The Crew

Graham, Mara, Willie, Alli, Sam, and Jon
In the Bell family, sailing has always been a family affair. Willard Bell ("Dad" to some, "Grandpa" to most of us) started sailing when he and his brother Norman "Dutch" refurbished a skimmer while visiting their grandparents in Long Beach one summer. While stationed in Chicago for World War II, he bought a Star boat and and was an avid sailor and racer for most of his life. His wife, Inez (also "Mom" or "Grandma"), was with him for most of his adventures. His children (Charlie, Sam, Teresa, Willie, and Rosey) all grew up sailing on Westward Ho (a 36 foot sloop) and Westward. All of them have sailed Transpac aboard Westward (as well as other boats), and all are still active in the sailing community. Willard and Inez's 12 grandchildren grew up around boats (Westward and others) and many of them are active sailboat racers. This summer, six Bells from two generations will sail Westward in Transpac. This makes three generations of Bells who have sailed on Westward in this race.

Here's who is on the 2013 Transpac Westward crew:

Sam Bell
Sam is the second eldest of Willard and Inez's children. Like all the Bell children, Sam grew up an ocean racer. He is a Transpac veteran, having raced not only on Westward but also Westward's sistership Sumatra. Sam is a bicoastal ocean racer, most recently having competed in the Annapolis to Newport Race. In addition to playing on big boats, Sam is an active Lido 14 racer with the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Lido 14 fleet. Sam has done quite a bit of wooden boat restoration lately: In 2012, he restored an old LAYC Shoreboat, "Shorty's Boat." Something about that experience must have ignited his passion because the work on Westward began not too long after the work on Shorty's was finished.

Sam is married to Dana and they have four children: Dani (married to Mike), Cat, Mica (married to Dan), and Jon (married to Lauren). This is an exciting summer for Sam and Dana. In July, both Dani and Mica are due to have babies. Sam will probably leave San Pedro a father and come home a grandfather!

Willie Bell
Willie, the fourth-born Bell, will be sailing his fifth Transpac, fourth on Westward. Willie is somewhat of a wood boat afficionado. Not only does he co-own Westward with his siblings, but he and his wife Shauneen currently own the Wells 34, Seeker, that belonged to Shauneen's parents. Willie and Shauneen have a enviable history on Westward. Not only is that where their engagement was announced, but following the 1978 Tahiti Transpac, Willie and Shauneen spent 9 months cruising Westward through the South Pacific.

Willie and Shauneen have two children, Mara (married to Sadato) and Graham. Together, they have logged thousands of miles on trips to and from Catalina and the Channel Islands on Seeker, and on charter boats in Belize, the Whitsunday Islands, Australia, the British Virgin Islands, Tahiti, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Alli Bell
Alli is Charlie and Candy's second child and only daughter. She first started racing Naples Sabots in the San Diego Yacht Club Junior Program along with her brothers Andrew, Lucas, and Daniel. Alli loves both racing and coaching sailing and has been fortunate enough to do both around the country and around the world. Currently working at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C., Alli dreams of the day when she buys a boat and does some long term long distance sailing. Alli is thrilled to be sailing Transpac the way she has always dreamed of doing it: on Westward with a bunch of Bells.

Mara Bell Hoshina
Mara is Willie and Shauneen's daughter. Alongside her brother, Graham, Mara first cut her sailing teeth aboard their family's Cal 29 Hinano. She learned to race at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program where she also spent several summers instructing sailing. You will never meet as talented, or as loved, a Sea Urchin instructor as Mara. In 2010, Mara married Sadato Hoshina and has been living in Fujisawa, Japan for the last three years. Fortunately, Mara has found a great boat to crew for and races regularly. The whole family is excited that Mara can come "home" to sail Westward to Hawaii.

Jon Bell
Jon is the youngest child of the Sam and Dana Bell family and their only son. Jon, like the other Bell kids, grew up sailing Naples Sabots. Also just like the other Bell kids, Jon quickly outgrew his sabot and switched into bigger boats like 505s, 29ers, and Santana 22s. Jon's sailing skill and jovial nature have earned him spots on teams sailing all over the world. Jon has looked forward to sailing Transpac on Westward his whole life.

While sailing for the University of California at Santa Barbara sailing team, Jon met Lauren (Hobson) and had the good sense to marry her. The entire Bell family couldn't have been happier about this. Jon and Lauren live in Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, Lauren will not be on Westward for the sail, but she will be part of Westward's Hawaii Welcome Crew.

Graham Bell
Graham is Willie and Shauneen's son and the youngest of the Bell cousins. Graham grew up sailing on Hinano and Seeker and, like Mara and Jon, was a junior in the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program. After graduating from high school, Graham continued his sailing career with the Santa Clara University Sailing Team. Graham works in Downtown LA, which means that he has been close enough to spend a lot of time helping prepare Westward for Transpac. During this time, Graham has developed an appreciation for a wide variety of music. Graham is excited for his sister and cousins to get in town and on the boat.


  1. What a great, abbreviated family history. I listened enviously to the Bells' tales of sailing and ships from just up the road on San Miguel. Fair winds, indeed!

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