The Heart and Soul of Precor: Jim and Ashley Doedens
The Heart and Soul of Precor: Jim and Ashley Doedens
We are excited to introduce a new series, The Heart & Soul of Precor, which highlights the incredible, inspiring people who work at Precor. These articles focus on employees who embody the Precor creed both inside and outside of the workplace. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the people who make our company so unique!
Ashley and Jim Doedens are a unique father/daughter team. Not only do they work together at Precor, but they are also part of a competitive sailing team in Seattle, WA. They have been participating in this sport together for many years and even have a dinghy boat named after Ashley called "Charlie's Breeze" (Ashley's nickname is Charlie). They are an inspiring family duo and are the true representation of what being the heart and soul of Precor really means.
What got you both started with sailing?
Jim started out as a wind surfing instructor as a teen in Canada before getting into sailing. He had read about wind surfing in a magazine with his brother and knew they had to get into it. He then transitioned into sailing after linking up with a coworker who raced sail boats. After moving to the States, he got out of sailing for a few years until he met a friend in 2001 with a boat. He was really itching to get back into and has been racing again ever since.
Ashley started out because, as a family, they used to take Jim’s 12-foot dinghy along on family vacations. She actually was scared of the boats because she was worried of them tipping over but surprisingly she loved the water. After a few years she finally realised how much she loved it and started sailing a lot more often on that boat. She’s been racing since she was 14 years old.
What are the differences between racing a single versus a double sailboat?
The single/double boats are called dinghies and only fit 1- 3 people on them at a time. The boats that Jim and Ashley race on the majority of the time are around 30 feet and have room to fit a whole crew of 7-8 people.
What does a typical sailing season look like?
Jim and Ashley generally sail year-round. A typical season ranges from January through November, which makes for some chilly and wet rides at times and calls for a lot of layers.
How do you prepare for a sailing competition?
Jim and Ashley tend to use family sailing time as practise time.
For transporting the larger boats to their races, a member of the team will drive the boat from Everett, Washington, where it is kept, to the location they will be racing. This can be anywhere as south as Olympia, Washington, and as north as Vancouver, Canada, but they typically keep it pretty local for convenience. As for transporting the dinghy boat, Jim tows it himself, with his Miata – now there’s a sight!
Do you have any specific goals to reach in this sport?
There are many different levels and tiers in the sport of sailing. Ashley and Jim do compete internationally, but at the amateur level. They do it all for the joy and fun of the sport. It’s what they love and that’s what keeps the momentum going. They like that it is competitive and naturally, they always want to do their best and win, but their number one priority is for the love of the sport and safety!
Do you hold any sailing awards?
Ashley and Jim’s favourite award was winning the Big Zucchini (1st place) in a Lake Chelan dinghy regatta. Jim won this single-handed, as Ashley was out sick for this adventure. Ashley explains that the prize was litreally an unusually large zucchini from the regatta holder’s land where they grow a few crops.
Their favourite race has been the LO300 (Lake Ontario 300) which is a 300-mile race around Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada. They partnered up with Ashley’s uncle and cousin. The crew placed 1st in their class but unfortunately missed out on the overall win, but they were honoured to be able to join and still finished with high standings against other participants. Surviving that race was the biggest reward and one of the most memorable adventures, because out of 120 boats participating in the race, 60 of them had to turn back within the first hour due to severe weather, equipment damages, and crew injuries. Thankfully, their crew didn’t suffer from any of these and were able to finish strong.
Not only does the crew regularly take the annual club champion trophy at Milltown Sailing Association, they have also placed in the top three of the annual regional Fowl Weather Bluff several times. Other awards consist of many Log Dodge trophies, which are small pieces of cut logs depicting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places from fun Friday night races in the summer.
How has working at Precor and Amer Sports affected this journey?
Jim and Ashley both agree that their journey wouldn’t be the same without Precor. Sailing is a very physical and demanding sport. Working at Precor allows for enough work flexibility to get the needed practise in. Also, with all the access to fitness equipment at work, they are able to stay physically fit in order to perform the physical part of sailing. This also allows the time they would need to spend in the gym outside the office to be dedicated to practise for upcoming competitions. Working at Precor and being surrounded by more people who share the love and desire for fitness has also opened the door to willing volunteers when they may need another hand sailing!
What line of the Precor creed do you relate to the most in terms of your life outside of work?
Jim - “I desire a life without limits.”
“It is always amazing to me that the crew can manage to get a boat that weighs several tons to travel through the water at speed with nothing more than the wind to power it. Also, growing up yacht racing was something only the elite and privileged few might do – I could not even imagine myself doing it. At this point in my life, I have raced yachts in the Great Lakes, here in the Pacific Northwest, in the Virgin Islands, and in Australia. The opportunities are limitless.”
Ashley - “I desire a life without limits.”
“I’m a person who doesn’t like to be confined in life or my surroundings. I find myself continuing to search for creative ways to challenge myself and overcome boundaries. I believe a life without limits is the ultimate freedom.”