Going to battle with powerful women
Published on May 17th, 2022
Since the introduction of the Mixed Multihull event at the Olympic Games, the US Team continues to get close to the podium, but not close enough. While top ten at both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, improvement in the Nacra 17 has been hampered by turnover.
In their first Olympics, Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee finished 8th in Rio, but then did not continue on to Tokyo. Similarly, Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis showed promise in their first campaign, finishing 9th in Tokyo, but have also stopped their effort.
In both quads was Sarah Newberry, one of the best female drivers in performance sailing in U.S. history, having won five National and two North American Championships. While just missing out to represent the USA at Tokyo with new teammate David Liebenberg, the duo is at it again for Paris 2024.
As the top ranked USA team, they’ve just returned from racing in Europe and will commence training with a new boat… Sarah tells the story:
Every boat we have owned as a team is named after a powerful woman from history.
Our first boat is Belle Starr, named for the outlaw queen of the Wild West. We were so green and fresh when we got Belle Starr that putting her together for the first time was a huge challenge. We spent days in the parking lot of the sailing center in Medemblik, Holland, trying to figure out what the heck we were doing.
Later in our campaign we met our second boat. By the time she came into our lives we knew what we wanted and setting her up to race came much more naturally. Smooth. She is named Isabella Bird, after the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Funny enough, Isabella Bird the Nacra 17 did actually complete her own circumnavigation after being shipped to Oceania in 2019-2020.
As we start our second campaign together we are older, wiser, and more determined than ever. Our new boat is aptly named. The Chihenne Chiricahua Apache warrior, Lozen, was a prophet and a leader. She was a powerful, skilled, and brave woman. She challenged every norm. And she is an original resident of the land that we call our home.
Lozen “was a respected ally of the famed Apache Chief Geronimo and sister to Apache Chief Victorio. Although these men are better known to historians, Lozen remains a legend to her people today.”
“Lozen is my right hand,” Victorio once said of his sister. “Strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. She is a shield to her people.” Lozen once crossed the Rio Grande on horseback, rifle overhead, leading her tribe’s women and children and their horses away from the enemy. Then she turned around and crossed the river again in order to rejoin her tribe and fight beside the men.
Welcome, Lozen! We are so honored to have you!