Today’s task: Stay focused – One race at a time!

Katie Pettibone heads out for what may be the final day of racing…
Or not…

I am heading out to San Francisco Bay with the Omega/Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) America’s Cup VIP boat. There was a strong air of expectancy at the base this morning. A sense of anticipation, nervousness and of holding the collective breath. ETNZ is one race away from winning the America’s cup. This has been a work in progress since 2004 when they lost the cup to the Swiss. They almost won it back in 2007, but the Swiss prevailed with the Alinghi Team. For Oracle this must be excruciating. They now have a yacht that is closely matched with ETNZ, but they have a mountain to climb back. It really would be one the greatest comebacks if they prevailed.

AC Omega

As a sailor I know the teams are just focusing on doing the next thing in front of them – which is simply sail a boat race. Whether it is trimming a wing, looking for wind, grinding or turning a wheel- it’s all been practiced a million times. The tough part is to not get ahead of oneself, and think ahead. Just stay present.

I am hankering to get out there myself. And numerous people are saying to me ‘it may be time for another women’s team’. True. There are no women sailing in this one, and I have heard some male sailors say these boats are too physical. Not true. Although similar to 1995, we would probably have some design tweaks. Ultimately we simply need more teams. There are only four teams competing in the end, and I know a lot of great sailors who didn’t end up racing because there just weren’t enough positions. That will require some different choices by whomever defends the Cup.

Whatever happens today, it will be exciting. Wind predicted between 15-20, true wind speed. We have a strong ebb tide in the second race, which will drop the wind limits for racing, but hopefully we will get two races in. Of course if ETNZ wins the first race, the second won’t be needed. Stay tuned…

Hong Kong press covers Katie Pettibone on Omega/ETNZ America's Cup VIP boat.

Hong Kong press covers Katie Pettibone on Omega/ETNZ America’s Cup VIP boat.

AC: Katie’s perspective on New Zealand & Team Oracle

Watching the AC on my iPhone between legislative sessions 🙂

America’s Cup races 7 and 8 are today here in San Francisco. The weather is predicted to be windy. There is a max wind limit for racing of 23 knots that gets adjusted for tidal flow (tide out the bay lowers the wind limit while tide flooding in raises it because of waves effect). Racing so far has been exciting albeit one-sided with the New Zealand team dominating.

AC US & NZ flying

This past week was the end of the California state Legislature’s legislative session. Between monitoring floor sessions and talking to legislative staff in the Capitol, I would find a bench to sit and watch Americas cup racing own my iPhone. God bless technology! The same story played out though- Oracle racing coming up short again and again. Even a significant crew change (changing tactician American John Kostecki out and bringing in British Ben Ainslie) and some design tweaks have not helped to this point. Currently ETNZ is up 6 races to negative 1 of Oracle. Why negative for USA? Because they got caught cheating in the Americas cup World Series raced in the AC 45’s. Although some have complained that the two point penalty they incurred was draconian for racing in what some have characterized is a farm league, it was part and parcel of the Cup and Protocol designed by Oracle. As was the removal of any appeals process.

Oracle appears a bit faster downwind but ETNZ is faster upwind. Even when Oracle has led, ETNZ gets around them on leg three – the long upwind leg. Some mistakes in tactics by Oracle let ETNZ get by easier but its tough holding off a competitor that is faster. Unique to this Cup, the course is not being adjusted for wind changes which has resulted in skewed courses making it harder to find something to catch up or pass a team ahead. As a competitor I can tell you there is a certain horror you feel when you first realize that your boat is lacking a speed gear or is not as fast as your competitor. I saw that in Oracle in the first couple of races. After that realization there’s a certain resolution and examination of what the options are because not doing anything is NOT one of them. If you listen to the press conference of Oracle and ETNZ after Tuesday- Spithill (driver of Oracle) conveys that very clearly.

AC Orcale

There are two races today scheduled and two tomorrow. If Oracle does not pull a design rabbit out of the hat, then ETNZ could be winners of the Americas Cup tomorrow. I know that the sailors on both teams are trying to take it one race at a time because anything can and will happen. But for Oracle if the design team hasn’t come up with something, the sailors on Oracle are going to have to continue to look for Hail Mary passes. That’s a tough mindset to play from.

Katie reports in from San Francisco ~The America’s Cup Begins!

Three years in the making, yesterday was the start of the 34th America’s Cup. With completely new boats, and completely different type of sailing, the goal is to make it viewer friendly and exciting. The racing is super short ~ around 30 minute races (max: two a day), and it all happens inside of San Francisco Bay.

34 americas's cup San FranAlthough a match race, the rules and course have deviated with the change into giant, wing-sail catarmarans. Previously, we raced monohulls. I liken the change as similar to that from racing helicopters to racing F-16s. We could maneuver back and forward within inches and now it is a speed race with occasions for tight maneuvering. Both are exciting, but just very different. These new boats can go up to 50 miles an hour! Not only is that flying, these things literally raise out of the water in a mode called “foiling.” To achieve the highest speeds the boats rise up on blade foils leaving no hull friction in the water. Extraordinary design, but it will come down to which sailors (drivers and crew) are the best at keeping these massive machines up on their foils. Hulls in the water are slow!

The American’s won the last America’s Cup in 2010 making the US the ‘Defender’ and host of the 2013 Cup. Unlike traditional America’s Cup’s where there are many countries challenging to race against the Defenders, the 2010 Cup was a ‘Deed of Gift’ Match. In short two very acrimonious teams who can’t agree on rules ended up in a one-on-one match where bare-bone default rules written in 1851 are used. (Also occurred in 1988 with Dennis Conor and the big winged NZ boat.) They raced different boats in a best of three races in Valencia. Oracle Racing Team (USA) beat the Swiss and brought the Cup back to San Francisco.

AC first race

The cost: Neither the time and nor resources that would be required of changing to these new multi-hull boats for the 34th Cup was well thought out. Instead of the hoped for 10-12 countries of Challengers, there ended up only being three challengers: Artemis – Sweden, Luna Rossa – Italy, and Emirates Team – New Zealand) who could afford to pay the astronomical sums required to get to the starting line. Exciting but cutting edge changes ended up with the death of a very famous British sailor. Emirates Team NZ (ETNZ) emerged out of the Challenger Series as the one to challenge Oracle easily beating Artemis and Luna Rosa. New Zealand has just over four million people ~ that is the size of Los Angeles, which is just one city in California. ETNZ has been in the America’s Cup since 1995, and certainly have set the standard for winning.

ETNZ and Oracle Racing have not yet raced against each other. How they will line up, and if either one has an advantage remains to be seen. Many eyes will be on this event. Will one boat have such an advantage to walk away or will it be close? Only time will tell! [Read More]


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)

Raya al Habsi ~ A fast path to success!

In the fall of 2011 Raya al Habsi and several other young Omani women met Dee Caffari, Katie Pettibone and 4 other elite international women sailors. Dee, Katie and their peers had been invited to Oman by Oman Sail to begin coaching and mentoring this novice group of young women to compete in their first sailing race – the 2012 Sailing Arabia the Tour (SATT). From never having been in a gym to competing with men in a 1200 mile grueling race along the Arabian Coast, Raya and her team mates embarked on a journey that has not only changed the course of their own lives, but inspired thousands of girls and women and their families around the world.

Raya History article

“As part of Oman Sail’s continued efforts to develop women’s sailing in the sultanate, Omani sailor Raya Al Habsi will also be competing on board. She has previously competed in Sailing Arabia-The Tour in 2012 and 2013, and is currently part of the all-female Oman Sail entry at the J/80 Worlds. “Raya has been with us from the beginning of the girls’ offshore sailing,” says Caffari. “She has been working the bow on the Farr 30 and has been cold, wet and beaten up and still continues to smile, which is a good characteristic to have for a tough environment, which the Fastnet is. This is big deal for Oman Sail and for Arab women in sport.” [Read More]

Join us as we follow Rising Tide Leadership Institute Ambassador Dee Caffari, and Oman Sail’s Raya al Habsi, as they compete on the blazing fast 70′ multihull Aman-Air Masandam in this year’s Fastnet race starting August 11th. More news to follow!

Katie speaks at Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship

Rising Tide Leadership Institute Co-Founder/Ambassador Katie Pettibone was the keynote speaker at the 2013 US Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, California in late June. 78 of the top junior women sailors competed for the US Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship title. Katie shared adventures from her America’s Cups and Round-the-World Races and inspired the young elite competitors with the stories of Raya, Intisar and the Omani Women’s sailing team.

KP speaking JWDCFocusing on leadership, Katie introduced the competitors to the Rising Tide Leadership Institute, leaving them with a self-assessment performance tool and an invitation to fill out a more in-depth performance assessment survey on the RTLI website. Katie commented on the young women, “It’s energizing to be around a group of high performance oriented young women who want to constantly up their game. They motivate me even more as to the importance of our mission at the Rising Tide Leadership Institute – to help develop high capacity young women leaders.” Congratulations to 2013 US Junior Women’s Doublehanded Champions Carolyn Smith (Newport Beach, California) and Bayley Davidson (Costa Mesa, California)!

2013 USA Women’s Match Racing Champion Team!

Congratulations Ladies!  In a three-day series at the Chicago Match Race Center that featured everything from light shifty breeze to big wind and waves, Chicago-based Jennifer Wilson and her team of Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wisconsin), Katherine Pettibone (Sacramento, California), Krista Paxton (Royal Oak, Michigan), and Sandi Svoboda (Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan) have won the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy for the 2013 US Women’s Match Racing Championship. After defeating Sandy Hayes in a 2-0 Semi-Final, Wilson and team went on to defeat Stephanie Roble and her team in a 3-1 Final.

2013 US Womens Match Race Champions

L to R: Sally Barkow, Sandi Svoboda, Jennifer Wilson, Krista Paxton, Katie Pettibone

For winning this ISAF Grade 3 championship, Wilson will receive an automatic invitation to the Open US Match Racing Championship this September in Sheboygan, Wisconsin as well as the Women’s International Match Race Series event this July in Oyster Bay, New York.

“I was really comfortable racing with this team,” said Wilson. “We have sailed a lot together over the years. I felt like we had the best group out there. I let Sally do her magic and take care of tactics, while I focused on sailing fast and smooth in the shifty conditions.”

Rising Tide Leadership Institute Ambassador Katie Pettibone shared, “It was a great weekend of racing with both new and more experienced match racers. It was fun to battle it out against Stephanie Roble and her team who after doing an Olympic campaign have been out on the circuit honing their skills. We had great speed and picked our lanes carefully and were able to prevail to ultimately win.” [Read More]

Congratulations Intisar! ~ Winner of Oman’s first ‘Woman Sailor of the Year’ award

Rising Tide Leadership Institute congratulates Intisar al Toubi, age 24, for becoming Oman’s FIRST ‘Woman Sailor of the Year’ recipient! Intisar first began training and sailing in November, 2011, when she joined Oman Sail. She was one of just four Omani women selected to crew on Oman’s first all-women team, competing in the 2012 Sailing Arabia The Tour, and one of six selected to compete on the women’s 2013 team.

Intisar receiving award

Intisar al Toubi, age 24, receiving Oman’s FIRST ‘Woman Sailor of the Year’ award

RTLI Ambassador Katie Pettibone shares– “From the outset Intisar has always shown amazing potential for becoming an outstanding sailor and leader. She has worked hard, transforming from potential into reality. She gives 100% and is invested in being the best she can be for herself and for the team, growing through high performance sailing. The award is fantastic and I am so pleased that her skill and excellence is being recognized.”

Oman Daily Observer, Muscat– “Intisar is known as a natural leader and a good role model for other girls. Always willing to learn, she understands the bigger picture of the Women’s Sailing Program. During the 15-day 760 miles of intense racing on the Tour she was an active crew member showing a good understanding of trimming and displayed excellent skills with mainsheet trimming during the inshore races. She is also consistently first in the bike fitness test and holds the fastest test time for rowing.”

[Read More]