Long Distance Lasering

Tania Elias Calles is one tough Laser sailor. In March she went to great lengths—about 300 miles—draw attention to the sailing in her native waters, and invite racers from abroad to train with her in Mexico on Bahia de Banderas in the run-up to the Pan Am Games, which will be held there in 2011.

Although Calles had a support vessel escorting her, she was otherwise entirely on her own, carrying her own food and water, and sleeping on deck as she sailed from the tip of the Baja peninsula to the mainland in 2 days, 17 hours.

If that sounds hard, the reality was even harder. “My escort boats could not keep up, and then 12 hours out my GPS went out, although I knew the compass course,” Calles said. “I was very tired at night, but I was in that area where the waters of the Sea of Cortez meet the Pacific. It was too rough to stop. Then my light went out too, so I couldn’t even read the compass in the dark. I had to just pick out a star and focus, focus, focus on that friggin’ star.”

Throw in some capsizes and 11 hours of light winds that left her with only one quart of water with 50 miles to go, and you begin to understand “hard.”

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