2016 Leadership Award Recipient


NEWPORT, Calif., May 9, 2016 – At opening day festivities held this weekend at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, Ms. Kathie Ohmer-Arnold of Aliso Viejo, CA was named the 2016 recipient of the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award. A joint honor of the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) and Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the award recognizes a woman with a record of achievement in inspiring, educating, and enriching the lives of other women through sailing. Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) Staff Commodore Gail E. Hine, the 2001 recipient of the Award and Member of the Women’s Sailing Foundation Board of Directors, presented the honor on behalf of NWSA and BoatUS.

“Kathie exemplifies the Corinthian spirit in her endless enthusiasm for the sport of sailing and her generosity in sharing her time and many talents with others,” said Hine. “She does it all – cruising, racing, coaching and boat repair while also pitching in onshore with the volunteering, planning and organizing aspects of club activities. She is a role model that demonstrates that women can participate at the highest levels in sailing and is always ready to give encouragement and instruction.”

As a teen, Ms. Ohmer-Arnold began sailing dinghies in California’s Newport Harbor and then later raised a family. After the kids grew up, she sailed to Europe and into the Mediterranean and before returning to the West Indies logging over 10,000 miles. In the islands she acquired her 100-ton Master License, was first mate on a Hatteras 70, worked as a charter captain on a 44-ft ketch, taught local women how to handle large boats by themselves, and raced J-24s in her spare time.

Returning to California in 1988, she continued involvement in sailing, starting in Dana Point with the repair and restoration of historic sloop Virginia. She also taught Sea Scouts how to sail, became a instructor with Orange Coast College of Sailing & Seamanship, and over the next nine years taught over 500 women to sail aboard the school’s 47-foot Saudade.

In the 90’s Kathie was active in the precursor to the Women’s Sailing Association of Orange County, was a supporter of the Sail for the Visually Impaired, and joined Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC) where she sailed her Catalina 34. At BCYC, Kathie mentored many female members, being active in their social events, club cruises, and junior activities as well. She served as Port Captain and also as Fleet Captain at BCYC and participated in H/20 harbor races. Kathie supported the Leukemia Lymphoma Society charity regatta and invited young leukemia survivors aboard on her boat for a number of years.     

Kathie has been an instructor/coach for the SCYA’s Women’s Sailing Convention for the past 25 years and second-in-command. She is responsible for the annual event’s coach coordination, boat donations and participant on-the-water workshop assignments.