SAN DIEGO (AP) -- There are soccer moms, and then there are sailing moms. Looking at J.J. Isler's hectic pace, there's absolutely no confusing the two.
Whisking her two young daughters from activity to activity will have to wait, at least until October. This sailing mom is trying to win another Olympic medal.
For a good portion of the last 2 1/2 years -- save for the time she was pregnant with her youngest child -- Isler has been away from her La Jolla home, at regattas in far-flung waters or on airplanes getting there.
"All I do is ditch the kids and go off on my own," the 36-year-old Isler joked before heading overseas once again for another regatta, the only way of getting in serious training for the Olympics. "Like when Megan sees me pick up the duffel bag, she starts to cry."
The arrival of Megan, who turns 2 next month, is what really made Isler's Olympic campaign interesting.
After sailing big boats for several years, including in the 1995 America's Cup, Isler decided to go back to the double-handed 470 class.
She had hooked up with a new crewmember, Pease Glaser of Long Beach, Calif., and together they came up with the somewhat crazy idea of trying to make the Olympic team. After all, Glaser had tried and failed three times to make the Olympic team as a skipper, first in the 470 and then the Tornado class, and Isler hadn't sailed in the 470 since winning the Olympic bronze medal at Barcelona in 1992.
Isler had done the '95 America's Cup when her oldest daughter, Marly, was 2, and figured that since she would be of school age by 2000 -- she'll be 7 in October -- it should be OK to do an Olympic campaign.
"We did our first regatta in January 1998 and I didn't feel very good during that regatta," Isler said. "I thought maybe I was coming down with the flu."
No, she was pregnant with Megan, a surprising development that would take her away from training for about a year.
Once Isler was back in sailing shape, she and Glaser carried on, and as underdogs beat six other boats in October's winner-take-all U.S. Olympic trials.
That's where some serious juggling began.
"For better or worse, I had this crazy idea two years ago that I would jump back into dinghy sailing," Isler said. "It's ended up being a lot more work and a lot more time away from the girls than I wanted. But there isn't the time to feel guilty about it anymore. It's only through September, and we've tried to put things in place at home."
Husband Peter, a professional sailor as well as author and TV commentator, cut back on some of his projects to help watch the kids, although he did just finish another book. The Islers hired a nanny, and it helps that they live next door to her parents.
"When I'm on the road I try to just burn out on sailing, training, organizing things, so that when I'm home I can have more time free," Isler said.
Even so, she missed Megan's first birthday and will miss her second.
Peter Isler has had his share of sailing success, having served as navigator when Dennis Conner reclaimed the America's Cup from Australia in 1987 and defended it in 1988.
He's more than supportive of his wife, even though last fall it meant that she was competing in the Olympic Trials in Florida while he was sailing in the America's Cup in New Zealand, again for Conner, and for a while the kids were back in San Diego.
"To most competitive sailors, the Olympics remains, from a purist's standpoint, the ultimate goal and the ultimate achievement in the sport of sailing," Peter Isler said. "You're married to somebody who's going to her second Olympics, it's pretty darn special, considering everything. And the fact that I'm a sailor adds to that."
J.J. Isler's America's Cup experience wasn't as good as her husband's. She was part of the groundbreaking all-women's America3 crew in 1995, serving as starting helmsman and tactician. But with the inexperienced team struggling, she was replaced midway through the competition by Dave Dellenbaugh, one of the team's coaches.
Isler said she learned a lot from that experience, not the least of which was that it was the first real adversity in her career, which on the flip side saw her become the first female skipper to compete in several major match-racing events. She also is a three-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.
Isler continued on in big boats, one reason being so she could sail more with her husband. The Yale-educated couple also collaborated on a book, "Sailing For Dummies," in 1997. Peter Isler just co-authored another book, "At The Helm -- Business Lessons for Navigating Rough Waters."
J.J. Isler had to get reacquainted with navigating a smaller boat. On the America's Cup sloop, she would steer at the start, then hand off the wheel and -- by watching the wind and the opponent -- try to figure out the fastest way around the buoys.
"I never touched a line," she said. "On a dinghy you have to learn the definition of multitasking. You've got to steer as fast as possible while trimming the mainsheet while looking around. You need to have a really broad perspective. I'm still trying to get rid of the bad habits."
There's another challenge for Isler and Glaser. While Isler went into the 1992 Olympics as the defending world champion, she and Glaser finished 11th in this year's worlds, and have finished no higher than seventh in some recent big regattas.
They're a few years behind some of the other teams, and with no 470 fleet in Southern California, have to go elsewhere to face top competition.
But they've been underdogs before and do have years of experience.
"When I started this campaign, it's that dream of, 'OK, I want to stand on the podium, but this time I want to hear my music as the flags go up,' " Isler said.
"For us to win the gold we're going to have to sail above the level that we have been, which is possible. There are just a bunch of little things we need to polish. There's not some gaping hole in our program but there are lot of unknowns."
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