weight movement. We sent the Omani women below often to get rest, because weight was also good to have inside the boat while mostly wind/reaching in light fare. At one stage I saw clouds developing onshore, and knowing that the edges of clouds were windows, we headed closer to shore. We jagged our own little shore breeze, that the other boats who were farther out off-shore did not have. Quickly we passed the fleet and were in first!

Omain women

R – Raham interview, M – Huda trimming and L – Eptisom at helm.

However, EFG’s skipper, Sidney Gavignet, is a professional and never gives up. He quickly headed to shore and caught up with us, and ended up passing us not far from the finish line. The wind was crazy at the finish, which was deep in a bay of fishing pots, with 180° shifts. EFG and Mezze Frankfurt passed by staying offshore, further away from some cliffs that were not helpful. We ended up in third place at the finish line, which puts us in third overall at this stage of the Tour. Our team learned a lot, and were very excited to finish in front of most of the fleet again.

team pic

Today we are giving back to our sponsors, and will have guests onboard. There are no points for today. It will be interesting, because we are going to have the Omani women practice all the racing positions. It is a great opportunity to give them good coaching, while racing without cost of points. They continue to learn that this is a team sport, and everyone has to work together in unison. One of the big lessons this past week has been learning about different responses in different conditions – like moving lightly and gently while hoisting a spinnaker, compared to hoisting a spinnaker in bug winds where aggressive, fast, hard body movements are used.

Two more legs left, and we sit in third. My expectations for the team have already been exceeded, and I am very happy with what the team has achieved. We will continue to try to obtain a first or second podium finish, but it’s all a bonus at this stage. I will be interested to see where the Omani women go from here. Two of them originally instructed children in the Oman Sail Program. The other is on loan from the Royal Navy, and I will be curious if she will continue sailing or will return to her duties there. Time will tell.

Great sailing in Legs 3 & 4 – fast ride predicted for Leg 5

Sailing Arabia The Tour (SATT)  • 15 Days  •  8 Marinas  •  7 Legs  •  760 Nautical Miles
Omani Women's Sailing Team

Omani Women’s Sailing Team

Leg 3: Podium again in Third place!

It was a 60-nautical mile sprint from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, and a close battle between us and the Messe Frankfurt Sailing Team for second place.  Although the Messe team managed to overtake us, and finish one minute ahead in second place, they certainly had to work for it! Read More.

Leg 4: Fifth place after gear failure…

The last bit into the finish line we had Huda and Khuloud trimming with Eptisom driving the boat, as we struggled with equipment problems. They were calling for us to hike hard when puffs hit, and they did a great job. My goal has always been to see improvement in every single day of racing and so far that has been achieved. I am really pleased with the progress of the team – all of us- because each of us always has room for improvement. That is the beauty of sailing, we are always learning. Read More.

Yesterday: Incredible short races…

The inport racing were action packed, while tucked in the little harbor by the yacht club in Ras Al Khaimah.

Skipper Katie Pettibone on Award Podium

Skipper Katie Pettibone on Award Podium

It was fun and we ended up third for the day, mixing it up with EFG Bank and  Delft. The Omani women had a ball, and were abuzz after! Every race they are growing as sailors. They are opening up to us as well, showing more and more personality that is even more fun. At the day’s awards ceremony, when we were called up on the podium, I was shaking hands with the dignitaries, including various sheiks. One of the sheiks pulled his hand back before I could do so. In our culture, it would be a gross insult, but in their culture – I was told – it was a sign of respect to his wife and to me. It is a reminder to not frame experiences simply in our own western frame of mind, but to be open that there are other ways out there. At any rate, I like having the Omani women up on the podium and helping them feel that they are equally deserving of standing up there strong and proud. Read More.

 

Inport racing at Ras Al Khaimah

Inport racing at Ras Al Khaimah

Well, here it is the day of the start around the Strait of Hormuz

Leg 5 of SATT includes strict limits about where we can go. We must stay close to shore in order not to wander into Iranian waters; dodging rocks and other military forbidden areas, as well as watching for smugglers and, of course, pirates. We leave RAK at 10 am and our next port is around the top down into Dibba, Oman. It is the second longest leg of the race. We will have Omani Naval Patrol with us along the way.

The forecast is for a fast leg. We will be downwind initially with spinnakers up, getting through the strait at sunset or just past. Doing so in the daylight will be VERY helpful. On the other side, it is forecast to be really windy. Up to 30 knots blast reaching. Wet and woolly. However, there are cliffs and mountainous regions to contend with, so some don’t believe we will get that wind. I am as adventurous as any, but I must admit a blast reach in 30 knots with fire hose effect is not making me super excited – EXCEPT for the effect of an early finish. We have a lot of fishing nets to contend with as we get towards Dibba, and sudden maneuvers in 30 knots are hairy.

Tracker shows Leg 5 progress as of 1:00 pm EST

Tracker shows Leg 5 progress as of 1:00 pm U.S. EST

Inport racing, preparing for fishing nets, making progress!

Heading off tomorrow to Dubai with an early start at 7 am. Last year some of the most iconic photos came from a dawn start out of Abu Dhabi. The forecast is for light, upwind reaching, with some upwind work. The models are a bit mixed about how far to go offshore, but there are fishing nets and waypoints to handle so that will be determinative. Last year we had to navigate through the fishing nets at night, and it was a very difficult! Ugh. It is a shelf and miles of fishing nets… Allegedly, if you flatten the boat it will eventually “pop” up over the nets and get through, but while racing there last year felt like running aground and in one case we definitely didn’t get off, and had to have the local fisherman help us. Cutting nets away is a crime so this is serious business.

satt2014_home 2

Today was inport racing. Light and weird helicopter puffs off the skyscrapers made it difficult. We had good starts, but sometimes didn’t take the immediate risk to grab a temporary puff. In the end we did alright, but not great. The Omani women had fun, and today’s big lesson was learning about the importance of weight movement on the boats. I wish we had had more time to train before dropping them into racing, because it is hard to learn while in the middle of a race. Explanations get shorter, time and opportunity for trial and error get small, and focus on more specifics limits the big picture learning.

Tonight, two of the women missed the briefing (that we always have) for the next leg. I was pretty displeased, as our briefings are a basic requirement. It was puzzling and uncharacteristic of these two women. They tracked me down in my room late tonight to say how sorry they were. They had gone out, and ran into bad traffic (happens here), and couldn’t get back. They felt so bad; they weren’t going to be able to sleep without speaking to me. I appreciated that – we all muck up – and I have felt bad like that too. With a stern warning, we are good to go tomorrow. If that’s the worst of it, I think we can deal!

Today we were on the podium to receive our prize for 3rd place overall in the race. With many legs to go, its anyone’s game. It was absolutely fantastic to be able to have our team on the podium, and let the Omani women feel their rightful place to be in the mix with the best. Everyone deserves to know that feeling, although not without some sacrifice and hard work.

Click to track the race from the Sailing Arabia The Tour website!

Click to track the race from the Sailing Arabia The Tour website!

SATT Leg 2 ~ a fast ride to third place

Delayed Start – again

The start out of Doha was delayed because of customs (this is a reoccuring theme) so by the time of the start we had a solid 16 knots in the afternoon. The ride from Doha to Abu Dhabi was quick as expected, downwind the entire 159 miles, with some fire-hose spinnaker reaching in the middle of the night thrown in. The start out of Doha was delayed because of customs (this is a re-occurring theme) so by the time of the start we had a solid 16 knots in the afternoon. We battled it out inch by inch against EFG Bank (race favorites and eventual race winner) and Messr Frankfurt into the night changing positions back and forth with them.

Alt_Oman Sail 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast and Furious Down Wind

This was the Omani womens’ first “real” offshore and full night out, so I was interested to see how they would cope with the physical and mental demands of the racing. I was hopeful that it wasn’t going to be too windy so that we could allow them to go down below in rotations to get an hour of sleep. Initially, with the wind square behind us, they could do that because the boat sails flat. However, as the wind headed us (went forward) making us sail a much higher, difficult angle we needed them sitting on the high side of the boat for balance. The sailing was fast and furious. At one stage we got into a high road – not -quite – luffing match with Messr Frankfort and won that one, but they dove low, sneaking by us.

Leg 2 SATT

Leaders emerge in the strain of competition

The Omanis were troopers and worked hard all night, even when they couldn’t keep their eyes open they continued to try. Epitsom, who is our one and only returning sailor from last year has really stepped up and proven herself to be an asset. She does all the jobs asked and has really grown in her skill set. During the night when it was hard, she was sending the other Omani girls down before taking her break. When her break came to an end she uncomplainingly came back up on deck. Onshore, Epitsom is the one who has asked for more coaching and feedback on what she needs to do to improve and about her strengths/weaknesses. We had a big coaching session last night and discussed her strengths in potential positions and also how to deal with outside naysayers – a concept we ALL have dealt with in our lives.

A Podium Finish!

We ended up finishing fourth for the leg, right behind Messr Franfort It was a great finish and the team did great work. Navigating the myriad waypoints and safety hazards was not an easy task – Liz took it on magnificently; Mary was fantastic trimming and doing some driving;and Lauren managed the bow and was a rock while trimming as well. After the finish, we found out there had been a port/starboard incident at the last rounding mark between EFG and Delft. EFG had filed a protest. The hearing was held yesterday and EFG won. Delft got thrown out for infringing the rule. The rule says that a boat on starboard has rights and a port boat must keep clear – just like right of way on roads. That means we move up to finishing third. So my goal of getting the girls on the podium has been fulfilled! I am pleased for them. I still want another podium, and of course will work hard to get that. There is a lot of racing left!

A shifty day of racing in Abu Dhabi

Today is the inport race in a tiny harbor in front of Abu Dhabi. The wind is crazy because it shifts amid the skyscrapers, and the water is very shallow and not well marked. Makes it a bit sketchy at times. Joining us for the inport race is a team from Abu Dhabi. Initially, they wanted to compete on the entire SATT race, but couldn’t get it done in time. Hopefully, this will get them some visibility and generate some sponsor interest, so they can join next year.

In port racing Leg 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Llyod Images for photos.

Training while racing: Leg 1 from Bahrain to Qatar

Bahrain to Qatar – 4th place!

After finishing fourth on the first leg from Bahrain we stopped here in Doha Qatar for a day of in-port racing just outside the Pearl Marina. 8-12 knots of wind gave us great training for our novice crew. I see a noticeable progression in the Omani women’s skills. Our 3rd place finish in race 2 was a great confidence boost to the team – thanks to a great start and good wind/strategy calls. We moved Raham, the young woman from the Oman Navy, up to helping at mast and floater position, and she is really enjoying the increased physicality of those jobs. She had previously been on main. Being a novice at both sailing and English proved a big challenge for everyone, as the main position is integral to the communication flow on board. Like any team, each position requires different skills and delivers unique attributes to the success formula, so figuring out who fits best into each role takes time. Ideally this would have been done far in advance during practice sessions. But with last minute team changes we are on a steep learning curve in the midst of competition.

 

Pearl Marina, Doha - Qatar

Pearl Marina, Doha – Qatar

Next leg – The longest from Doha Qatar to Abu Dhabi

The wind for our next leg looks stable and manageable. It should be a quick run. We will be under spinnaker with wind behind us the entire way, except for the short upwind leg with a turning mark. The route is filled with many navigational hazards such as oil fields, islands and shallows. Liz Baylis, our experienced navigator, will have her hands full plotting waypoints and keeping her eyes peeled for unlit marks – an increased challenge when racing under spinnaker. The current routing puts us into port early morning, around 6 am. This will give us a needed rest day in Abu Dhabi.

Getting into a Groove

As the event progresses and we continue to tune our boat, our team is starting to settle in and find a rhythm. I hope the progression continues for us. The other team competitors have commented to me on how well we are sailing, and it feels good to have them recognize the potential in our novice young women. Currently we are on the heels of the Dutch team, chasing them for third overall, with a lot of racing left to go. We have developed a great relationship with this team. In Bahrain, their navigator was very helpful with some of our electronic problems, and when their batteries died (no engine) after the finish of the first leg we threw them a tow line until a power boat came by to take over the job. This is a great part of the culture of sailing – although we are competitors, we are friends, allies and have each other’s backs.

Today we head off on the longest leg of the SATT – 160 nautical miles from Doha to Abu Dhabi.

Ok – off we go… wish us luck!
−Katie