ASA Featured Instructor: Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey, Sail Solomons

If you need a sample of what a resume should look like you would look no further than the background of Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey. A few highlights include retired Navy Captain, C-130 Aircraft Navigator, Oceanographer, Meteorologist, ASA Instructor and USCG Master since 2006.  She is the co-founder of Sail Solomons and an ASA Oustanding Instructor.  More importantly, she loves sharing her love of sailing with everyone. Perhaps the most important thing to know about Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey is her belief that sailing is for everyone, “ Sailing knows no age, no race or religion, no wealth category.  I’ve seen islanders sail (and race) on homemade boats with bamboo masts, and enjoy it just as much as (or maybe more than) their neighbors on a 50’ catamaran.” 

We agree.

Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey is this month’s featured instructor.

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ASA: Your favorite place to sail?
Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey:
I grew up power boating with my family on the northern Chesapeake Bay. When I was 12 years old, we acquired a sailing dinghy.  I was self-taught, and hooked! Sailing a small boat alone allowed me to establish independence (very important as a teen), indulge in adventures, and develop boat-handling skills.  As I progressed through a career in the US Navy, I always had access to sailboats. I graduated to progressively larger and more complex boats, took a few sailing courses, sailed in some amazing locations (including the Philippines, Rio de Janeiro, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean, Caribbean, US East, West and Gulf Coasts), taught for several Navy Sailing Clubs, and learned to race. I met my husband Andy at a sailing regatta in Italy, and sailing has been a central feature of our lives ever since.  After we both retired from the military, we established Sail Solomons, a charter base and ASA sailing school. We continue to teach for that school, but spend more time cruising our Outbound 46 “Kinetic” and conducting passagemaking training.
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ASA: Your most memorable student or class?

Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey:

The great thing about teaching sailing is that you interact with people from all walks of life, and all ages.  Each student is unique, and each brings different skill sets and learning styles. So many of my students have become long-lasting friends, for which I’m grateful.  There are two classes that stand out as being especially memorable. The first was a Basic Keelboat class with a married couple, a single gal and her aunt. Something about that class just gelled – they had an immediate rapport and progressed as a team like nothing I’d encountered before. We nicknamed them the “Wonder Class” and they signed up for the next class together, and showed up with “Wonder Class” hats!  The second especially memorable class was 3 couples on a catamaran in Grenada for an ASA 104/114 course. Each couple had trained with us before, but they didn’t know the other couples. It was a magical week – strong tradewinds, boisterous sailing, fantastic islands, excellent snorkeling and fishing. The 3 couples became fast friends and have since sailed together on several of our flotillas, and now on their own boats on the Chesapeake.

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ASA: Your favorite place to sail?
Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey:
My favorite is the Eastern Caribbean. I’ve spent 5 winters cruising there full time, and 6 years of leading flotillas there as well. Nothing beats the tradewinds for guaranteed good sailing. The water is clear, the snorkeling and diving are terrific, the beaches are beautiful. There are plenty of secure harbors, and you can have nightlife or seclusion, as you choose. Each island has it’s own history and culture, and the farther south you cruise, it seems the more friendlier and more welcoming the residents are.  That said, there are many places I have yet to sail, and I look forward to continued adventures.
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ASA: Why do you sail?
Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey:

Sailing has always been an integral part of my life.  When I’m sailing, I can simply focus on the boat and the elements, and the minutia of work and chores falls away. As a meteorologist and oceanographer, I enjoy applying that knowledge to optimize my sailing and cruise planning.  As a sailor, I appreciate getting the boat “in the groove” with sail trim, and using the right sails for the conditions. There’s nothing like the “whoosh” when a spinnaker fills, or the sweet spot when the boat heels into a fast close reach.  Sailing is never stagnant – there’s always more to learn, and more ways to improve, more ways to challenge yourself. I enjoy navigation, and love the beauty and simplicity of a good fix with compass or sextant – navigation is an art. Making landfall after an ocean passage is a special treat – the first glimpse of a distant volcanic island which shifts from grey shadow to verdant green as you approach. Sailing provides an opportunity to meet kindred spirits, whether in home waters or exotic cruising destinations.  Sailing puts you closely in touch with the elements, and the ocean environment. I’ve always loved the ocean, and am happiest on the water.

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ASA: What do people not know about sailing that they should?

Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey:

The joy of sailing is more accessible than you can imagine. Many sailing ads feature silver-haired couples sailing into retirement, giving the impression that sailing is for privileged older folks. It’s just not so. Sailing knows no age, no race or religion, no wealth category.  I’ve seen islanders sail (and race) on homemade boats with bamboo masts, and enjoy it just as much as (or maybe more than) their neighbors on a 50’ catamaran. My nephews started sailing Opti’s at age 4, I’ve taught sailing novices who were age 76. Most of my more mature students only regretted that they waited so long to start.  You may or may not ever own your own boat – but you can sail with a class, with a club, with a neighbor, or charter anywhere around the world. There are lots of opportunities to sail and to learn – you just have to look. 

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ASA: Why Should People Sail?

Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey:

For any number of reasons, including the reasons that I sail.  If you like speed, or competition, or peaceful gliding, or solitude, or crew camaraderie, or gorgeous sunsets, or rum drinks, or being self-reliant, or environmentally aware, or fixing stuff, or escaping the rat race, or challenging yourself – sailing may be your best avenue.  As Simon Sinek says, “Start with Why”. For me, sailing is the “How”.

Captain Lisa Batchelor Frailey  can be found sailing, chartering or teaching at Kinetic Sailing as well as Sail Solomons.

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