Skippers Corner: Introducing Barb Trailer - Sailors for the Sea

Skippers Corner: Introducing Barb Trailer

 December 13, 2023  | By: Jennifer Brett

Meet one of our newest Sailors for the Sea Skippers – Barb Trailer! Barb is a longtime sailor and is currently the director of the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Washington.

Barb Trailer, Sailors for the Sea Skipper and Director of Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

How did you get your start in sailing?

I got started in sailing when I moved to the Caribbean to the small island of St John, from Colorado in 1981 when I was 22 years old. Everyone was into sailing, so I jumped in and got a job on a sailboat right away- with zero experience but lots of willingness and determination. I would volunteer to help friends do haul-outs, happily painting bottoms and varnishing to be taken sailing. I learned fast and fell in love with everything to do with sailboats.

Within a year or so I moved up onto a 101-foot schooner, the WN Ragland, which was owned by Neil Young. I fell in love with wooden boats on that boat- it was so incredibly special. We had some incredible memories from those years- being on such a well-known boat, we took a lot of pride in being the crew and being a part of that legacy. 

I really learned to sail on the next boat I worked and lived on, Sea Angel. She was an 88-foot aluminum ketch- with a 105 – foot main mast – that boat could sail! After a slow traditional tall ship, this boat was so much fun to really sail, and on Sea Angel we sailed something like 50,000 miles in 4 years- transited the Panama Canal 8 times, and cruised up and down the East and West coasts, and throughout the Caribbean.

We had so many incredible sailing memories on this boat- she sailed so well, and we were so in tune with her, it was so fun to have that relationship with a boat. I honestly really miss this now that I live on shore. We did so much offshore sailing on Sea Angel – and that was always memorable to me. I love being out at sea.

What is your current work in the sailing community?

I am now the Director of the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, which for 10 years included running the Classic Mariners regatta and the Shipwrights regatta as well as the races included in the festival, the Schooner Cup, the 26 and under race and rowing races. I truly love working with all the wooden boats in the region, and keeping that community strong and vibrant.

What made you become invested in environmentalism?

I started getting really involved with environmentalism through that event. The amount of waste an event can produce is great, so we went right to work on that and started taking big, bold steps like washing all the dishes in the bars instead of using plastic cups.

Being on the water every day and in such a gorgeous place keeps the desire to protect this place strong. I love the idea of Sailors for the Sea, of sailors joining together to say we are a part of the change, and I hope I can be a big part of getting the local sailing and boating communities to join!