So much, that BAYLIS retired from her profession as a virologist and on 1 June, took over the full time post of executive director for the Women's International Match Racing Association (WIMRA)
'Match racing is short course, really fast, intense stuff that's physical, cerebral … your brain and body working together,' explained BAYLIS. 'And it's fun.'
And that was evident today as eight teams of women, from the USA, Australia, Brazil and France, competed under partly cloudy skies in the outer Long Beach harbour.
A light breeze had filled in from the south by the time races started. The women competed two at a time, for a total of six gruelling flights of four matches each in wind that built to 10 knots. By the last race the competitors were clearly more comfortable - and aggressive - in the customized Catalina 37s provided by the Long Beach Sailing Foundation.
'I think that having some sailors who have sailed these boats before is a huge advantage,' noted BAYLIS. 'Our boat handling has been great.'
'But none of the races were really easy,' BAYLIS continued. Although in the lead at 6-0; BAYLIS is closely tailed by three competitors tied for second, with a win-loss record of 4-2: Charlie ARMS, of San Diego; Sandy HAYES, of Scituate; and New Orleans' Katy LOVELL.
Said LOVELL, 'Our day didn't start out too well: we lost our first two. I just was not familiar yet with the boats. But now I'm feeling more comfortable with the timing; starting and stopping.' LOVELL rallied her crew to win their last four races. 'We just said, 'Let's get it together and try to get better at boat handling each time.' Tomorrow, we just need to win all our matches.'
Round robin races continue Friday 20 July, commencing at 11:30, and can be viewed from the Belmont Pier.