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Julia Paxton, who grew up in Sebastopol and then went to sea, read keenly about 28-year-old Jack Tibbetts of the Santa Rosa City Council testing himself in a San Francisco-to-Hawaii sailboat race.

At 26, Julia is beguiled by all things nautical. Oh, and she raced in July’s Pacific Cup, too.

A merchant mariner who spends months at a time on cargo ships and tankers, Julia entered the more than 2,000-mile race to enjoy an adventure with her boyfriend and fellow mariner, Andy Goodman, 28, of Stockton.

And to beat her cousin.

Will Paxton of Point Richmond is a sailmaker and a championship racer. He and Julia constituted the Pacific Cup’s near-sibling rivalry.

Both raced with their respective partners in the division comprised of two-person teams in 27-foot sloops, more typically used for day sailing or racing nearer to shore.

For the first five days, Will and racing partner Zachary Andersen were somewhere ahead of Julia and Andy. Julia recalled that she was below deck on Loose Cannon, grabbing a mid-day nap when Andy called out, “Hey, I see sails up ahead.”

Julia stepped up and saw that it was cousin Will’s boat, Motorcycle Irene. This was remarkable: 900 miles into a race across the ocean, you can expect never to see another entered vessel — much less your cousin’s.

“We saw that he was under a cloud, with no wind,” Julia said. So she and Andy steered well around that area of calm, and overtook Will’s boat.

“After that, we stayed ahead of him the rest of the race,” Julia said. She would rib Will later, “You showed us where the hole was!”

Both teams finished well, but Julia’s just a little better. A coffee lover, Julia heaps some credit on Loose Cannon’s cache of chocolate-dipped espresso beans.

...

TERRIBLE STUFF attaches itself to the gear that firefighters wear while battling flames and the toxins freed up from common construction materials and furnishings.

There’s evidence the carcinogens that cling to firefighters’ turnout suits place them at increased risk of cancer. And there are people who’re determined to help reduce that risk.

In Cotati, some folks deeply grateful to firefighters are doing something to protect them from the health hazards they wear after attacking a blaze. They invite our help.

Julien Camp, a real estate agent, and Congregation New Shalom, the Jewish community that meets at the former Cotati Cabaret, are raising money to buy a heavy duty extractor — which is used to wash clothes — for the Rancho Adobe Fire station in downtown Cotati.

The endeavor’s crowdfunding page is at gofundme.com/protect-our-firefighters.

Says Camp, “We don’t want these folks fighting one more fire without the means to protect themselves from the toxic exposure.”

...

CALL FOR HAY: Farm animals evacuated from burned or threatened areas of Lake County are in need of feed.

There’s a donation center in Hidden Valley Lake, near Middletown. If you’re able to take hay or other feed to 17568 Arabian Lane, Will Dyslin and volunteers will be pleased to see you. The animals no doubt will be, too.

You can text Dyslin at 707-245-6072.

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