Katy's first job was as a dinghy coach at age 15–that was quite a while ago–and at last count, she had only spent three years of adulthood not teaching sailing at least a little bit, despite her best efforts to grow up along the way. Adulting proved to be elusive, so Katy doubled down on sailing competitively and professionally instead.
Katy lived in southern England for a while, where she taught for several sailing schools and skippered for race charter companies in the UK and Europe. Competing in the infamous Fastnet race, teaching students how to not hit things in the challenging waters of the Solent, and training private clients in the Caribbean all helped her find her sea legs within an industry that can be difficult to break into.
When it was finally time to head home, Katy didn't know what she would do there? Before leaving Vancouver, sailing professionally had seemed utterly impossible. Now, after diving headfirst into the sailing industry in Europe, she wondered how she would resurface and fit in at home. But it was easy. Upon her return, she started her own company.
Sea to Sky Sailing was born of Katy's passion for doing serious sailing adventures right and opening up the wider world to more keen young sailors. The Pacific Northwest is a very long way from the centers of the sailing universe. Still, Katy was determined to create a bridge for those who want to cross it either into professional sailing, serious blue water cruising, or high-level racing, all while helping students of all levels expand their sailing horizons safely.
The Royal Yachting Association certification Katy earned in the UK had opened doors for her, and she decided to bring that gold standard level of certification to the wild west coast. Sea to Sky is now the only mixed racing and cruising school and Royal Yachting Association training center on the west coast of the Western Hemisphere–and it has been a wild ride!
To date, Katy has led crews of students across the Atlantic; on three circumnavigations of Vancouver Island, including two in the VanIsle 360 International Yacht Race; in the outrageously fun and difficult Race to Alaska; in the RORC Caribbean 600 with 2nd place in class; and cruising and racing all over the Pacific Northwest. She has also moonlighted as the first mate for the first all-female team to do the Rolex Middle Sea Race. They finished 4th in class on one of the smallest boats in the fleet with a crew all under 21 years old.
"See?" says Katy, "Growing up is overrated when you could just go to sea instead!"
- A very bad influence: she will get you hooked on sailing
- Has corrupted approximately 1,000 souls to date, turning them into sailors (aka failed adults)
- Favourite moment? That "aha" moment where students really get it
- Maintains a fleet of 3 yachts, Paragon & Pau Hana in the Pacific Northwest and most recently Panacea X which is busy roaming the high seas
- Also likes bikes and has cycled more than 5,000 km across Europe from Portsmouth to Istanbul–because why not?