JJ Isler

Two-time Olympic medalist and America's Cup starting helmsman

JJ Isler
Daniel Forster

As a product of the San Diego YC and the CISA foundation clinic, JJ Isler went east for college and raced at Yale University, making the All-America Team at a time when it was a rarity for women sailors. Since then, Isler's ability to shift gears from Olympic 470s to J/24s to 50-footers and even America's Cup racers has earned her four titles as Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. In the J/24, Isler won the Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship in 1986. In 1991, Isler and crew Pam Healy won the 1991 Women's 470 Worlds. Then, racing in the Olympic 470 at the 1992 Olympics with Healy, Isler won a bronze medal, and at the 2000 Games with Pease Glaser, she won a silver. Between trips to the Games she's had two daughters, co-written Sailing for Dummies with her husband, Peter, helmed a 50-footer to Key West boat of the week honors and participated a campaign as starting helmsman and tactician for Bill Koch's Mighty Mary women's team, racing in the majority of America's Cup defense-trial races before losing her job on the all-women's boat to her friend David Dellenbaugh. Isler is the first woman elected to the Sailing World Hall of Fame.