Volvo Ocean Race: Hastreiter’s Fast Track

Published on April 3rd, 2014

by Dave Reed, Sailing World
Six years ago Sara Hastreiter, of Casper, Wyoming, set out an adventurous and unpredictable life as a sailing vagabond, connecting one race and one delivery to the next, each gig leading to some great unknown.

Today, she’s in Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, preparing with Team SCA, the all-female Volvo Ocean Race syndicate. Her new roommate is Dee Caffari, of England, the most famous female offshore sailor of the day.

In her diary, the brown-eyed, big-smiled 29-year-old has just written about how Samantha Davies, another sailing household name, paid her a compliment during the day’s practice.

“I mean … Sam Davies, complimenting me?” says Hastreiter with a giggle. “I’m still stunned.”

What sort of compliment was it exactly?

“She said I did a really good job on the bow today. Umm …what do I say? Thanks Sam.” If Hastreiter comes across star struck, it’s because she is. As one of the final SCA crewmembers announced in late March she joins and international entourage of Olympic sailors and round-the-world veterans, which is an incredible accomplishment considering her first sailing experience was as a deckhand on a day-charter catamaran in the Caribbean in 2008.

Her relatively quick ascent to the pinnacle of offshore racing from landlocked Wyoming is no coincidence, however. She attributes it to persistence and commitment.

Following her charter cat introduction, she sought rides on the Caribbean winter circuit and then hustled her way onto racing programs and offshore deliveries. She racked up the miles (40,000 and counting) and the experience, and made contacts. If you’re serious about this racing thing, her new sailing friends told her, then get yourself to Newport, R.I., stat. She did, promptly hooking into the scene and onto the Cookson 50 Privateer and other top area teams. Then came SCA’s crew call in August 2012.

“I applied, like several hundred other girls,” she says, “but I broke my ribs shortly after that. Once I was better, I started physically training and continued the sailing that I was doing. In February [of 2013] I’d just finished the Pineapple Cup. I was the only female to do that race, and I was introduced to Richard Mason [SCA shore manager]. He said he’d pass along my CV- with no promises.”

Hastreiter had already missed the team’s early tryouts and assumed the opportunity was past, but she was invited to Lanzarote in May 2013 for a month. Afterward they told her to keep in touch.

“I just kept doing as many offshore races or ocean crosses that I could. I was always in the gym and working at it. During Les Voiles de St. Barts, rather than hanging out on the beach, I was running hills. I knew, if I had the opportunity to come back, I had to show dedication at all times. I needed to be able to show a difference. – Sailing World, read on

Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race starts October 4 and will take the fleet to 11 cities in 11 countries – Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, France and Sweden – and will require the teams to cover 38,739 nautical miles. It will be the first edition using the new one design Volvo Ocean 65 racing boats. Race website:

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