Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Press Release

Lindsey Anne Austin (22 years) ~
Hawai`i’s youngest woman to Captain
in the history of the Trans Pacific Yacht Race.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Dana Ritchie Fujikake

Race: TransPac – July 2007
Captain: Lindsey Anne Austin
Age: 22 years old
Vessel: Cirrus

Sailing the open ocean on her family’s research vessel since ten months of age, keiki o Hawaii (child of Hawaii), Lindsey Anne Austin, will soon be Hawaii’s youngest woman, and fully licensed Captain, to sail a yacht in the history of the Trans Pacific Yacht Race. The 44th Trans Pacific Yacht race will begin for the yacht Cirrus on July 9th, 2007, beginning in Long Beach, California, and ending in Honolulu.

“It has long been my dream to crew in the world famous TransPac race, but beyond my wildest dream to be Captain!” said Lindsey.

The forty-foot Cirrus belongs to 71 year-old Bill Myers, navigator and retired nuclear scientist from Lawrence Berkley Laboratory and member of Kaneohe Yacht Club. His offer to have Lindsey captain was contingent that he be the navigator. Bill’s extreme navigational skills, partnered with 15 years open ocean experience and 12 Pacific Ocean crossings, will be a coup for the crew of 6, captained by US Coast Guard licensed Lindsey Austin. Crew members include Bill Myers, Donna Domasin Austin (Lindsey’s mother), Nancy Piper, Caroline Heinrich, and Christin Shacat.

“There is a solution for every problem” is a statement that strongly supports Lindsey’s views on life, whether it be fixing a broken engine at sea, or angling a boat through a foreboding channel. Father and Captain Bill Austin is a licensed 1,600 ton unlimited Master Mariner. Owner of the family research vessel, Machias, Dad readied Lindsey by throwing her problems to solve, while Mother and port captain, Donna Austin, would ensure Lindsey’s understanding by guiding her through nurturing steps. “Mom taught me how to look, listen, and how to be aware. At five years old, I learned how to tie knots and began operating the dinghy from ship to shore. I also baked bread for crew meals for 25 cents a loaf. My older brother Philip, now a licensed captain with a 200-ton ticket and a tug endorsement, was first mate, which is like being the Vice President. Out at sea for the entire summer, we would work with Fish and Wild Life, dive charters, and environmental companies. We would sometimes pick-up shipwrecked people and take them back to Honolulu,” said Lindsey.
Lindsey got her big boat racing experience from step dad Richard Blackburn. His son Nate was Junior Yachtsman of 2006, as well as a junior sailor at Waikiki Yacht Club, where Lindsey began.

Lindsey gained a huge respect for the sacredness of the environment by witnessing the repercussions of the atom bomb testing. They would collect toxic waste the military had left behind at Palmyra atoll. “It was a very important job,” said Lindsey.

Lindsey’s favorite place in the world is Palmyra atoll. “It was a kid’s dream come true for me and my brother, Phillip,” she reminisces. “The outer reef was covered with shipwrecks from captains who did not know how to get into the channel. The lush green landscape was filled with Booby birds that would swoop down to take sardines from our hands. We loved to catch coconut crabs and baby sharks, always returning them to the sea. For me, boat life was a limitless exploration, and the best part was having your home right there with you! It was a very stimulating way to grow-up.”

In 2002, Lindsey traveled to Fanning Island to build a dock for the cruise ship tenders. “I had a crew of 10 Gilbertese working for me. It took about one year to build the dock, as I had to fly in and out while trying to finish high school. Fortunately, my home schooling allowed for this flexible schedule.”

At 17, Lindsey graduated from the Hawaii Maritime Licensing Center with a 100-ton master’s license, and a tow and sail endorsement license. She also received her radio operator’s permit. After receiving the license, Lindsey was asked to deliver a boat from Tahiti to Honolulu, which started her yacht delivery career. “This was the first time I ever did any distance sailing without my family. There were only three of us sailing a 33-foot yacht. We ran out of food during the 26-day crossing, but we did make it.”

This past summer, Cirrus competed in the Pacific Cup Race, coming in fourth place in her class after breaking her boom half way through the race. The race originated from San Francisco and ended at Kaneohe Bay. The crew included Donna Austin, Lindsey’s mother. “My mom has always been an inspiration to me. She has a lot of knowledge having sailed dozens of crossings. Mom teaches sailing to women and did her first open ocean race on Cirrus at 52 years of age,” says Lindsey with pride.

“My mission is to encourage women of all ages to sail, no matter what their experience, background, or financial standing. I want to encourage all people to share their knowledge and ability with others. Most of all, I hope to create an opportunity for under privileged kids to learn to sail and continue to sail.” Lindsey and her mother plan to start a scholarship program offering sailing lessons to eligible youth at Waikiki Yacht Club, where she got her start and has been a member for twelve years. Lindsey Austin began early sailing classes at the Waikiki Yacht Club, graduated into junior sailing, and later into dinghy sailing with Lasers and 420’s. “Learning to sail was like life training. It’s good to be raised with challenges so you don’t get thrown off easily. I just try to deal with what’s at hand,” said Lindsey.

With her clear mission and spirit of Aloha, let’s keep a keen eye out for Cirrus Captain Lindsey Austin, in this highly coveted race.

Lindsey is currently employed as a private flight attendant for a prestigious family, and travels internationally.

Sponsors: Trans Pacific Mortgage Group
Soljah Wear

Media inquiries may be directed to Dana Ritchie Fujikake at (cell) 808- 542-7654, or via e-mail at For more information on the Trans Pacific Yacht Race, please visit their website at

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