Episode 5. Women in a Boat: Team Sistership

What do we gain when people defy what society and tradition claim they should be and do? Where would we be today if women of the past hadn’t dared ignore the boundaries of the “norm”? How would things evolve if we embraced wherever we’re at—including aging—with boldness? What do you think about if you’re on a boat in the middle of the ocean in the middle of nowhere?

Hear from the captain and crew of Sistership 2017 (all women, over fifty). Sistership 2017 is the second edition of the first-all women’s team to undertake the Race to Alaska (R2AK), a gnarly, 750-mile, people- or wind-powered boat race from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan, Alaska, over open ocean; through shipping lanes and then remote, difficult-to-access waters; with the possibility of treacherous conditions and some amazing wildlife and scenery. The start gun will fire at 5 am on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Sistership hails from Ventura, California, and their journey is a message—women and girls, you can do anything; be proud of your accomplishments; and delight in growing older, as each stage you’re in can be a marvelous stage of life.

Credit: Photo from Sistership website.

Credit: Photo from Sistership website.

“That sense of adventure - when you do something like that and you put yourself out there, you challenge yourself. There’s nothing like feeling that alive. You start to realize, especially in your fifties, that you don’t get too many of those opportunities. If we can still do this at this age, why wouldn’t we?”

—Johanna Gabbard

CREDITS: Alanna Leavy composed and performed the intro and closing music. Also in this episode "Triumphant" and "To the Sea" by Alanna Leavy. The remainder of the sound was recorded during the Sistership 2016 voyage, including their songs “We are Sistership (Just to Show the World We Can)” and a shanty song I'm calling “Row, Row, Row, to Alaska”. Our guests today were Captain Michelle Boroski, Johanna Gabbard, and Stephanie “Scout” Mahue. The three plus Stephanie York are Sistership 2017. Michelle and Joanna, along with Janice Mason and Sherry Smith comprised Sistership 2016.The show was recorded in part in the studios of KCSB (the interview was recorded in Johanna's car). Thank you to all of the inspiring women in my life and in the world. Thank you to everyone everywhere who’s been told an aspiration can’t be met because that’s "the way it is" and does it anyway and to those who have paved and continue to pave the way for a more equitable future.

Links and extras from Ep 5. Women in a Boat: Team Sistership

**PARTICIPATEWe the Village wants to know - When did you defy norms and expectations of society and tradition? Who or what inspired you to believe you could accomplish something you or others may have thought impossible? What's your Sistership moment? Send a message, subject line "My Sistership Moment" or record a voice memo and email it to: wethevillagestories@gmail.com

Check out Team Sistership! Here are some great videos of their songs and more: Sistership Sea Shanty, Just to Show the World We Can, Women Powered, and Finding Wind. Not enough? There's more. YouTube has tons on Sistership R2AK.

Learn more about the Race to Alaska (R2AK). It's gnarly. It's beautiful. And the 2017 race will start June 8, 2017.

Do you Know Your IX? Title IX is a 1972 Department of Education Act that protects against sex discrimination in educational institutions. Know your IX guides you in ensuring your institution is in compliance. Here's more IX info: Some history.

No you can't. Yes I can, Yes I can! Check out these stories about other women who've bravely defied societal and traditional norms and paved the future with possibilities for women and girls. From "Motor Girls" To "Kalamazoo Gals": A Celebration Of Women's History. Betsy Evans, coach - "Remembering a Time before Title IX" (The Journal News, May 24, 2017).

Read about the treacherous weather conditions during the Sistership's Newport-To-Ensenada training race (The Orange County Register, April 28, 2017).



"The Hour of Charm" - Episode 22 of The World According to Sound, an awesome podcast with 90-second episodes, tells the story of an all-women's orchestra in the '30s that entertained troops. Requirements to get in? Be in your twenties; have long, flowing hair; and weigh less than 120 pounds. Charming. 

SUGGESTED MUSIC (aka songs from the radio version):

♪ "Starlight in Daden" by Ekova on Heaven's Dust, Six Degrees Records, 1998. 

♪ "Evolve" by Ani DiFranco on Evolve, Righteous Babes Records, 2003.

♪ "Vinheta Quebranta” by Céu on Céu, Six Degrees Records, 2009.

♪ "Motherland” by Julia Jacklin on Don’t Let the Kids Win, Polyvinyl Records 2016


Kalamazoo Gals: the Story of the Extraordinary Women (and a Few Men) Who Built Gibson's WWII “Banner” Guitars by John Thomas.

Motor Girls: How Women Took The Wheel And Drove Boldly Into The Twentieth Century y Sue Macy.