Sailing ace JJ Fetter has the eye of the wind as she now helms special events

JJ Fetter
JJ Fetter

JJ Fetter is a native La Jollan who attended La Jolla Elementary and Bishop’s schools. She started sailing at age 7 in the junior program at the San Diego Yacht Club. Since then, JJ has won three world championships and is the only American female to have won two Olympic medals in sailing (Bronze in '92 and Silver in '00).

JJ has been named Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year four times, and last year she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the San Diego Hall of Champions. In 1995, she was the tactician and starting helmsman for the America3 Women's America's Cup team.

Nowadays, JJ is the event coordinator for SEA SD (Sailing Events Association San Diego) whose mission is to bring high-profile sailing events to town for the benefit of the local economy. SEA SD is the local organizing committee for the America’s Cup World Series currently in downtown San Diego, through Nov. 20.

For more information on the races, go to

What brought you to La Jolla?

My parents, Tom and Jane Fetter, or I guess, technically, my mom's obstetrician because I was born at Scripps. I've lived in La Jolla my entire life except for four years back at Yale and then several six-month stints in various parts of the world for the America's Cup races — Perth, Australia in 1986-'87 and Auckland, New Zealand in 2000 and 2003.

What makes this area special to you?

I think La Jolla is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Thanks to all the sailboat racing I've done around the world, I've had a chance to sail in gorgeous places like Portofino, St. Tropez, Buzios, Sydney, Auckland — and I'm never disappointed by my hometown when I get back.

What might you improve in the area?

I'd love to add sidewalks on all the streets — especially on the narrow, curvy streets up in the hills — so I could go for a walk without worrying about getting run over. Also, I’d replace several blocks (ideally one with a big high-rise) with a large park that included an area for dogs. I think that would be nice. And I wish Bennett's Nursery was still here or that Ace Hardware (my favorite store in La Jolla) was bigger and carried garden plants.

Who or what inspires you?

I seem to be most inspired these days by deadlines.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Could I have several private dinners with just one or two guests instead? Because I'd really like to talk with my great aunts, Lydia and Dodie, who were the first of my family to move to La Jolla in the 1930s. And I know it's a cliché, but it would be really interesting to get the straight scoop from Jesus.

The others on my list (in no particular order) would be Cleopatra, a Mayan high priest, Benjamin Franklin, Hillary Clinton and the Dalai Lama. It's tempting to substitute George Clooney, Daniel Craig or Bradley Cooper, but it's not worth the chance that they would be disappointing.



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