I guess I should start by introducing myself. I am the "Nautical Nomad," aka Hannah Jenner, and I'm a pro sailor, motivational speaker, writer and videographer. This is my first post to the boats.com blog and over the coming months I aim to bring you thoughts, experiences, pictures and even mini-films from the various nautical adventures that I find myself a part of.
As race crew and now relief boat captain aboard the Transpac-winning classic yacht Dorade, I will kick off with some highlights from our Caribbean regatta season. For those of you with a passion for speed fear not, I will be taking any opportunity I get to jump on some more modern racing machines. With the US Class 40 fleet about to arrive in Newport RI as a part of the Atlantic Cup and an all-new Open 60 race from New York to Barcelona beginning 1 June, there is a great deal of high profile sailing happening on the East Coast and it just so happens I have a few connections!
But before I get too excited about the summer season ahead, I must quickly reflect on some of the great experiences the Caribbean regatta circuit had to offer. Despite some tough conditions for us on board Dorade during the RORC Caribbean 600 (i.e. upwind in any sea state larger than a ripple), we managed a class win and got some epic photos in which Dorade can be seen as being “fully launched” (to coin a modern boat phrase).
The BVI Spring Regatta followed, offering us some fantastic flat water sailing using rugged islands as marks. As navigator for the event, I spent a good deal of each race day chewing my fingernails off as we steered a very famous piece of yachting history heart thumpingly close to the rocks. I say ‘we‘ steered, but actually this was our chance to introduce JJ Fetter to the helm in preparation for her role as the leader of the all-female Antigua Classics team. In order to be a great helm on Dorade you need two things - nerves of steel (to believe she will roll back upright again) and big shoulders (there is no power steering on this boat). JJ proved she had both.
One of the great things about sailing is the people you get to meet. With just two days of training prior to the start of the Antigua Classics regatta, JJ brought together a group of eleven women who had never raced as a team before, and we took over Dorade. I am used to racing her with the boys so it was a very different experience but a great one. Pam, co-owner of Dorade (whose brainchild it was to create an all female team for the event) did a great job at the mizzen. The foredeck team worked together with a fluidity you would expect from some considerable time on the water together, not just two days. And the brain trust in the back of the boat and the trimmers just seemed to click. Here's a video I posted introducing the team:
Although I don’t often get to sail as a part of an all-female crew, it made me smile to think that back in 1930 when Dorade was launched, it would have been unheard off for a women’s team to race such a boat. And not only did we race her hard but we managed to get ourselves on the podium on the final day, despite race courses that favored the longer waterline yachts.
So that’s it from me this time. Don’t forget to tune in in a couple of weeks, for the next edition of musings from the Nautical Nomad. Thanks for reading.
Editor's Note: We haven't yet posted anything about Class 40s, so we're looking forward to reading the next Nautical Nomad story in a few weeks. We have, however, posted a lot about Dorade over the past few years:
- Sunday Sailing: Classic Yacht Racing on Dorade
- Throwback Thursday: Dorade
- Dorade Unleashed on Transpac Run
- Dorade Log 7: Newport to Bermuda Ocean Race Video Takes You Onboard
- Dorade Log 6: Finished! Just After Midnight
- Dorade Update: 120 miles to go
- Dorade Log 5: Entering the Gulf Stream
- Dorade Heading for Bermuda
- Dorade Log 4: Bermuda Race Inspection
- Dorade Log 3: Lessons in Light Air at St. Barth
- Dorade Log No. 2: Like Dating Marilyn Monroe
- Dorade Log No. 1: Skinny Genes