The Anacortes sailing community gains a new sailor

While the 2020 sailing season has been a little different this year between online events and masked races, the community and joy that sailing brings is still alive and well. Before one of Anacortes Yacht Club’s Wednesday Night Races this summer, the crew of Sunshine Girl, a J/35 owned and helmed by Walt Mar, got a surprise visit from their newest tiny crew member. 

Proud parents Melissa and Sebastian brought one-month-old Layla Fern by to meet the rest of the gang as they shuttled sails down the dock to rig the boat. 

Layla’s mother, Melissa, said that she and her husband, who are originally from Florida, got involved with racing after being in the Brown Lantern Ale House one night in 2017 and overhearing Sunshine Girl crew member, Callie, discussing free boat rides as a part of the Anacortes Waterfront Festival. Although initially dubious of anything “free”, the couple still gave it a shot and found that Sunshine Girl was looking to add some new crew members. 

When asked what it was the couple enjoyed about racing on Sunshine Girl, Melissa said, 

“I love everything about it—love learning how to read the water and wind and really just being outside in this beautiful part of the world. Races take me to parts of the San Juans I would never see otherwise and I feel really lucky to be able to experience all these beautiful areas.”

As for the crew she said, “The crew on Sunshine Girl are also a lot of fun to be with, I like sailing with Walt because he’s such a super chill great guy and that makes learning this new sport much more fun. The crew really has become like my family out on the water, especially when my husband, who is in the navy, is on deployment. It’s nice to be able to come out every week and have a good time with good people sailing out on the water.”

Layla getting to know her crew.
Layla getting to know her crew.

The happy sounds of the crew members fawning over baby Layla could be heard across the parking lot of Anacortes Marina. With warm weather, friends all around, and an adorable baby, it was clear even with all the masks, that there were smiles all around. When asked about having a baby during the pandemic, Melissa said it’s been challenging but said that she and her husband Sebastian are incredibly lucky to have a happy healthy baby, and that’s what they try to keep in perspective. 

As for the baby’s first sail, her mother says it will be “ASAP!”

Welcome to Anacortes Yacht Club, Layla, and thank you Melissa and Sebastian for sharing your beautiful baby girl with us.