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Sailing Story: Hallie Jo

a man and a woman sitting on a boat in the waterA love of sailing is about much more than a love of sailboats for most sailors. For Hallie Johannisson her love for sailing is about three things: adventure, community, and challenge.

Hallie has always been an adventurous type. 

“My friends and family often call me a gypsy because I do have trouble staying in one place.

I have no issue with change,” she laughed. “For me that’s kind of exciting because you get to experience new people, new places, new things.”

So when Hallie  was first introduced to the idea of sailing, her family and close friends likely wouldn’t have been shocked to see her enthusiastic, initial interest. However, her neighbor, Morgan Spitznagle, was a bit taken aback by Hallie’s immediate desire to learn to sail as they watched a sailing Regatta on Flathead Lake from Morgan’s porch. 

“I finally just looked at her and was like, why aren’t we doing it?!” Hallie said. “Morgan looked at me like I had 16 heads.”Go Sail Flathead Lake Sailing

However, when Hallie took the reins and started planning their introduction to sailing— Morgan decided the idea may not be as crazy as she initially thought (you can read Morgan’s sailing story here).  

Hallie and Morgan took their first lessons on a sailboat with Go Sail Flathead Lake and were introduced to the next thing Hallie loves about sailing: challenge!

“It was a little frightening and terrifying,” Hallie laughed. “There’s a lot to learn about the boat and the winds and how to read the water.”

These challenges gave Hallie a sense of determination to continue learning and continue her sailing story. 

“I’ve learned that it’s the challenge that helps me tick,” she explained. “It’s been a better experience than I ever would have anticipated.”

During her sailing lessons, Hallie also began getting to know the sailing community in the Flathead. 

“Genevieve and Kristi and everyone we have engaged with at Go Sail— everyone has been very supportive and excited to bring in new people,” Hallie said. “They are very welcoming and patient.”

Through Go Sail, Hallie had found yet another reason to sail. 

“Number one: the people. The community is fantastic,” she explained. “Sometimes it can be challenging to break into and feel accepted by new groups and that has never been what I’ve felt with this community. They are just truly very very welcoming, supportive and a lot of fun.”

The sailing community has not only helped Hallie develop new friendships but also tighten the bond with her neighbor, Morgan. 

“We started this adventure together. In a lot of ways it solidified that friendship,” she said.  Now that Morgan and Hallie have the basics of sailing down— they are working to delve deeper into the challenge, embrace more adventure, and weave themselves tighter into the sailing community by sailboat racing. 

“We came in first once which was super exciting! But even when we don’t come in first it’s still that comradery that’s so much fun,” Hallie said about her 2023 sailing season. “I would love to continue to race [and to] learn and absorb from all of those around me.”