She’s here at long last, a real, honest to goodness 3rd generation Rhodes 19 family sailor and she’s brought Fairhope’s Fleet Four with her. Anne “Randy” Fitzpatrick began sailing with her grandfather, Ed Marty, on #688 at the age of five. Virtually her entire life has been spent in Alabama enjoying the delights of Rhodes 19 sailing on Mobile Bay and the experience of growing up in Fairhope’s charming, idyllic environment.
Early on, she did no racing, but enjoyed the thrilling experience of rail-down upwind thrashes in an essentially safe boat on a protected body of water, and watching her grandfather’s racing through a telescope from the bayside family home. As she grew, she was gently nudged into a more active role. Her enhanced experiences included string pulling and helming as well as elementary keel maintenance. She is, as she modestly relates, “hell on wheels with a grinder.” (Greg and Joe be warned!)
As Ed Marty aged, his first pupil, daughter Nancy, Randy’s mom, took over the boat and dutiful Randy continued as crew. Eventually though, as in every family, human and animal, nest-leaving time came. Anne accepted the truth that she would always be the child on that particular Rhodes.
When the right time came, she jumped ship to David McFarland’s more successful program on #1693. The new association has benefited both parties. Dave has a dedicated crew who helped him win a number of local events and finish fourth in the 2001 Gulf Coast Regional Championships. Randy gained racing experience and has enjoyed Dave’s encouragement in broadening her sailing horizons.
After serving Fleet 4 as Secretary for two years, Randy took over as Fleet Captain. In the latter role, she has proven grandfather Ed’s premise that nautical expertise is fostered by a light touch, and that women are the best at applying it. The results, a more active membership, a super fleet report and a well-attended, reinvigorated Gulf Coast Championship, speak for themselves.
Captain Randy comments that the Fairhope fleet never thought of itself as inactive, just unexcited, nationally. With the 2002 Nationals slated for nearby New Orleans, she says, “We’re back. We’re bad. We’re ready!”