Sailor of the Week: June 23-29
Haley Lhamon has been a driving force in the development of women’s sailing in the Pacific Northwest. The former Stanford University sailor has skippered and crewed a variety of boats, including J/35s, Thistles and Snipes. Haley’s passion for sailing has motivated her to help grow the sport for women in the Seattle area and beyond. Through her vision, Haley organized her second women’s racing clinic, June 18 on Lake Washington, and 40 sailors of all ages and levels of ability registered to participate. Women sailors throughout the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia, Canada attended the clinic. Haley served as the lead coach and teacher. Hear what Haley had to say about the women’s racing clinic:
US SAILING: How did the concept of these clinics come to fruition?
Haley: “When our first women's clinic concluded two years ago, the participants were so enthusiastic about their experience that we all agreed we should have a second. That first clinic had about 20 participants and we primarily used Snipes, along with a couple of Lasers, because I wanted to give back to the local Snipe fleet which had given me so much support the previous year."
"I had sailed in a few Snipe regattas including the Snipe Women's Nationals in Seattle. That regatta was the first women's sailing event I had done since college, and it was so much fun to have that many women together on the water. So, I organized these Snipe clinics to give back to the fleets and for women to have fun sailing and help each other with their skills."
"A few women had told me that they would like to try skippering or work on their crew and boat handling skills. We teamed up women of mixed abilities, so it was possible to have the coaching come from women inside and outside the boats. However, we could not have pulled off either clinic without the help of many supportive, kind male sailors in both fleets who volunteered their boats and time."
"Our second clinic was co-sponsored by the Thistle Fleet and Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle which provided whalers, publicity on their website, and other support. This time we had 35 women register with five on the waiting list. We sailed in nine Thistles, two Flying Scotts and a Laser (which came in handy for capsizing practice)."
"Key leaders of the Thistle fleet provided extensive organizational help to make this year’s clinic possible, including Laura Bolin, Jen Wisemore, and Doug Stumberger. The women who showed up to sail and learn on a cold, rainy day (some after driving a few hours) proved that women are not wimps, and I want to recognize them as my own Sailors of the Week!”
US SAILING: How has the clinic raised the level of women’s racing in the region?
Haley: “More women are joining our local fleets as crew and even new boat owners. Members of our Thistle fleet are already inviting these women to race with them and giving their time to go out and practice boat handling skills with them. During the second clinic, we had representatives from women’s sailing associations from around the state as well as British Columbia who were eager to learn new racing skills and apply them in their home waters. We may team up our organizations in the future to do more seminars and clinics."
More about Haley
Haley grew up sailing with her family in Texas at the Fort Worth Boat Club on Eagle Mountain Lake. She met her husband, Rusty, while sailing on the Stanford University team. They have two sons, Taylor (10) and Barrett (7) who are sailing Optis this summer.