State Street Marathon Sailing
Follow the Adventure
Follow the journey of State Street’s Marathon sailors
Francesca Clapcich and Jesse Fielding.
Reaching the Finish Line
Competitive sailing history was made in 2018 at the World Sailing Organization’s annual conference with the introduction of a new official event: “Double-Handed Mixed Gender Offshore Sailing” (“Mixed Marathon Sailing”). With its goal of advancing gender equity in the sport, Mixed Marathon Sailing highlights the power of collaboration and why diverse teams are winning teams.
Furthering our commitment to breaking gender barriers in our company, our industry and beyond, State Street sponsored a mixed gender marathon sailing team consisting of experienced, accomplished sailors Francesca Clapcich and Jesse Fielding. Together they competed on the boat “Fearless,” traveling across the globe in offshore races. Working side by side, Francesca and Jesse showed the potential of a gender-equal team in a historically male-dominated sport.
At the outset, the State Street Marathon Sailing team was preparing to represent the United States in the first-ever mixed-gender marathon sail racing event at the 2024 Summer Olympics. In light of the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to include the Double-Handed Mixed Gender Offshore Sailing event in the 2024 Olympic Games, the team is parting ways to pursue new opportunities.
“Jesse and I are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with State Street,” said Francesca. “Their support on and off the boat has been at the center of our growth as competitors for the last year. We are grateful that they believed in our abilities as sailors and as equal teammates.”
During their journey, Francesca and Jesse relied on their resilience, innovation, and collaboration to succeed across the racecourse. Beyond their sport, they led internal and external events with State Street to continue to raise awareness on topics including women’s equality, LGBTQ+ issues and wellness.
The team made waves at the Tour de Bretagne competition in France’s Northwestern coastal region of Saint-Quay-Portrieux, as well as at premier US competitions like the Nassau Cup and the Ida Lewis Distance Race. Their final challenge together was their most difficult yet, requiring them to draw on the skills they’ve honed sailing together to compete as the first American team in the demanding, multi-race Solitaire du Figaro event.
Our State Street Marathon Sailing sponsorship has helped underscore the power of teamwork, trust and partnership ─ in sports and in life. We thank Francesca and Jesse for their dedication and will applaud their future endeavors.
Navigating the Rising Tide of Climate Change
The fight against climate change is gaining global momentum and rightly so, as greenhouse gasses have already extensively damaged the earth’s climate.
When we formed the State Street Marathon Sailing team with co-skippers Francesca Clapcich and Jesse Fielding, we sought to bring visibility to issues surrounding diversity and inclusion, as well as those impacting climate and sustainability. Francesca and Jesse have personally seen the results of human interference with the climate and its toll on the sea. These values are at the forefront of the program, and Francesca and Jesse are both incredibly passionate about the effect that climate change is already taking on the seas.
“Jesse and I are proud to be a part of State Street’s team, and how the company continues to strive for carbon reduction and hold others accountable to consider the impact they are making on the global carbon footprint,” said Francesca.
As we now kick-off this year’s Climate Week, and look to the future of our planet, we’re proud to support Francesca and Jesse’s efforts to bring topics surrounding sustainability and climate change to the sailing community and its spectators.
Climate scientists from all over the globe agree that rising surface ocean temperatures are contributing to increased tropical storms and hurricanes. For Jesse and Francesca team members on State Street’s Marathon Sailing team, navigating unsteady waters is nothing new. But for much of the world’s global population, the dangers of rising sea levels may be inevitable without serious action from organizations, individual citizens and nations across the globe.
“Deliberately reaching the milestones necessary to eliminate human behaviors that have spurred climate change is essential,” said Jesse. “As sailors, Francesca and I know from first-hand experience what changing tides and the relentless ocean waters can do to a vessel, let alone our coastal populations. We all have the ability to make change in reducing our footprints and it’s a part of our role as global citizens.”
Reducing your carbon footprint
Taking simple steps to change aspects of daily routines that contribute to climate change is a necessary action. For example, as remote work environments or flexible work accommodations remain a part of many of our lives amid COVID-19, work commutes which otherwise would be one of the highest contributors to carbon emissions by individuals have significantly reduced. As we continue to head back into the office, we should reconsider our work commutes opting for public transit as available.
Additionally, reducing waste can be a sizable factor in limiting your footprint. Consider opting out of single use plastic options and finding alternatives like reusable bags, water bottles, silverware, etc. New clothing consumption can also significantly contribute to your footprint. Opting to buy fewer pieces of long-lasting clothing over ‘fast-fashion’ can make a difference in your contributions to global waste.
“We’re continuing to see increased changes in our oceans. From plastics and garbage to heightened storm activity we can no longer deny the impact human activity is having on the earth,” said Francesca. “By taking simple steps in our everyday lives and holding others accountable we can drive positive change for future generations.”
In addition to monitoring energy and resource usage and adjusting commutes, Jesse has moved to a plant-based diet to reduce his carbon footprint.
“The meat industry’s toll on carbon emissions remains high,” said Jesse. “Taking a step to think about a diet with reduced meat consumption can be an impactful decision in reducing your footprint.”
The fight to reduce the world’s impact on an already scarred planet is one that requires all of us. Taking action means making changes to our day-to-day lives for the good of the planet. We’re grateful to support Francesca and Jesse, who as climate activists and sailors continue to speak out on the world’s warming environment.
Two Sets of Hands Are Better than One
In offshore sailing, the sea is often an unforgiving racecourse. For State Street Marathon Sailors Francesca Clapcich and Jesse Fielding, navigating the ocean together allows them to marry their distinct skillsets and compete as a team.
“Our ability to make decisions as a team, bolsters our potential on the racecourse,” says Jesse. “When Francesca and I are sailing together, we’re able to rely on our unique experiences and process them together to evaluate our next move. We both have a mutual respect and focus on our overall performance.”
A Team Makes All the Difference
“The playbook for racing solo requires precise performance, ensuring each and every maneuver matches your competitors’,” explains Francesca. “When you’re on a team you have the opportunity to use your teammate’s skills to match your weaknesses and share jobs — making the vessel more efficient.”
A successful team is ultimately a reflection of each member’s ability to operate well as an individual, especially in providing new approaches to difficult tasks. As sailing requires extreme endurance, especially offshore, teams must operate as a well-oiled machine. Francesca and Jesse’s open-ended feedback and delegation of tasks enable their sailing skills to shine through in tandem on the sailing course.
Navigating the seas on Fearless together requires Francesca and Jesse to work quickly to adjust course and trust each other’s strengths in unfavorable conditions.
“Using our combined skills and past experiences has allowed us to gain on our competition,” says Jesse. “We both anticipate different sailing scenarios, like rough conditions, and quickly arrive at a mutual decision to address our approach. Since we began working together on Fearless, Francesca and I have used our mutual respect, honesty and focus. Our partnership has only grown stronger since we first started sailing together.”
Racing as a Team Helps Train for Solo Races
“The learning curve when you’re sailing solo is different. It can make you be true with yourself, yielding improvement through self-assessment of your skills and performance,” describes Francesca. “Sailing with Jesse, I’m able to match my own self-criticisms and use his feedback to improve my performance. I also have to consider his point-of-view and adjust my approach, which makes us stronger on the racecourse.”
Setting out for a solo race can be intimidating, especially when competing in harsh conditions and against well-seasoned competitors. Having a team member by your side can reinforce confidence in your own abilities and amplify your skills to excel in challenging situations.
“Sailing as a team requires compromise. While sailing solo allows you to move quickly in your decision-making, Jesse’s perspective as a sailor has changed my sailing approach in many ways since our partnership on Fearless began,” describes Francesca. “He has a great handling of the boat and has a different approach as a sailor that has informed my own techniques.”
Like many teams, Jesse and Francesca’s differences make them stronger together and they are able to use what they’ve learned from one another when they are sailing apart as well.
“Francesca and I come from different corners of the sailing world,” says Jesse. “It’s such a big opportunity to have her perspective and I couldn’t be more thankful to be offshore with her competing among the world’s best. Her attention to every tenth of a nautical mile per hour is uncanny.”
Francesca and Jesse have made an impact on each other’s approach to sailing, offering new strategies and advice while racing together. In their time as a team, they have made an immeasurable impact on each other both professionally and personally, taking their learnings on with them far beyond the racecourse.
At State Street we’re proud of the accomplishments Francesca and Jesse have achieved racing both solo and together as our very own State Street Marathon Sailing Team.
Sailing Around the World
Although explorer Ferdinand Magellan is said to be among the first to circumnavigate the globe, he certainly was not the last. Navigating a ship around the world has made the bucket lists of many avid sailors and fans of the sport and sea.
For State Street Marathon Sailors Francesca Clapcich and Jesse Fielding, sailing around the world is not only representative of one of the ultimate physical challenges on earth, but also a mission that will shape their legacies.
“With sailing being so engrained in human culture, as it powered transportation for hundreds of generations, it’s nearly an instinct for sailors nowadays to at least dream of sailing around the world,” Jesse declares. “It’s one of my biggest ambitions to sail around the world and it represents the ultimate challenge to do so alone.”
Sailing Solo Takes a Village
The skills, physical requirements and risks of sailing around the globe are unparalleled by any other sport. And it’s not just someone’s experience and dedication – this feat generally requires support from loved ones and sponsors, as well.
“Working toward sailing solo around the world may feel like an individual endeavor, but it requires the support and dedication from family, friends, mentors, sponsors and more,” says Jesse.
“Logistically, sailing around the world can be very complicated due to obstacles that go beyond stamina and icebergs,” Francesca acknowledges. “Many who do require the organizational structure and financial backing of a sponsor to help guide them in reaching their dream, just like how State Street’s partnership supported Jesse and me in our offshore racing journey together.”
It’s Not a Picture-Perfect Journey
While the time spent alone at sea can be romanticized in the eyes of spectators, with visions of the bright moon, dolphins in sight and spectacular sunsets at sea, the realities of the expedition are a true test of resilience, patience and strength.
“The shore team who preps the boat has to prepare the boat for anything and everything that could happen during its journey,” explains Francesca. “But once the vessel is out at sea, it’s all in the hands of the sailor.”
Sailing around the world can bring many challenges while on the water. Changing seas, high winds and unpredictable storms can cause dangerous situations. There are also other hurdles to overcome, such as no-wind areas, called doldrums, which are incredibly challenging to navigate.
“Sailing around the world is a testament to the human spirit,” says Jesse.
Sailing the Vendée Globe
Although many sailors can sail around the world on their own, the Vendée Globe, an infamous round-the-world solo sailing competition, allows sailors to achieve their dream among a slew of sailing colleagues and cohorts. The race, which begins in Les Sables-d'Olonne, France, is a single-handed, non-stop race that takes place every four years. Racing among the broader community allows sailors to stay motivated alongside dozens of peers competing to circumnavigate the varying courses.
“Sailing the Vendée Globe is a massive undertaking, unlike any other in the sailing world,” says Francesca. “In the last Vendée Globe, we saw how difficult the race was for competitors as each of them navigated rough sea storms and struggled to maintain speed across the journey. It’s the Mount Everest of our sport.”
Sailing around the globe is among the most physically and mentally demanding challenges a sailor can take on in their career. With the support of the sailing community, training and mentorship from dozens of sailing colleagues, and often a supportive sponsor or partner, the dream is not as far from the horizon as it may have once been.
Lifting LGBTQ+ Voices Across Sailing and International Sports
With 2021 Pride celebrations well underway, we are excited to highlight Francesca Clapcich, co-skipper of the State Street Marathon Sailing Team and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. Francesca and her wife, fellow Olympic sailor and team coach Sally Barkow, have been instrumental in raising LGBTQ+ visibility in the sailing world. Francesca sails with her co-skipper Jesse Fielding.
Francesca and Sally have competed in sailing competitions around the world, including the Olympic games, with Sally sailing in 2008, and Francesca in 2012 and 2016. Both are well-known for their sailing skills and have an international presence. This Pride month, our team at State Street is delighted to showcase their contributions.
Raising LGBTQ+ Awareness Across Sailing
Francesca and Sally have joined many other well-known LGBTQ+ sailors to bring awareness to the sailing community of the need for greater inclusivity, fostering a sense of pride not only for the sport of sailing, but also for their broader Queer family in sports.
“While there is still work to be done, the path forward appears brighter,” said Sally. “We are proud of the progress we’ve made to raise the voices of LGBTQ+ athletes, but we know there is still so much work to be done to drive equality for others.”
Athletes, like Sally and Francesca, have worked hard to pave the path forward for other peers, coaches, trainers and even spectators to bring their whole selves to the sport. By speaking out about the biases and discrimination that athletes can face just by being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, they are not only raising awareness but driving needed change.
Francesca speaks about celebrating Pride month
Throughout history, we’ve seen numerous examples of discrimination hindering LGBTQ+ athletes from reaching their full potential in their sports. Even today, trans athletes have experienced a new wave of discrimination that could ban transgender women from participating in school sports.
“As professional LGBTQ+ athletes, it is important that we bring attention to these issues and keep fighting for the next generation of athletes and those who need our voices most,” said Francesca.
Shaping the Next Generation of LGBTQ+ Athletes
It is important that the US sailing community continues to set an example for the broader international sailing community and its next generation of sailors by enabling and encouraging LGBTQ+ sailors to showcase their abilities as athletes, while fostering a deeper sense of community. Raising the next generation of LGBTQ+ athletes and providing a safe space for them to succeed is vital to creating progress.
“Growing up in Italy, I had immense support from my parents to pursue my passion for sailing, but Italy can be more conservative than the US when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues,” said Francesca. “However, things are changing, and many people are paving the way for LGBTQ+ folks. I’m excited to see the progress Italy and other international communities are making toward equality.”
Embracing LGBTQ+ athletes is the first step for many in moving the needle for representation in sailing and other sports. Communities everywhere need to do their part in fostering a sense of belonging for LGBTQ+ sailors. By lifting up their voices and encouraging their advancement, they can deepen the support and acceptance of all sailors.
“My LGBTQ+ identity has never set me back as a sailor; it’s always been about what skills I brought to the table first,” said Francesca. “Sailing and training alongside my wife has been such a privilege and I’m always learning more about her through her passion for the sport. It has been an enlightening experience for us and has brought us closer as wives and sailors.”
We at State Street are so proud to support Francesca and all that she has accomplished in her career as a sailor, a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a fierce competitor. Being a better ally starts with action and support, and we couldn’t be more determined to raise the voices of Francesca and other LGBTQ+ athletes across the globe.
For many, picturing life aboard a sailboat brings images of tropical water, luxurious accommodations and delicious meals to mind. For professional sailors, the reality is that lengthy races can be taxing on the body and mind, particularly ones that can last over several days.
There are many common misunderstandings like these when it comes to the mysterious sailing world. To look behind the scenes, Francesca and Jesse of our State Street Marathon Sailing team debunk five sailing myths.
Myth #1: Sailing Is a Luxurious Sport
When Francesca and Jesse are on the boat, they have only each other to rely on. How they prepare with the basic necessities before they board is critical.
Unlike a cruise ship or yacht, Francesca and Jesse do not have access to a host of facilities. Fearless is comfortable, but there is no captain, no steward and no five-star menu. Since Francesca and Jesse get on the boat with a “win this race” mindset, everything from when they take breaks, how often and what they eat can have a huge impact on race results. To maintain nutrition, the sailors use a lot of freeze-dried food and snacks, which they prepare with a water boiler on board.
Myth #2: Sailors Don’t Sleep During Races
Sleep is a huge focus for the team — they don’t stay awake for an entire 48-hour race!
We all know that rest and recovery can impact performance, but it can be difficult to get enough time to sleep, especially when a race is tight, because one person has to be on watch at all times. Depending on the event, Jesse and Francesca use different techniques and watch systems including resting while there are long moments of straight-line sailing and reducing the number of maneuvers on the boat.
Jesse adds, “We keep the boat moving without anchoring. We take about six micro-naps of about 20-30 minutes each.”
Myth #3: Sailors Only Train on the Boat
While sailing may not be thought of as a physically demanding sport, it requires immense strength to maneuver the boat. Jesse and Francesca meet the demands of their very physical boat by training both on and off the water, not just through practice races.
Francesca shares, “Personally, I do a lot of cycling, backcountry skiing and gym sessions to keep my back strong and injury free.” Jesse also trains off the boat and pays close attention to his diet to fuel his exercise and recovery.
Myth #4: Severe Weather Is Part of the Adventure
Studying the weather ahead of an event is a key part of the sailors’ race preparation. They do so by tracking weather patterns and reading the clouds, pressure and temperature.
While movies may make these situations seem exhilarating, a shift in expected weather patterns and severe weather could cause a dangerous, or potentially life-threatening situation. Francesca shared, “We aim to predict what could come and be ready for it. But we are on the ocean and even when we’re fully prepared, anything can happen.”
Myth #5: Sailors Are Superstitious
There’s a common phrase in sailing, “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” While the saying does have merit because a red sky can indicate pressure changes, this saying and others have also given sailors a reputation for being a bit superstitious.
“One of the funniest superstitions I’ve heard is that having bananas on the boat is bad luck,” Jesse shared. “I definitely don’t believe that one! I don’t really have superstitions. I believe that if you work hard enough, you can make your own luck. And that if things don’t go your way, you should start again.”
Francesca shares, “I’m not really superstitious. I believe in working hard, enjoy the journey and taking whatever comes.”
Small Footprint, Big Impact
According to research by The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ, a London-based sustainability consultancy, 11 million metric tons of plastic are put into the ocean each year.
For comparison, that is equivalent to more than 183 Empire State Buildings. These numbers are only expected to grow.
Our State Street Marathon Sailing team sees firsthand the impact that plastic pollution is having on our world’s oceans. They witness the rising levels of plastic and general debris even when far at sea. Jesse shared, “As sailors and human beings, it’s a hard sight to see.” Using this knowledge, they are committed to minimizing their footprint both on and off the boat and encourage others to join them.
Powered by Sustainability
Sailing, by nature, is powered by sustainable energy — water and wind. It’s also powered by the strength, bravery and determination of the sailors. Jesse and Francesca channel their passion not only into races, but also toward a more sustainable world.
Many of the smaller devices aboard the ship are battery powered, which can contain harmful chemicals that contribute to water and air pollution. To reduce single-use batteries, the team uses rechargeable battery packs for as much equipment as possible. They are also exploring more advanced ways to make Fearless, the State Street Sailing boat, more sustainable by leveraging the power of natural resources including solar and water energy. The team has even started using a hydroelectric generator, which uses the water moving past the turbine like a windmill to power devices on the boat, and are looking to expand its use.
Jesse has taken the notion of being powered by sustainable energy even further by fueling himself with a plant-based diet. For several years, the United Nations’ (UN) climate report has noted the heavy impacts of the meat industry on the environment. Most recently, a 2021 report from Chatham House, supported by the UN, encourages plant-based eating as a way to reduce food demand and pressures on the land.
“The UN’s report really impacted my decision to try a plant-based diet to lessen my footprint on the environment,” said Jesse. “Since making the switch, I’ve seen a positive difference in my overall health and training practices. My oxygen levels have increased, which has helped improve my joint pain and inflammation and it has decreased my recovery time from workouts.”
Recycling More than Just Energy
As a team, Jesse and Francesca pay close attention to the products they use and bring on to the boat — and are working to make the boat itself more sustainable by nature.
As such, Jesse and Francesca have adopted, “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle” as key tenets on the boat. They avoid single-use plastic and aim to re-use and repurpose the products they already have. “A broken boat part doesn’t have to go straight into the trash,” said Jesse. “We try to find another purpose for these items to reduce our waste.”
Sustainability on Land
“To thrive at sea and compete at the highest level, we have had to learn pivotal lessons from the ocean,” said Jesse. “Now the ocean needs us to pay it back with action and education.”
Jesse believes that anyone can adopt these practices into their daily lives and routines, even in small ways.
Perhaps easiest of them all is for individuals to use their spending power to support products and companies that are sustainably sourced and manufactured. Jesse uses the Gotbag, a backpack made with plastic pellets from ocean plastic, and Sea2Sea eyewear, which is made from similar materials. There are plenty of other products available. Another step is to replace single-use plastics with reusable products, such as water bottles or silicone storage bags. For those interested in exploring a plant-based diet, Jesse would recommend starting with meatless Mondays and adding more vegetables to one’s diet as a first step.
As we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Jesse and Francesca encourage everyone to do their part in creating a healthier world.
Sailing Toward Gender Equity
At State Street, we are dedicated to not only uplifting female voices, but also putting them at the forefront of our global equity efforts.
Francesca is a testament to endurance, athleticism and dedication, and we are proud to stand beside her and Jesse as they race to in elite competitions around the globe.
Continuing the Fight for Gender Equity
Having been at the forefront of the international sailing community for some time, Francesca has emerged a strong leader in a male-dominated sport. In addition to fighting for gender equity, she has been an avid supporter for LGBTQ+ representation within the sailing world. “The sailing community has certainly come a long way from when I first began sailing off the coast of Italy. But we still have a lot of work to do in reaching gender equity and raising LGBTQ+ voices in the community,” says Francesca.
Dedicated to fighting for gender equity and LGBTQ+ representation in the sport, Francesca is always trying to find new ways to inspire and connect with the next generation of female sailors. “It’s still difficult for women to pursue a professional career in sailing. We need to find ways to encourage participation from this group and have the few female athletes in the sport openly talk about their experiences and how they have overcome challenges along the way to inspire participation.” said Francesca.
In addition to being an active and vocal participant in the female and LGBTQ+ sailing community, Francesca has participated in panel opportunities such as her recent conversation with US Sailing to discuss challenges for fellow sailors and how to solve them. Providing further visibility to female and LGBTQ+ sailors is an important part of her passion in serving as a role model.
Mixed-Gender Marathon Sailing
When we teamed up with Francesca and Jesse to create our two-member sailing team, we sought to showcase gender equity at its best. Today, as athletes working side-by-side in a sport that requires shared endurance, Francesca’s and Jesse’s teamwork and equal participation is very evident. We will be cheering Francesca and Jesse on as they work toward bringing visibility to the sailing community’s progress in elevating female athletes and their presence in long-endurance sports at a global level.
Tapping Tech to Excel at Sailing
Our State Street Marathon Sailing team understands how unpredictable the winds and waters can be, and are well versed in collecting and assessing critical weather data.
Using a mix of technology and expert insights, they continually adapt their tactics to beat tough weather conditions — and their competition.
Tracking Data to Improve Performance
A big part of Francesca’s and Jesse’s role as sailors is to anticipate the weather conditions they may have to navigate. From the angle the wind hits their boat, to how much pressure their rudder can take, the sailors are always on high alert and adjust their approach to make the best of any situation they encounter.
One of the tools Francesca and Jesse use to guide their approach is a data-rich weather app called Windy that is accessible directly from their boat’s navigation station.
Francesca and Jesse also rely on seasoned weather analysts and the data models created by these analysts. According to Jesse, “These different data sources certainly enable us to stay abreast of evolving weather patterns. But we are also constantly tracking and assessing, on our own, the sailboat’s performance against specific weather conditions. We then collect all of these various data sets and analyze them in minute detail. This is a big part of our strategizing.”
Before each race Francesca and Jesse sit together with their own team of analysts to look closely at the weather data and adjust their sailing strategies to make the most of the conditions. They also meet afterwards to assess their performance.
Mastering the Navigation Station
On the boat, Francesca and Jesse don’t always have access to stellar Wi-Fi connectivity. However, they do have a reliable navigation system comprised of a smart device that taps several applications to download weather models.
“It’s great that we have access to sophisticated weather models while on the boat,” says Francesca. “These models allow us to pinpoint predicted weather conditions in a particular geography and within a specified timeframe. We also have the ability to further drill down by hours and minutes.”
Francesca’s and Jesse’s mastery of the navigation system, along with their ability to access and analyze data, makes them extremely informed and prepared before, during and after each race. It’s a constant experimentation for them and a continuous learning experience — but a process that helps them devise winning strategies.
Challenging Fear to Reach Big Goals
Our State Street Marathon Sailing team has been successfully racing and competing as a double-handed team since last summer.
The races demand hard work and determination, confidence in their capabilities both individually and as a team, and the strength to overcome their fears of failure.
Charting the Path to Success
Both Francesca, an experienced Olympian, and Jesse, a celebrated trans-ocean sailor, know that a lengthy offshore race comes with many unanticipated hurdles — and tremendous pressure to win every time.
To manage the fear of losing, Francesca and Jesse stay focused on their short-term goals. A big part of that is maintaining organized performance-tracking practices.
The sailors are diligent about monitoring their performance during each race and using what they learn from successes and setbacks to prepare for the next race. By creating metrics by which to measure their performance, they can better prepare to face the challenges that arise on the water.
“Each race is unique because the circumstances in which we sail continually change — from weather and water conditions to our own abilities as we continue to grow and learn,” says Francesca. “We need to prepare carefully for every race and treat it like it’s just as important as the Olympics race.”
Combating Fear with Training, Hard Work and Confidence
Francesca and Jesse put in hours of training each day to build physical stamina and hone their sailing skills. Similarly, they work to train their minds, as sailing also requires strong mental endurance. Instead of worrying too much about the future, they concentrate on the present and give 100 percent every step of the way.
However, making sure they carve out time to do something that they enjoy outside of sailing is an important part of the process. Jesse, for example, sets aside at least 30 minutes every day to read something non-fiction that isn’t about sailing. He also counts exercise as the most powerful medicine for body and mind. Francesca finds that a good indoor cycling session on Zwift can help clear her mind. She also tries to adopt technology-free weekends to limit screen time and instead spend quality time with loved ones.
As Jesse says, “Francesca and I motivate each other to remain focused on winning the next race and be the strongest performers we can be. This level of teamwork directly contributes to our confidence and helps us tackle our fears about competing at the highest level.”
With each race, Jesse and Francesca get a step closer to their final goal — and become even more formidable. As they continue to race on the Fearless boat, we are excited for them and will continue to cheer them on from the sidelines.
Double-Handed but Single-Minded
As they work together, we will be witnessing the transformation of two expert single-handed sailors into one formidable double-handed team.
Unlike solo racing, working as a double-handed team requires that both sailors take equal ownership of the different tasks associated with the race — everything from sailing to navigating becomes a two-person job. They need to function as a single entity and that entails trust, teamwork and a constant effort to build both mental and physical stamina. In this type of race, there’s always the chance that team members will need to sail single-handedly so they must prepare for that as well.
Francesca and Jesse have extensive experience handling lengthy offshore races and have been individually recognized and celebrated. Successfully integrating their distinct capabilities to amplify their team performance depends on their dynamic and a clear understanding of their specific roles and responsibilities while on the boat.
As Jesse points out, “We are constantly preparing for all kinds of situations. If at any point all goes awry, we know who is in charge of navigation, while also simultaneously keeping track of our speed and performance in the race.”
From navigation techniques and coastal tactics to risk management while on the waters, Francesca and Jesse communicate openly. In their races and training sessions, they gain from each other’s knowledge and skills, and build confidence in one another.
According to Francesca, “I completely trust Jesse, and there is a lot of respect between us. If I am down below on the boat getting rest or food, I know he is out there pushing 100 percent.”
“The sailing discipline requires that we be physically and mentally present at all times.” says Jesse. “As a double-handed team, each of us are acting as co-skippers who need to be ready at a moment’s notice to take on full charge of the boat should anything come up.”
The sailors have a rigorous training regimen. They put in many hours of physical training through a mix of gym and outdoor workouts such as well as dexterity and mobility training.
They also participate in sailing-specific training sessions that include weather routing, scenario planning, racecourse mapping and how to take care of and get the most out of their gear.
“We aspire to race in the Olympics, and that means we need to focus on building multiple skills and ensuring that our boat and equipment are in great shape,” says Francesca.
One Team, One Mind
With each race and training session, Jesse and Francesca are uncovering more about each other as sailors and as human beings. From training to complement each other’s skill sets, to identifying ways to become a stronger team, they have truly embraced the thinking of “one team, one mind”.
Over a short period of time, they have already built a notable partnership. We are confident that their individual achievements will be multiplied as a team. With their intensive training efforts and passion for sailing, they are a perfect team and hold immense promise to make both State Street and the US proud.
Meet State Street’s Winning Marathon Sailing Team
Since launching our State Street Marathon Sailing partnership, we’ve had the opportunity to host our first few events with our sailors Francesca Clapcich and Jesse Fielding.
From these events, we’ve gotten to know Francesca and Jesse personally, including learning about their individual journeys to sailing, their distinct skillsets and how they are coming together to build a great team rapport by making efforts to truly understand and support one another.
On the heels of their strong performances at their first few races, including their recent win at the Stamford Yacht Club’s Vineyard Race, we’re taking a closer look at how the team is preparing for each race on the Fearless boat – races that will determine their end goal of representing the US in the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Meet Francesca: Two-Time Olympian, World and European Sailing Champion
Francesca, who grew up in a small town off the Northeastern coast of Italy, had her first formal sailing course at the age of six. “I’ve been dreaming about the Olympics and a gold medal since I can remember.
Over the years, Francesca has come to showcase true dedication and fearlessness in the sport and in her personal journey. She was a member of the Italian Sailing Federation from 2002 to 2017 and won both the World and European Championships in 49er FX in 2015.
Francesca has sailed in the past two Olympics and also was recently part of the mixed-gender Turn the Tide on Plastic team, competing in the well-known Volvo Ocean Race.
An avid supporter of diversity and gender parity, Francesca represents State Street’s values of equity, grit and resourcefulness, and is proud to be a part of the State Street Marathon Sailing team. “As someone from Italy, married to a woman, I know that not many countries and companies hold the same values for diversity and equality,” says Francesca. “Someone has been fearless before us to help us get here.” She believes that in any work setting, women and men must overcome challenges and succeed as a team by focusing on complementary skillsets.
She expresses great confidence in Jesse as her team partner and respects the diverse sailing experience he brings on board.
Meet Jesse: Professional Sailor, Adventurer and Ocean Racer
Jesse is originally from Wickford, Rhode Island. His passion for sailing also came at an early age. “My parents were looking for some childcare as both of them were avid sailors. It just made sense for me to join them on their boat and learn the sport,” Jesse said.
While attending the University of Rhode Island, Jesse made the decision to join the cast of Morning Light, a Walt Disney documentary that followed the youngest crew to compete in the Transpacific Yacht Race in 2007. He later teamed up with several of those involved in the documentary for a four-month sailing race across the North Atlantic Ocean, finishing third overall in the 2011 Rolex FastNet Race.
Jesse’s dedication to the sport of sailing is only matched by his passion to foster gender equality in the sport. “For me, gender equity is a mission that runs very deep,” he says. “As teammates, Francesca and I have an amazing opportunity to showcase sailing as an equal sport for men and women, which is groundbreaking from a global standpoint.
He admires and shares Francesca’s ability to persevere through challenges with positivity and fearlessness.
Together: A Winning Team
Jesse and Francesca’s compatibility as teammates is vital to the success of their sailing journey. The sport requires each of them to split roles and navigate their distinct skillsets and capabilities efficiently and quickly. For this to happen, their communication and teamwork must be based on a foundation of trust and support. Fortunately, this is something they are already demonstrating.
We are confident that during the various races, Francesca and Jesse will choose to work through every tough decision as a team and emerge victorious.
What It Means to Be Fearless, on the Water and on Land
When asked what drew them to partner with State Street in the historic competitive sport of Mixed Marathon Sailing, both Francesca and Jesse pointed to our company’s deep-rooted values of teamwork, empowerment and equality — underscored by the global impact of a four-foot-tall statue.
“When State Street Global Advisors placed the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street, the company made a very public statement in support of female leadership,” notes Francesca. “And they’ve continued to double-down on that commitment.”
Today, from her vantage point in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Fearless Girl wears a lace collar in tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg — an iconic figure in the ongoing fight for gender equality, and the original fearless girl. We’ve continued in that spirit of advancing female leadership and gender equity by naming the boat that the State Street team will be competing and training on for the next four years Fearless.
“Naming a boat is a highly symbolic process,” says Jesse. “Oftentimes, sailors name their boats for the ocean, selecting a moniker that pays homage to the powerful and unpredictable King Neptune in the hopes that he will be kind. By naming this boat Fearless, we’re breaking with that tradition. Instead of giving in to the ocean, we’re standing proud and determined before it.”
“Sailing is a sport that has historically lagged behind when it comes to gender equality, so we are proud to be part of this momentous occasion for the sport, on one the largest and most elite athletic stages,” says Francesca.
But Mixed Marathon Sailing isn’t notable for just pairing one man and one woman on a team — the sport demands total equity between teammates and requires competitors to exhibit the highest levels of endurance and performance. Regardless of gender, sailors have equal responsibilities, roles, and rewards on the team.
Francesca and Jesse wouldn’t have it any other way. “The invention of sailing brought the world together and made it feel smaller,” says Jesse. “With our State Street partnership and the Fearless boat to inspire us, we’re ready to face the challenges and competition of this ground-breaking event.”