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Pease Glaser: No Hiking Needed

Published on March 15th, 2016

After the multihull event was absent at the 2012 Olympics, the 2016 Games will once again include multihull competition. But when teams from Canada and USA line up this summer at the Rio Games, they will be considered cat converts – sailors who made the switch for 2016 from monohulls to multihulls.

This, however, is nothing new. As documented in this 1991 USYRU report by Todd Smith, the reasons to make the switch 25 years ago remain valid today. In Todd’s four part series, the second profile is of Pease Glaser:

In 1988, women sailors became the hot topic of discussion among sailboat racers when Allison Jolly and Lynne Jewell brought home the gold in the Women’s 470 Olympic class. Women have long been excellent sailors, but the stellar success of Allison and Lynne brought women sailors to the limelight in the yachting community. And in this booming era of more women competitors, yet another woman has made a mark for herself by becoming the first woman from the U.S. to be ranked #1 in an open (co-ed) Olympic class: Pease Glaser.

2016-03-09_15-53-23The boat that Pease has mastered just happens to be another trendsetter, the hot-rod Tornado. But just how did Pease go from a high-performance dinghy sailor to a high performance multihull sailor? As Pease recalls, “After the 1988 Trials, I wanted to start racing a Snipe, which sports a strong fleet in Southern California. My boyfriend at the time, Jay Glaser, didn’t want to hike and bought us a Tornado instead.”

Pease and Jay have since married and have been tearing around the course on multihulls ever since. In fact, at their first major regatta, the 1988 Tornado Nationals, Pease and Jay came in second. The combination of Pease’s driving skills (honed by 470 competition) coupled with Jay’s vast crewing experience on the multihulls (world champion Tornado crew and multi-time Tornado national champion and Prindle crew) have propelled this team to the #l U.S. ranking in the Tornado class.

Along the way have been two Tornado North American titles, a Tornado Nationals title, a second place finish at the 1990 USYRU Alter Cup on Prindle l8-2s, and many firsts on the Southern California Prindle circuit. Pease shared some thoughts regarding women in sailing and multihull sailing.

You have shown that women can compete on a level playing field with men in multihull sailing. Not only are you the #1 U.S. Tornado skipper, but you are also the first woman to be a top-ranked U.S. skipper in an open Olympic class. Do you think that this will help entice other women into multihull sailing?

Women have been competing successfully for a while; I’m hardly the first. But yes, women can compete equally with men in multihulls (and many other classes for that matter). I think that the recent success and positive response of dinghy sailors who have begun sailing catamarans has encouraged other dinghy sailors to branch out. I would hope that my success would similarly encourage other women.

If anyone had told me three years ago that I would be helming a catamaran, I would have laughed. But the boats are really fun to sail – not frightening. Women can be effective skippering or crewing. For us, it works well to have Jay, who is stronger, stand on the side and trim the main. On the other hand, one of the top-ranked Tornado crews in the U.S. in the past few years is a mother of teenage children, and she trims the main from the wire. The issue isn’t necessarily strength, but technique.

You have experienced the best of both worlds: the formality and tradition of yacht club organized sailing through the Olympic classes and the casual off-the-beach sailing through the Prindle classes. How do these two types of sailing compare?

Once you get on the water to go racing, it really doesn’t matter if you’re sailing out of a yacht club in Europe or off the beach in Southern California. It all looks and feels the same. Off the water, though it is different. I’ve enjoyed both. We are fortunate in that we belong to yacht clubs that are very supportive of our Tornado sailing. We also belong to a very active and organized Prindle fleet. Each group is focused on racing – in the yacht club that focus is a little more varied.

Several weeks ago we were on the race committee for a 70-footer regatta. In production cat sailing, the focus is directed at only a few classes, and there’s more energy directed at making events fun and including events for new sailors. The off-the-beach groups don’t have facilities to attract new members, so they have to work a little harder on growth. Both organizations offer a chance to get involved and give something back to the sport – the basic tasks of race management, social activities, etc., are the same. The main thing is to get involved.


Pease and Jay Glaser

Update: Pease remains fully entrenched today in the multihull world as partner in Glaser Sails.

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