It’s a huge risk, honestly. But then you think about all the things you learn on the way...that no one can take away from you.
The head and the heart.
In sailing you need them both. You need the technical acumen to strategize, calculating your advantage down to the millimeter. And you need to silence your mind, just feel the boat and let your instincts take control. On this team, Helena is the head and Paris is all heart.
Helena is always analyzing and planning, organizing and executing. It’s how she’s become one of the top athletes in the world while completing her undergrad degree and starting on her master’s. And it’s how she kept focused on their goal after she was seriously injured during a competition in 2013, her body absorbing the full impact of a 30 mph collision.
Paris doesn’t analyze, she feels. She’s the one who pulled Helena from the water after the accident and stayed with her in the hospital. Out on the water, she feels everything—every miniscule change and movement as the boat speaks to her in a language only she can understand. It gives them extra speed, an edge over the competition that can’t be quantified and yet can’t be denied.
Together, head and heart make a formidable team. Part strategy, part instinct, they are totally committed to their dream and to each other.
49er FX Women’s Two-Person High Performance Dinghy
P: Coronado, CA
H: Kirkland, WA
We do have silent reminders of what has happened and how dangerous it can be, but so far nothing has held us back.
Women and girls should pursue their dreams, no matter what others may say. Helena got that advice from her dad and his guidance gives her the confidence to combat negative stereotypes about women in engineering, her chosen field of study, and in sailing, a traditionally male sport.
A Sailing Trapeze
In a move, they call “hanging out,” Helena Scutt demonstrates how she and teammate Paris Henken use a trapeze to extend their bodies over the water to counter the force of the wind on the sails of their 49er FX.