Sailboats, Racing, & Role Models

Over my birthday weekend I asked my daughter to come sailing with me. She agreed and we woke up early and headed to the yacht club to staff the Race Committee boat. I wanted her to meet the inspiring women that run the Berkeley Mid-Winter Yacht Races and especially Bobbi Tossi.

Bobbi is a legend in our circle and it was important to me that my daughter meet her as she embodies the qualities that I most value in a woman: smart, fearless and adventurous.

I come from a family where the women were afraid to drive on the freeway, so Bobbi is an antidote to my past, and a refreshing role model for my future. She is both respected and wise, and I’ve been by her side for many days on the committee boat. Normally, I’m a recorder. I check in the yachts and then record their times at the finish. On this day we were well staffed, so my daughter and I took the lesser role of spotting for the recorder as the sailboats checked in. This translated into more time for us to spend together.

Boats provide an intimate environment that is hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it. Although, the elements can intrude nothing else can. A boat is a small country all it’s own. There is no other place quite like it. There are so many elements to take in, and yet it is incredibly peaceful and tranquil. You are surrounded by the most beautiful scenery and still are able to listen and focus on your companions without the kind of distractions you find onshore.

On this day, we had very little wind, so our race was postponed and my daughter and I sat on the stern of the boat laughing, talking and taking funny photos. She had just come home from college the night before, and the delay gave us hours to catch up on every detail of her life.

We had never waited so long for the wind in my experience, and even when it came in, the race took much longer than was expected. Still, the winter day was mild and there was nowhere I would have rather been in the world. It is in these most common of hours that I find the things I cherish most in life.

I looked at my daughter and thought; this very still and windless day on the water will likely remain in her memory forever. It might be the one day that she will remember most. Possibly it will be the same for me.

Love and blessings to all.



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