Life On The Water Creates Lifelong Relationships

Published on October 8th, 2015

By Jo Murray, Gazettes

As I was growing up, every few years my folks would get a bigger boat and a smaller house. One day they sold our Naples cottage, along with all our furniture, and we moved aboard our boat in Alamitos Bay Marina full time. I was in elementary school and the experiences I had and the people I met living aboard were truly unique and rewarding.

It seems to me people tend to cocoon themselves in their homes and find answers via Google. In the marina, neighbors are more interactive and boaters socialize more than house-dwellers. And answers come from old salts who provide advice on the gangway.

When a boat returns to the marina, others hustle to help with docking and are anxious to hear a debriefing about the day on the water. Because of limited space on board, boaters share more and develop deeper relationships. I miss having that maritime connection that those who share dock space have.

In 1983, one of our gangway neighbors introduced us to a compassionate woman who loved to laugh, was beautiful, athletic and, best of all, she was a competitive sailor. She was none other than Linda Elias.

Over the next 20 years that I knew her, Elias won the 1992 Peggy Slater Yachtswoman of the Year Award and competed in transpacific races in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1999. Sadly, Elias passed away in 2003 after a nine-year battle with ovarian cancer, at age 52. At her celebration of life, a slide series captured her personality as the music played, “Girls just want to have fun.”

As a tribute to this three-time champion of the Women’s One-Design Challenge, the annual regatta was renamed in her honor. In addition, the Long Beach Sailing Foundation established the Linda Elias Sailing Scholarship Fund.

This year’s Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Regatta will be Oct. 17 and 18. The Long Beach Women’s Sailing Association is busy with final details of its signature event. Co-hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club, the annual fleet racing contest is sailed by 10-woman crews on Catalina 37s.

The team from Southwestern Yacht Club (SWYC) won last year’s 23rd annual Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge. They were awarded the perpetual Linda Elias Memorial Women’s One-Design Challenge trophy, donated by Al and Vicki Shultz, and a $1,000 scholarship check from the Linda Elias Sailing Scholarship Fund.

Read on.

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