Sailor of the Week: March 4 - 10
Prioleau (Newport Beach, Calif.) has truly mastered the art of
connecting people’s passion for sailing with adventure. For the past 19
years Karen has served as the sail training vessel coordinator and
part-time skipper for Alaska Eagle, a 65-foot sailboat owned and run by
Orange Coast College (The School of Sailing and Seamanship) based out
of Newport Beach.
Alaska Eagle (previously named “Flyer”) won the 1977-78 Whitbread Round the World Race (now the Volvo Ocean Race). Karen takes adults on offshore sailing adventures aboard the craft. “I have to add the boat is fantastic for offshore voyaging. That makes a big difference,” Karen mentioned.
Her offshore adventures have included trips to Hawaii, Tahiti, Panama, Vancouver Islands, and New Zealand. She is looking forward to upcoming Alaska Eagle trips. She’ll be sailing at least one leg of the Newport Beach to Easter Island trip or Rio de Janeiro to Antigua to Panama trip. Her skippering duties are usually limited to one leg a year. “I just realized I’ve been to some amazing places. Connecting people with their passion is a great way to spend a day,” she added.
Karen is also a member of the adjunct faculty at Orange Coast College. The teaching aspect of her responsibilities with the school is a new challenge. She will be teaching the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) course. This program includes boat handling, maintenance radar, and Basic Safety Training.
Sailing entered Karen’s life when she was 11, and it made quite the impression. She took a sailing course from the local Girl Scouts, and was hooked right away. Karen was the only immediate family member who sailed. She became an assistant instructor when at 13. “I would ride my bike 12 miles to Sea Scout Base if I couldn’t get a lift,” she said.
With both of her kids going to college next year, Karen is hoping to fill her schedule with sailing adventures of her own. “My favorite sails are at night, screaming down waves surrounded by a star filled sky.”