For the 2014-2015 Mid-Winter season, I wanted to “pay it forward” in the sailing community. Working with ACsailingSF, I have established the Hoke Sailing Grant with a purpose of providing the opportunity for sailors in the Golden Gate Yacht Club Youth Sailing Program the chance to race during the GGYC Mid-Winter Regatta on USA76, a former America’s Cup racing vessel.
The recipients of the grant from December and January have written reports on their experience. Two races remain in the series, so two additional youth sailors will have the opportunity to get out there and race for their club on an America’s Cup yacht.
As I am going to pursue my studies in Paris, the water and sailing on the bay is the one thing I will miss the most. Being a sailor and spending quality time on San Francisco Bay, it was with great honor and appreciation that I was able to crew for USA76 during the GGYC Mid Winter Regatta on January 3, 2015.
As a big fan of Oracle Team USA and the America’s Cup, it was fulfilling a childhood dream of mine to sail on one of the boats previously used in the America’s Cup, and previously used by some of the best sailors in the world. I was in awe of the way USA76 skimmed the choppy bay with perfect fluidity and grace. I have watched this boat glide through the water, but being onboard this majestic piece of history was surreal. Every moment of this regatta was enriching: from learning the history of the boat and its origins, to feeling my adrenaline pump as we approached each mark with speed and energy. It was very interesting to hear the crew strategize about how to sail every leg of the race.
Although I was having a great time on the water, I was also learning new tactics from the crew. Onboard, I got to grind and skipper for the whole first leg of the race. I did not know the other people guest crewing for USA76, but working together as a team created a special bond between us and I was not shy to talk to most of the other team members.
It was an experience I will never forget. I hope to be able to sail on this amazing boat again someday. I would like to thank Ellen Hoke from the bottom of my heart for the experience of a lifetime, because without her, none of this would have been possible!
Anahita at the helm during leg one
Anahita working at the coffee grinder
After racing, the GGYC Tender did a drive by in support
On December 6th, 2014, I embarked on a ride on USA76 with a crew who I’ve never met before. Being on the boat was something magical due to its history of being raced by some of the best sailors in the world. My experience sailing with its crew and other passengers was fantastic.Being around people who didn’t really ask too much about my personal life wasn’t really an issue since everyone’s focus was on sailing as well as my own. I was able to work the grinders a whole lot which was so much fun as well as being able to skipper for awhile! I actually enjoyed grinding a lot more because I race small boats such as the FJ and 29ers and being designated as the crew meant a lot to me on the inside.
Throughout my time on the water, I was able to get over the weird feeling of not knowing anybody and simply focussed on doing my job as a crew and having fun while doing so. I didn’t really talk too much to everyone but if I could take back one thing back it would be that. Being the youngest on the ship felt a bit weird but as I kept working with everyone and sharing a few laughs here a there, I wished that I got to learn from these older men who had years of experience with sailing who were probably on an entirely different level of sailing than I was for sure.
I personally wish I could sail for the rest of my life so by the end, being around these wise and positive people really made the experience so much more worth going than I expected. I hope that one day I could possibly be a crew member of such a beautiful boat such as USA76 all while working alongside many others whose goal is similar to mine – to sail and be happy.
I really enjoyed my time on the boat and I honestly wish I could do it a few more times in the near future before I leave to go to college. I would like to thank all the official crew members that I worked with on the boat who kept such a positive attitude throughout the whole regatta and to those who were alongside me for the ride who, in a way, made me feel accepted as someone who isn’t super familiar with sailing big boats.
Thank you so much for the experience,
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