State Street Marathon Sailing
Follow the Adventure
Follow the journey of State Street’s Marathon sailors
Francesca Clapcich and Jesse Fielding.
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, a co-skipper and member of our Marathon Sailing team alongside Jesse Fielding, aims to compete in the first-ever sailing category of its kind — Doublehanded Mixed-Gender Sailing — in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Francesca is a testament to endurance, athleticism and dedication, and we are proud to stand beside her and Jesse as they race to compete in the Olympic Games.
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 and What It Means for the Olympics
A prestigious sporting event like the Olympics can help set a standard around how a sport is perceived by the global community. Being able to showcase a one-man, one-woman team in a high-endurance sport is a much-needed first step. With Doublehanded Mixed-Gender Sailing, the Olympic Games has created an international stage for gender equity.
When we teamed up with Francesca and Jesse to create our two-member sailing team on a quest to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, 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. With several wins already under their belt, they continue to work, one race at a time, toward the ultimate goal of competing at the Olympics.
The races between now and the start of the 2024 Paris Olympics 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 and ending their Olympic dreams, 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 so that by the time we get to the Olympics, we will 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 fearlessly on the Fearless boat, we are excited for them and will continue to cheer them on from the sidelines as they get closer and closer to Paris in 2024.
Double-Handed but Single-Minded
As they work together to achieve their goal of competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics, 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 ultimate race that Francesca and Jesse are preparing for, which is the 2024 Paris Olympics mixed-gender marathon sailing category, is physically taxing. The two- to three-day race is the lengthiest in the Olympics.
“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. But the debut of the mixed-gender sailing category in the 2024 Paris Olympics carries extra significance, as it represents everything she loves and stands for.
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 leading up to the 2024 Olympics, 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.”
The State Street Marathon Sailing team will navigate Fearless in multiple qualifying races to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games where Mixed Marathon Sailing makes its debut. The new event category features mixed-gender pair teams competing in three-day offshore races, the longest event at the Olympic games.
Both members of our team recognize the significance of participating in this event. “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.”
Adds Francesca, “At the Olympic Games, we’ll have an opportunity to demonstrate for the world the value of a better, more equal future. I look at the name on our boat and I feel proud.”