Their unflagging dedication to sailing has always been central to their relationship. Married in 1990, Pease and Jay set their sights on the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, sailing boats named to parody the more conventional purchases for which they'd been traded—Starter Home and later, Beach Home. Although their spousal Olympic bid never panned out, Pease, sailing with skipper J.J. Isler, won an Olympic silver medal in the 470 in 2000, which earned her the 2000 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award. They are now teammates in the business world as the owners of Glaser Sails in Huntington Beach, Calif. At the 2007 A Cat World Championships, Pease finished 17th, with Jay in 44th.
"The fact that we already knew how to negotiate a partnership helps," says Pease. "When we first started sailing together I had never steered cats before, so he had a big role in teaching me." Although Jay was instructing at first, Pease says that as she climbed the learning curve they were forced to renegotiate their roles. At first she was afraid to speak her mind, Jay being more knowledgeable about the boat, but eventually they devised a discussion checklist for between races, which made a systematic assessment of their performanceeasier. "There's a high mutual respect," says Jay. "And we're at ease with the decisions the other person makes."
And when tensions climb? "When things are bad on the boat we sometimes get sarcastic," says Pease. "But neither of us are yellers. We stay polite. Ultimately, a lot of what we've learned sailing together holds true in everyday life."
The Backus Sister
In their professional lives, the four Backus sisters take charge. Three are public school principals and one is an assistant athletic director at Yale University. But when they're sailing together the sisters know their roles. "I drive," says Heidi Backus-Riddle, 52, whose sisters have been integral to her successful sailing career. "Gretchen trims jib. Amy trims the spinnaker and calls tactics, and Susan is in the hot box. She makes a hell of a sandwich."
Heidi, and sister Amy, who is a year younger, began sailing Jet 14s together in Ohio at age 11. They later bought a Thistle and included their sister Gretchen. In 1982 and again in 1983 the three won the US SAILING Women's Championship for the Adams Trophy. In 1983 they also bought a J/22, but eager to include their eldest sister, Susan, they soon purchased a J/24, which carried them to second place at the 1985 Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship. Later that year Heidi was awarded the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award. Since the early 1990s the sisters, along with Heidi's husband and daughter, have been sailing their Tartan 10 together.
Heidi credits their success to complementary summer schedules and a lifetime of honing sibling candor. "You don't feel bad asking your sisters for money," says Heidi. "You can share expenses. When you buy sails you just ask everyone to chip in."
Although onboard discussion once grew heated when they were teenagers, they mellowed once they started to travel. "We saw people yelling and didn't want to act like that." Now, says Heidi, she doesn't say too much, instead focusing on steering and simply sharing time with her family.
"My father had a real influence on us," she says. "He instilled the importance of being together on the water. I think when you grow up you sometimes don't stay in touch with family, and this enables us to do that. We don't have a big, serious campaign on the Tartan. We just have a good time together."
The Coleman Brothers
As kids, the Coleman brothers shared a bedroom. Peter and Paul, identical twins, and Gerard, younger by a year, laid in bed at night and talked about sailing.
They whispered about rules and tactics, often a continuation of their dinner conversations, which over the clatter of five other siblings, often involved maneuvering forks and knives around saltshaker turning marks.
They learned to sail at Larchmont (N.Y.) YC and started a sailing team at Mamaroneck High School, until the twins left for SUNY Maritime and Gerard, the Naval Academy. After competing in the 1976 470 Olympic trials, the twins teamed up with Gerard in the Soling. "Our primary goal was to always sail together," says Gerard. "That was a given and added an element of confidence. Other teams might wonder whether they're going to stay together or if someone's going to get booted. We never had that added pressure."
Their sense of family loyalty was an asset, but their fraternal familiarity made them particularly effective. "It's not a sixth sense," says Gerard, "but Peter and Paul were always on the same wavelength. They would talk below my hearing level. If they agreed, they'd tell me. If they disagreed, they'd ask me what I think. But often we could sail most of a race without even talking."
With Gerard on the helm and Peter and Paul in the middle and on the bow, they campaigned the Soling again in 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996, when they finished a close second in the Trials. Now a professor of Marine Engineering at Texas A&M Galveston, where he also coaches the sailing team, Gerard, 50, says he'd like to team up again with his brothers, now both bankers, but only when the time is right. "I'm proud of what we could do," he says. "I had 100-percent faith in the way they had the boat set up. We knew exactly each person's role in every procedure. Don't forget, we shared a room together."
Trevor and Tina Baylis
"Tina and I can start a fight by raising an eyebrow,"says Trevor Baylis, 47, who with his wife of 24 years finished second at the 2006 International 14 World Championship in Long Beach, Calif. "If you get mad at yourself, there's no way of saying anything without that anger being reflected in your tone, and your spouse is definitely going to be able to pick that up."
There's no doubt that sailing a technical skiff at blazing speed against one of the most competitive fleets in the world could lead to anxiety, but for the Baylises that's part of the draw. "The highs are higher and the lows are lower," says Trevor, "so you're going for those high highs. And when it works, it's a lot of fun."
The Baylises met in 1982, while Tina, a Canadian, was winning the Laser II Australian National Championship. Two years later they were married. An experienced 505 and 18-foot Skiff sailor, Trevor parlayed his penchant for high-speed foil and sail shapes into his Oregon-based windsurfing company. There, the two windsurfed almost exclusively, Tina winning the 1986 Gorge Pro-Am tournament. After a shoulder injury, she stopped windsurfing, and in 1996 the couple purchased a 49er, which with Tina at the helm and Trevor as crew, they campaigned full time, honing a style of sailing that complemented their strengths.
"We have different skills," says Tina. "Trevor's often the one who gives feedback on mechanical things and I with psychological things." To mesh their skill sets the Baylises visited a sports psychologist who found that Tina made decisions by consensus, while Trevor was determined to find one correct answer. Once they had reconciled these differences, they tailored their sailing partnership to meld their approaches. This synthesis paid off in the I-14. Despite an OCS in the first race of the Worlds, which could have led to paralyzing frustration, they overcame the hurdle. "We know we do it in different ways," says Tina, "and that's what allows us to get along and sail together.
"In any relationship you have one person who's particularly gifted at one aspect. Then you have someone who's good but maybe not quite as focused and intense. I don't have any problem thinking of Trevor as the morefocused. I learned a lot from him about what it takes to do well."