The Tall Ship, Unicorn, with its all female crew participated in the Gloucester Mayor's Race Sunday, September 6th. The wind was perfect for these large vessels, but the seas did not look kindly on many. Not only did the women have a chance to work the sails and steer the vessel, but learned about their particular learning styles. Owner Dawn Santamaria is an excellent chef as well as teacher. For more about Sisters Under Sail, visit the website



Take the Helm®summer 2009 Newsletter has arrived! Take the Helm® Publications





July 11, 2009 Sag Harbor, NY
Host club: Breakwater Yacht Club
Event Chair: Charlene Kagel, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">



June 27, 2009 Grass Valley, CA
Host club: Gold Country Yacht Club
Event Chair: Tish Buti


This picture tells the whole story about Friendship Club Day 2009! We had a very small group of girls from the Friendship Club this year, but that definitely did not reduce the amount of fun we had. Thanks to Jerry Grant, Jerry Lewis, Scott & Debbie Mack, David Niedziejko, Howard & Donna Hendrich, Hugh & Nicki Talman and of course, my husband, Wayne, we had more than enough boats and skippers (and water guns!) to make it a really nice day for everyone. The girls really seemed to enjoy getting to drive the boats and playing like bow ornaments. Some of them even played like fish on the end of a line!

 The wind and weather cooperated and we had an absolutely picture-perfect day. The Women’s Sailing Foundation sent plenty of AdventureSail® tee-shirts and fanny packs to take home and GCYC provided our specialty – a hot dog lunch for all the skippers and girls.

Thank you to all of you who took time out from your busy schedules to help out with this special day!

Tish Buti, Secretary




June 13, 2009 Charlestown, MA
Host club: Courageous Sailing Center
Event Chair: Dar CollinsThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text7524+'<\/a>'; //--> and Susan EpsteinThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text66312+'<\/a>'; //--> Sponsor: Boston Private Bank & Trust Company
Food and Beverage Sponsor: Stop N Shop


June 13th marked the 13th AdventureSail® Boston. Sixteen girls from the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston arrived at Courageous Sailing Center ready for a fun filled day on the water. They were not disappointed. The sun shone brightly, and given the summer we have had, we were very lucky. Women volunteers were waiting to greet the girls, hand out AdventureSail T-shirts, outfit them with life jackets and assign them a woman skipper.

The morning began with rigging the Rhodes 19s, getting basic safety instructions and then casting off for an enjoyable sail in Boston Harbor. The girls were so excited to be out on the boats and enjoyed every tack! Each girl had a chance to take the tiller and experience the thrill of steering the boat.

Upon their return, the girls were ready for the barbeque being cooked up by the land team. Still eager for more, the girls engaged in an active knot-tying session with Susan Epstein co-chair of the event. Who knew that tying one’s sneakers was really a square knot! Some of the girls did word searches of boating terminology as well.

To cap off the day, the captain of the US Navy ship that was tied up o the other side of the pier, invited the girls aboard for a tour of the ship. Several of the matches accepted the invitation with much enthusiasm.

AdventureSail® is always one of my favorite days of the summer. To see the excitement on the girls’ faces as they sail off in Rhodes 19's is worth more than you can imagine. We are fortunate to have Courageous Sailing Center as a host for the event and our two sponsors who make the t-shirts and food possible.

A great day for women at the 8th Annual Women’s Sailing Conference


NWSA appreciates the financial and in-kind sponors support of various companies and organizations for the 8th Women's Sailing Conference, June 6th 2009. 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Contact: Scott Croft, 703-461-2845PHOTO AVAILABLE This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





ALEXANDRIA, VA, June 9, 2008 — Proving that despite a major setback, the will to sail and compete at the highest level can prevail, Maureen McKinnon-Tucker was honored with the annual Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award at ceremonies capping the day-long Women’s Sailing Conference held June 6 at Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA. The award is co-sponsored by BoatU.S. and the National Women’s Sailing Association. The award honors a male or female who has a record of achievement in giving something back to the sailing community as well as inspiring and educating women.

McKinnon-Tucker was featured in the “Top Women in American Boating” article in the May 2009 issue of BoatU.S. Magazine. Over a decade ago she fell off a seawall and the injuries left her partially paralyzed. Despite using a wheelchair, she has doggedly pursued competitive sailing. After being the first woman named to the U.S. Disabled Sailing Team and winning a silver medal in the 2007 world championship, McKinnon-Tucker went even further in 2008 and won a gold medal in the Beijing Paralympic Games, along with the late Nick Scandone in the SKUD-18 class.

In presenting the award at the conference, Elaine Dickinson, coordinator of BoatU.S.’s Women in Boating initiative, said, “Maureen’s indomitable spirit and upbeat attitude are the essence of what leadership is all about. She turned adversity into achievement and inspires everyone who meets her or hears her story.”

She has also served on numerous boards and committees advocating for those with spinal cord injuries and is a peer mentor for those recently disabled; she is the adaptive sailing coordinator at the Piers Park Sailing Center in Boston, MA. The mother of two has also managed two businesses.

McKinnon-Tucker was not able to accept the 2009 leadership award in person at Marblehead as she was competing in a race the same day in New York, but sent a videotaped message expressing her gratitude for the recognition and those who helped her get back into her chosen sport. She is a Marblehead, MA, resident and her web site is

With perfect weather and a near capacity crowd, the 8th annual Women’s Sailing Conference filled the Corinthian Yacht Club with an energetic day-long series of hands-on classes and on-the-water clinics all taught by women instructors. The conference gives women sailors, from novices to experts, an opportunity to learn new skills or brush up on old ones. BoatU.S. is the primary sponsor of the conference, organized by NWSA. The conference is one of several women’s boating events sponsored by BoatU.S. To find out more visit

About BoatU.S.:

BoatU.S. – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 600,000 members with government representation, programs and money saving services. For membership information visit or call 800-395-2628.



Mack Boring Women-only Diesel Engine Seminar, April 4th- 5th, 2009



Nine women had an intense weekend getting know diesel engines inside and out, thanks to instructor Larry Berlin. In this women-only seminar, women with various levels of knowledge and experience supported one another as they worked their way through foreign tools, language and understanding of the diesel engine.

Getting to Know Your Diesel Engine: Mack Boring Workshop Leads the Way

 As any boater knows, having a well-maintained engine not only gives peace of mind while boating but can be a critical factor in an on-the-water emergency. So when women, especially sailors, wonder what are the critical parts of a diesel engine, how do they work together and how should they be maintained, one weekend at the Mack Boring Technical Center in Union, NJ, provided the answers.

Picture courtesy of participant Joan Thayer


The women’s diesel engine seminar, sponsored by the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA), combined practical classroom/workbook time and hands-on applied engine time where the women got to physically work on an engine similar to the one in their boat. Participants for this class came from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and as far away as McLean, VA.

 “I used to assume you just turn the engine on and it goes,” said one participant. After a harrowing experience alone on her local waterway, she decided to take a class which would help her avoid getting into this situation again.

Picture courtesy of participant Joan Thayer

 The April 4-5 seminar covered engine lubrication, the electrical and cooling systems, how to service and maintain your engine, winterizing, and more. The types of tools needed to repair an engine were also covered, as well as how to access your engine and fuel systems, plus understanding your service manual. The class was geared toward those who haven’t had much prior experience with diesel engines and there was plenty of time for questions and answers.

 “My husband took this course 10 years ago and he has since said it was the best investment we’ve ever made! So now, I’m taking it,” said Leslie Owen, from Pennsylvania.

 Joan Thayer, president of NWSA and a longtime sailor, who also attended the seminar, said, “I always like to be prepared”. Preparation, attendees found out, is key to a successful cruise, and that preparedness starts well before you leave the dock. Another student, Monica Holmes from Brooklyn, said, “I want to know what they’re doing when they service my engine.”

 Instructor Larry Berlin has been teaching diesel workshops at Mack Boring since 1974. When I asked Berlin what the difference is between teaching women and teaching men, he replied with a smile, “The men don’t listen.”

 If you are interested in taking a women’s-only diesel engine course next year, contact NWSAto see when another one is planned.


— By Colleen Halverson


 Pictures courtesy of Colleen Halverson



NWSA Board Member, Susan Epstein, receives the C.R.E.W award from US SAILING at the Annual General Meeting of US SAILING in League City, Texas, in October. This award recognizes a staff member of volunteer who has the "can do" attitude. It is through clear expectations, mutual respect, and a commitment to collaboration that US SAILING volunteers and staff achieve peak performance in all efforts. Susan has been involved with US SAILING in a number of volunteer positions for many years. We are pleased that Susan shares some of her "can do" spirit with getting more women involved in sailing.

 NWSA Advisory Board Member, Betsy Alison, recieved the Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Service to Disabled Sailing and Sailors at the Annual Meeting of US SAILING in League City, Texas in October. The Trophy recognizes outstanding service, over a significant period of time to disabled sailing and disabled sailors in the United States. The trophy may be awarded to a volunteer, a professional, or an organization. In 2003, the trophy was awarded for the first time.

Taken from the US SAILING website:

 US SAILING’s Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy -- Betsy Alison
Head coach of the US Disabled Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, Betsy Alison, was awarded the Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy award for her outstanding contribution to sailors with disabilities.

The five-time US SAILING Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, five-time US SAILING Rolex Women’s Keelboat Champion, and two-time Yngling World Champion has redirected her focus over the past several years to disabled sailing and Paralympic competition. She has provided leadership for the US Disabled Sailing Team for the last three Paralympic Games. She trains and develops sailors, manages the budget, handles equipment, and generates funding and support for her team. The U.S. has one of the most successful Paralympic sailing programs in the world. This was evident in the 2008 Paralympic Games when the U.S. collected Gold and Bronze medals.

On several occasions, Alison led clinics for members of the Wounded Warrior Project, a program for injured military veterans. This past June, she coordinated coaches, adaptive boats and equipment at the Newport Naval Base in order to provide sailing opportunities for the veterans. This fall, Alison helped coordinate an adaptive sailing pilot program for inner-city youth at the Piers Park Sailing Program in Boston, Mass.

“Disabled sailing enriches our sport,” said Alison. “I’m proud to know that so many people want to embrace disabled sailing.”