A night with a Peter Isler: American Cup crew member

By Ellen Leahy

How do you go from sailing a Sunfish on Skaneateles to the most prestigious sailing competition in the world? Peter Isler, a professional sailor who has been involved in the last seven America's Cups (AC), will shed some light on this tact. The two-time AC winner is the featured speaker at 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at a benefit sponsored by The Sailboat Shop for Junior Sailing on Skaneateles at the Sailboat Club on East Lake Road. The evening will also feature a barbecue and a silent auction that will contain some of Isler's AC gear.

Home ports

Isler grew up in Ohio, but makes his home in San Diego. His family bought a camp on the east side of the lake when he was very young, so summer and Skaneateles have always been synonymous. He said he became enchanted with Skaneateles Lake as a kid and that feeling has never left.

"Skaneateles Lake is in my blood," Isler said, "I live for the days I can get out here."

The lake is working on the next generation as well, as Peter has two young daughters Marly, 13 and Megan who turned 9 this week. Happy Birthday Megan!

On the water

Isler has worked many of the crew positions during the AC including the helmsman on his first and also as a navigator. He said when he races he is most often used as a tactician, which is the high end support for a team. The member who works on plotting the course and how to play the wind.

He sails the Trans Pacific race each year to Hawaii where he must navigate by the stars alone. This is called celestial navigation. He said he started off learning the traditional paper charting and during his career has continued to stay abreast of all the state of the art electronics that have come into aiding in navigation.

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