New Chick On The Block
We recently caught wind of Katie Miller, the newest sailor chick coming out of the English solo racing movement that spun off after Dame Ellen did her thing. We had a great conversation with the 22-year old as she was sipping a glass of wine on her parent’s yacht in Portsmouth – she answered all the Anarchists’ questions and a bunch of our own about how she picked up the experience and sponsorship to get her own major racing campaign started. Enjoy.
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SA: Why singlehanded racing, instead of all the other disciplines?
KM: I really like being in charge of everything. From my big boat sailing, quite often I’ve found that I’m just sitting on the mainsheet, and it’s all I’m concerned with, and all I’m allowed to think about. It’s not that fun to work hard, think outside the box, and then be ignored because a skipper is thinking about something else. What I like is being on the boat, being in charge of sail trim, boathandling, navigation, provisioning, tactics, that’s the stuff I get a buzz out of.
SA: What was your early experience? What boat did you learn on and what has been your progression through boats so far?
KM: I first started sailing back in 2001 on a Neilson flotilla holiday. Being from Birmingham I had never been exposed to sailing before that. From then I sailed a Solo dinghy that I picked up for £50. It has been on my Nan’s neighbour’s front yard for my whole life.
I kept sailing the good old cruisers on family holidays, before doing my RYA Day Skipper course. I then jumped into solo sailing by buying a Corribee and sailing solo around Britain very much like Ellen Macarthur’s trip. When I was in Lowestoft I met Jerry Freeman, one of the founders of the singlehanded associations called Petit Bateau. He’s a very accomplished solo sailor who’s done a number of OSTARs and such, and he recruited me as his double handed co-skipper during my first year of university. Then I managed to get a hold of my own Figaro II, using a variety of borrowing and begging techniques, and that’s where I am today.
Basically I went from Beneteaus/Jeanneaus/Baverias to Corribee to Figaro 1 with a few rides on JODs and J105s inbetween. I haven’t really raced fully crewed much, and so I lack some experience there… but I’ve been making up for it recently.