Jan Wilson
  • Female
  • Gulf Breeze, FL
  • United States
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Profile Type:
Carlyle Sailing Association, Carlyle Lake Carlyle, IL USA
About Me:
61 yr old grandmother who loves to sail! I started racing a Hobie 16 in 1987 then raced large cabin boats when I moved to Pensacola, FL in 1993. I returned to St. Louis in 2004 and have been racing a Flying Scot at the lake. I retired last May and started doing some longer cruises in the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes. Presently preparing to cruise the Pacific waters from Seattle, WA to Glacier Bay, Alaska. I have never owend a boat, but love to crew, I have very little mechanical abilities, but navigational skills have improved tremendously and I enjoy doing brite work, general boat cleaning, and love to cook. My normal preference is a warm climate so the Alaska trip will be quite an adventure for me! At home I serve as the Public Relations and Membership Chairman for the Carlyle Sailing Association, a not for profit sailing club dedicated to promoting the sport of sailing. We offer an excellent youth sailing program and have produced many National and World Champions! ( Who would think our muddy lake in the middle of the corn fields in Illinois could provide such an excellent venue for one design racing) We have a great facility and lots of fun there every weekend from May to Nov. Most of us try to get South in the winter to do more sailing. Because August is so hot and usually has less wind, many of us head North at that time...thus my plan for Alaska voyage! Hope to be back in Pensacola and St. Pete, FL by mid Oct. Will try to find a crew spot to the Carribean aroiund mid-January after our Commodore's Banquet.

I moved back to Pensacola in Oct. 2008 and have been cruising in the Gulf of Mexico so far this year. Spent a week aboard a big old wooden vessel in Feb in Ft. Lauderdale where I am serving on a board for a non-profit foundation that supports underprivelged youth wanting a sailing adventure. ( It's loads of fun) And did some day sailing near St. Pete in Boca Ciega Bay. Might do some more small boat racing in Pensacola this spring, but really want to do more cruising.
Current location:
Gulf Breeze, FL
Destinations visited:
Mostly inland lakes, the great lakes, nortwest (puget sound) and the Gulf of Mexico ( FL coast) and the ICW along the west coast of FL and west coast of Washington.
Looking to:
Hope to gain more blue water experience and eventually see South America, and the Mediteranean.

Comment Wall (9 comments)

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At 9:50pm on June 19, 2009, Mike said…
No, not really - I'm not going far this summer, just hanging around the southern islands and Vic this year. I'll ask a few people and if they are interested I'll send along their emails - when are you coming back?
At 9:10am on March 15, 2009, Jim Antonacci said…
Hi Jan, thanks for the nice words. I take it you are in P'cola now? M and I was in Tampa last month and I thought of your friend. Would have been nice to get a ride. Maybe next time.
At 11:39pm on March 9, 2009, Capt, Jac said…
Hi Jan,
Your correct, Serenity has won her share of first places the last 20 yrs.
I retired her from racing and now we cruise. It could be the name that makes her a winner!
At 7:08pm on December 22, 2008, LOLA said…

Please consider joining Group FEMALE SAILORS GROUP
At 12:45am on August 14, 2008, Shane and Heidi Reiswig said…
Hi Jan, it is a wonderfull trip. I grew up in Southeast and think it is an amzing place for cruising. Can be challenging but very rewarding as well. If I was going to tell someone when to make the trip I would say try to get up there earlier in the year than you are going. Coming back in Sept or Oct puts you into fall weather but it's still beautifull even in the pouring rain or anchored in a secure anchorage waiting for a storm to pass. Looking at your other posts it looks like you have a great boat for the trip and you all sound experienced. Weather can come pretty fast but if your listening to the weather reports you wont have any problems. You'll probably be motoring more than youre used, the winds inside are sometimes either blowing against you or behind you, to so be aware of where you'll be fueling up along the way. On the outside be sure of youre weather before you head out. The tides can be challengin in areas, going with the tide really helps as you are probably aware and sometimes will dictate whether you'll be going anywhere at all. The cruising guide will be handy. I like most the towns along the way. Once you get beond Campbell river, which is nice town, you get more of that "in the wild feeling". Outside of Port Hardy spots good to stop to pull in before crossing Queen Charlotte sound are Bull Harbor and a little place called Gods Pocket. On the other side is Calvert Island, if you anchor at the Hakai Pass Resort and dinghy in to there dock and lodge you can walk about 10 minutes to a beautifull sandy beach on the Hecate strait side. Prince Rupert is a good place to stop at. There really are going to be too many places you could go along the way. I'm probably not being specific enough so let me know if there is anything specific you might want to know. Hopefully you can take your time on the trip and not be too rushed to get all the way to Glacier Bay and Back. Inside waters can be as treachorous in bad weather so dont push yourself to much timeframe wise when the weather dictates hanging out in the harbor. Clothes? Layers! and good raingear. Staying somewhat dry and warm in the northwest is the key. Hope you have a wonderful time and keep us all informed on the trip.
At 11:16am on August 8, 2008, Charles Cohen said…
Jan --

I have some questions about the boat, and the trip. The trip to Glacier Bay is coastal, but it's in frigid water and isolated surroundings. I've just looked at your SeaKnots "About Me". If you've only been cruising in the Caribbean, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico, you have no idea how _empty_ the Northwest can be.

Boat Questions:

Whose boat is it? What condition is it in? What safety and navigation gear (EPIRB, radar, liferaft, harnesses, Lifesling, multiple GPS's, SSB radio, autopilot) is on board?

Is there a protected steering station? ["Protected" means that it will keep me dry, in a driving cold rain.] If not, are there insulated float-suits for everyone on board?

Is there a bosun's chair, and/or mast steps?

Is there a wetsuit and mask, in case the prop gets fouled and somebody has to clear it?

The anchorages are deep and rocky. How big is the main anchor, with how much chain and how much rope? Is the windlass manual or electric?

"Charlie's Charts" says:

"the prevailing winds are such that one should expect to motor for for most of the trip when heading north".

What kind of engine does the Islander have, and what shape is it in? What is the fuel-filter arrangement? What is the oil-change arrangement?

Is there a toolkit that will handle electrical repairs, pump repairs, and rudder repairs? A sail-repair kit?

Are there tools and spares to change the engine raw-water impeller?

What's the underbody shape? Is there some protection from logs hitting the prop, and from fouling on crab-pot lines?

Do you have charts and guidebooks for the route you plan? [I'm partial to paper charts as backup to any electrically-based nav system.]

The Trip and Crew

How firm is the schedule? Is it a delivery run for the boat? Do you "have to be back" at a specific date?

Do you intend to "wait for weather", or accept uncomfortable pounding to windward?

Are you planning to head around Vancouver Island, or use the Strait of Georgia and Johnstone Strait ? [The inland route is slower, and involves timing of several passes and rapids, but it's spectacular, free of high winds, and safe.]

Who will be on the boat? With what level of experience? Is it 100% "pick-up crew", or will some people have sailed together before this trip?

It's clear that you can sail -- with your years of racing, better than I can. Have you done any night sailing and navigation, or navigated through fog with radar? With luck, those skills won't be needed -- but it'll get cold, windy, foggy -- "Man plans, and God laughs".

As you can tell, I worry a lot, and my wife worries for me when I don't.


I started sailing in 1996, taking courses in Toronto on Lake Ontario. I quit my job, ended my marriage, bought a 24' outboard-powered sailboat, and took it solo from Toronto to Miami and back in 1997-1998.

I bought Right Galah (a Morgan 36 Out Island) in 1998, and my new wife and I sailed it from Toronto to Miami, and around the Gulf Coast to New Orleans, in 1999-2000. We trucked it to Vancouver BC, and sailed "locally" for the next three summers. We've been "outside" up to Hot Springs Cove (just north of Tofino), and "inside" up to Port Hardy.

We left Vancouver in the fall of 2004, and travelled coastwise for three years, down to Golfito, Costa Rica in December 2006. We spent a year in Mexico, and came back to Vancouver during hurricane season.

Our longest single leg was 7 days, crossing the Gulf of Tehuantepec from Mexico to El Salvador. [I don't want to do that again with just two people.]

"Right Galah" was barged (via Dockwise Transport) to Florida. She sits on the hard, waiting for us to come back this fall.

I'm a good navigator (paper, GPS, and radar). I've taken a celestial nav course, and did some practice on the trip to Costa Rica, but I wouldn't call myself "experienced" in that art.

I've fixed a lot of stuff on the boat that's gone wrong over the years. I can do electrical troubleshooting and repairs. I've never taken the cylinder head off my engine, but I've cleaned out the cooling system and replaced pumps. I'm not a machinist, and I can't weld.

I'm a good radio operator -- I was active on the marine SSB nets down the Pacific coast, and maintaining schedules with US hams.

Over to you . . .

At 3:54pm on August 7, 2008, Mike said…
I'm sailing up to Barkely Sound for the month of August, but will ask a few friends for you.
Cheers Mike
At 12:16pm on August 7, 2008, Charles Cohen said…
Jan --

I'm committed (to the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival) for the weekend of Aug 15 - Aug 17.

If not for that, I'd be happy to come along -- but I have to say "No".

Are you planning to take the outside route around Vancouver Island? Or will you be going up through Desolation Sound and the Johnstone Strait?

Charles Cohen
Vancouver, BC
At 12:10pm on August 7, 2008, Franc said…
Hey Jan, you may want to join the "Crew Members" group that Jeremy started here on SeaKnots.

Once you join you can send a message to all members at once asking for crew for your trip to Alaska.

Fair winds!

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