PIONEERING’S IN HER BLOOD

Sailmaker-turned-port commissioner has another first

Laura Jean Schneider
ljschneider@ptleader.com
Posted 1/20/22

 

 

Frustrated with her new computer, Carol Hasse picked up the phone and responded to an email from The Leader the old-fashioned way.

“I’m very much a Luddite,” …

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PIONEERING’S IN HER BLOOD

Sailmaker-turned-port commissioner has another first

Posted

 

 

Frustrated with her new computer, Carol Hasse picked up the phone and responded to an email from The Leader the old-fashioned way.

“I’m very much a Luddite,” she said. After relegating technology to her staff at Port Townsend Sails, Hasse, 70,  is now starting to learn the language of computers.

“I was hoping they would be a fad,” she said, laughing.

After close to 50 years as a sail maker, Hasse retired last year, but hasn’t exactly slowed down.

As the second woman elected as a Port of Port Townsend commissioner for District 2, she’s helped make history.

In a Jan. 12 port meeting, Commissioner Peter “Pete” Hanke who has served two terms on the board, commented that for the first time in the port’s 97-year history, women make up the majority of commissioners. Additionally, Pam Petranek, also a commissioner, will serve as the first female president of the port commission.

Hanke said the new leadership was a long time coming.

And needed.

“At 97 years I think I’m very, very proud that not only have we had Pam Petranek as a port commissioner for two years, but we have Carol Hasse coming in as our new commissioner,” Hanke said.

“I think it’s 97 years too late that we’ve had women involved on the port commission,” Hanke said.

“It’s cool,” he said, and added that he was looking forward to working with the two commissioners during his term.

“It’s really an honor and a privilege to serve as a port commissioner,” Hasse said.

She’s been involved intermittently with port ongoings for years. Living and working in Point Hudson made her particularly aware of impacts, and her standing in the community enabled her to “rally the troops,” as she put it, when cohesion and support were needed.

“Whenever Port Hudson felt like to me it was under threat, I would get very involved,” she said.

Being a commissioner made perfect sense for Hasse after stepping down from a full-time career.

“This was a way to ensure that I would be there,” Hasse said of port meetings.

She laughed, perhaps at herself.

While Hasse may be making history for the port, she’s been leading the way for women in the maritime industry for her entire career.

Independent sail lofts like her former business, are incredibly rare, she said. Just the fact she manufactured sails from start to finish on the shore of Point Hudson made what Hasse offered to the maritime world truly unique.

Hasse admitted she was “one of a very, very, small handful” of women sailmakers when she started her business.

She helped lead the first women’s voyage on the schooner “Adventuress.” Then she helped sail the “Alaska Eagle,” an Orange Coast College-owned boat, from Honolulu to Victoria, followed by two more women’s trips on the aluminum cutter.

Hasse was actually the first woman member of the Port Townsend Yacht Club. (Ironically, she was asked to join as the token woman it took to have a club on port property. No all-male clubs allowed.)

“I’ve been fortunate to grow up in an area where women’s rights have done nothing but expand,” she said.

Hasse speaks with quiet eloquence, but when asked why she thinks the port has taken 97 years to include women commissioners, she seemed a little inquisitive herself.

“That’s a really good question,” she said. “I wonder when we [Port Townsend] got our first female councilmember or county commissioner.”

“I just truly don’t know the answer to that question,” she said after some deliberation.

Hasse didn’t get hung up on the mystery surrounding the port’s historical choices. She focused with optimism instead, on the future, working for the local maritime industry alongside her dear friends and colleagues.

“We need to really be focusing on the triple bottom line,” the commissioner said.

“It’s an exciting time to step into this. I feel I have shared values and commitments,” she added. “I feel we’re all on the same page.”

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