Life is not a Dress Rehearsal: A Chat with Denise

Lesbian – A woman who is emotionally, romantically, or sexually attracted to other women. Women and non-binary people may use this term to describe themselves.

Age/Name/Years on the water/location

What was the first boat you ever sailed? What was the experience like?
A small sunfish-style boat on a 2 square mile lake in Vermont growing up. I would spend all day on that boat when the winds were appropriate.

What about your first race? What kind of boat did you sail, what was the experience like?
While in high school, a friend had a Hobie 18 and we would race it on the weekends in Northern New Jersey. Let’s just say we were there for the fun not for any medals or trophies.

What made you fall in love with sailing?
The challenge of using the wind to move as fast as possible over the water. Besides, sailing is the most expensive way to get somewhere for free.

What is/was your favorite boat to sail on, and why?
The one I’m on at the time. I know that sounds like a cop-out but I really don’t have a preference. I will say that in bigger sea-states, I like a bigger boat.

What would you like to tell inexperienced/younger sailors or someone on the fence with trying?
I live by the following rule: Life is not a dress rehearsal. It’s a one-take live show. If you want to try something, do it.

What are you currently doing within the sport? IE teaching, cruising the world, racing etc. tell us about your current/planned adventure.
Currently I’m involved with a local club here in Chicago that teaches all aspects of sailing from this is a clove hitch to how to rebuild a rudder that’s failed. I take club members (students?) on evening, day sails, and destination sails including lake crossings and trips up the coast to Milwaukee. On a personal note, I’m preparing to sail from Chicago to warm salty waters in a few years after I retire.

What is your biggest achievement in sailing? This can be anything from buying a boat, to rebuilding the engine to first major race/cruise.
Other than Starting to sail the in 2019 and buying a boat, solo, exactly 1 year later, then solo sailing across the lake the first month it was in the water? I’m not sure if that’s a great achievement or sheer stupidity.

Whats something you would like to impart on veteran sailors?
Veteran sailors know a lot and have the experience to back it up. But, sometimes we become blinded by “what’s worked in the past.” Maybe there are better ways. One of my mentors takes new sailors out on the boat and says “we have a problem with xxxxx. Come up with a solution.” On occasion a new method or tool or whatever is used and a better way is found. You can always learn. Oh – and sometimes women have ideas too.

What do you like to do when ashore and not working on sailing things? ie biking, cooking, scrapbooking, gardening etc.
I like to bike. In years past I’ve been known to ride a few thousand miles in a season.

How do you identify? Anything else you would like others to know about you? Website/FB link to share? An interesting fact about you?
I identify as someone who lives life. I’m told that being transgender is one of the least interesting things about me. But if you’re interested, it is like being transgender. If you’re interested in my sailing/boating exploits,