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Sailing Story: Jennifer Fisher

Jennifer Fisher sitting on a boat
Jennifer Fisher sitting on a boat

Quote: We definitely want to keep sailing on Flathead Lake— it’s one of the best places in the world to sail

Jennifer Fisher was in high school when her dad asked her to go sailing with her on Flathead Lake.

“My experience with dad…was he didn’t know how to sail,” Jennifer said. 

So she thought she better accompany him to make sure things went smoothly. Her dad, on the other hand, had no doubt they’d remain unscathed on their day out on the water. 

“He was right, we went out… and we came back!” She laughed. 

It wasn’t long before her dad bought a Windmill sailboat and Jennifer headed off to college. Every summer she would come back and they would take on the Friday night races on Flathead Lake together. 

During those summer races and time spent with other sailors, Jennifer met Jeff. 

“He actually asked my mother for an introduction,” Jennifer remembered. “We started to date that summer.”

The couple began sailing together and Jennifer knew it would become a big part of their relationship. 

“Before we got married, when I graduated, he took me on a sailing trip to Hawaii,” she explained. “The skipper took us on a day sail out of Waikiki just to see what our experience was because we were coming from Montana and he was amazed we were sailors.” 

While the couple proved their sailing abilities, the trip wasn’t exactly ‘smooth sailing’. 

“Jeff got desperately sea sick and I thought we were going to be stuck on Lanai forever because he didn’t want to get back on the boat,” Jennifer laughed. “When he can see the shoreline he is fine. We were sailing at night and it was extremely rough. It was a pretty gnarly night!”

Since then, Jennifer has said their preference is to stick to waters closer to home.

“We don’t have a big drive to go sail on the ocean,” she said. “Jeff would probably get sick!”

They love to sail in Seattle, Idaho, and the other western states. 

“Our trips out to Seattle—those guys are such good sailors and willing to talk to you about sailing,” Jennifer said. “That’s helped us learn a lot.”

Yet, even with all their sailing adventures throughout the western US, Flathead Lake remains their favorite place to sail. 

“We definitely want to keep sailing on Flathead Lake— it’s one of the best places in the world to sail,” Jennifer explained. “Flathead is a large enough lake it has typical and predictable thermals and you can count on them.”

These predictable winds have given Jennifer and Jeff plenty of time to perfect their racing abilities over the course of their 45+ year marriage. 

“The experience of racing against others has taught us to be better sailors,” she said. 

So chances are, if you find yourself at a race on Flathead Lake— you’ll find Jennifer and Jeff down there too. And while she is too humble to say it herself— they’ll likely be easy to spot, as they’ll be at the front of the pack, speeding through the course!