Local sailor to guide 007 in Australia
By Etienne Emanuel
The vast Pacific Ocean is a resource
enjoyed by many. However, the ocean is not for everyone - its
deep floors are home to a world far apart from this one here
on land. Yet the sound of the sea beckons to a certain few, and
they will spend long hours at its surface.
One of those is Blair Johnston.
Blair, who will be a freshman at Nordhoff this coming fall, spends
her free time sailing 8-foot skiffs throughout Southern California
and will be traveling to Australia as well. She mainly sails
and races in Santa Barbara, as part of the Santa Barbara Yacht
Club. Her father, Bruce, introduced her to skiff sailing when
she was just 9 years old.
"I have been out on the ocean for years and I was just hoping
she would enjoy it," said Bruce. "I had no idea she
would pick it up this quick."
Within a few years, Blair was sailing competitively. She placed
second in the Sabot National tournament held at Mission Bay in
San Diego. She raced against youths from all over California
and even as far away as Italy.
"It's just so much fun," said Blair. "Racing is
very tactical and precise, but the feeling of being out on the
ocean is just indescribable. Plus I enjoy getting to meet all
the people from around the world who sail, too."
Races consist of a several skiffs that must sail laps around
buoys. "The start of every race is critical, every boat
is positioning for the best wind. Then the other tricky part
is tacking around the buoys. Some are better then others, but
anyone can do it," Blair said.
And though sailing seems to many a complicated and frustrating
process, Blair counters that the hardest part is "just getting
started. I am glad I did get started, because from there I've
Among other things, Blair is considering a proposal to Nordhoff
athletic director Dick Sebek to get a sailing club going that
would compete with the local high schools in Santa Barbara.
"I know it could be popular, and with support we could build
a good program. People would really enjoy it, and also it would
really round out our sports programs at Nordhoff," said
The Johnstons will travel and stay in Australia while Blair participates
and races in the exchange program between the Santa Barbara Sea
Shell Association and Australia's Yacht Club.
Besides sailing, Blair can hold her own on the tennis court,
as well. She just returned from tennis camp in Big Bear.
Following in the footsteps of sister Emily, who was Nordhoff's
No. 1 singles player last year, Blair is also planning on playing
tennis at NHS.
Blair also competed in the Ojai Recreation Department's World
Team Tennis League for kids to sharpen her skills for high school
- and the prestigious Weil Tennis Academy, where she was recently
accepted to attend on scholarship.
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
JOHNSTON hoists one of her trophies alongside her 8-foot skiff.
Johnston will participate in an exchange program between the
Santa Barbara Sea Shell Association and Australia's Yacht Club.