Inaugural Northwest Take the Helm® Women’s Sailing Conference Gets Off to a Great Start


On August 2, 2008 75 women from Oregon, Washington, California, Texas, New York, Arkansas and Massachusetts descended on Port Townsend Yacht Club in Washington State for the Inaugural Women’s Sailing Conference on the West Coast. The 51 participants, 15 workshop leaders and 10 other volunteers enjoyed a continental breakfast and were welcomed by Event Chair Linda Newland and Commodore Dave Weeding of Port Townsend Yacht Club. Workshop leaders came from local areas as well as California. Many are US Coast Guard licensed and are certified as professional sailing educators. 

Participants gave high marks to the various workshops which included charting, knot tying, GPS navigation, sail trim at the dock and on the water, helming a boat, learning crew overboard recovery procedures in 10 knot winds on picturesque Port Townsend Bay surrounded by the Olympic Mountains to the West and Cascades to the East.



Nancy Erley, locally and nationally known as a two time circumnavigator, was the keynote speaker in addition to leading several workshops. She showed video clips from her circumnavigations that were crewed solely by women. Interspersing the video with compelling stories of the challenges met and conquered by the crew, Nancy mesmerized the women. In 2006 Nancy received the Leadership in Women’s Sailing award sponsored by NWSA and BoatU.S. She has taught sailing and seamanship skills widely throughout the Northwest.

 The day ended with a wine and cheese reception. Seafaring music was played by “Tuesday Morning” with Betty Sleeth on guitar and Marilyn Bruner on keyboard. Both women were also workshop leaders. Raffle prize winners were announced during the reception. All proceeds fund the NWSA AdventureSail® program for at risk girls ages 9-14.

 The enthusiastic women enjoyed the skill-building classes, but of equal importance was the confidence building they acquired working with other women and the ability to network for future sailing opportunities.



Congratulationsto Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, of Marblehead, MA, the first female to win the gold in the sailing arena at the 2009 Paralympics in China recently. Maureen teamed up with Nick Scandone in the SKUD.

Congratulationsto Vicki Sodaro , of Tiburon, CA, on her win for the Adams Cup, the US SAILING Women’s Sailing Championship. This is Vicki’s 3rd win for the prestigious trophy.



Mystic Whaler Learn to Navigate, Sept 5-7 was wonderful. Twelve women had the full attention of instructor, Sue LaVoie, and the run of the schooner helping Capt. John Eginton and his crew. photos and more details later. We'll keep the registration form up for a while.

August 3, 2008 Grass Valley, CA
Host club: Gold CountryYacht Club
Coordinator: Tish Buti - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Contributing sponsor: Sebago, Inc.

On August 3, the Gold Country Yacht Club (GCYC), in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, hosted the local Friendship Club for a day of sailing on Scotts Flat Lake. Tish Buti, GCYC Secretary, lead a hand-on session on the basic knots used around boats – the bowline, cleat knot, and square knot. As the girls were unfamiliar with boating of any kind, a few minutes was devoted to basic boat safety. It was important to let them know they were not going to sink if the boat tipped! The day was perfect with gentle and consistent winds, allowing “tiller time” for each girl. As the girls got more comfortable on the boats, they engaged in “Water Wars”, always a part of the activities for the day. They were scampering about the decks with water guns aimed and ready for any one daring to get close. The day concluded with a swim in the cove that is reachable only by boat, and a hot dog luncheon at the Clubhouse provided by GCYC. For about the past 10 years, the members of the Gold Country Yacht Club have enjoyed providing this day of distraction for these delightful young ladies.

Founded in 1995, The Friendship Club is a prevention program designed to reach at-risk girls before they engage in unhealthy behaviors. They teach the girls life skills, personal responsibility and the value of hard work through a year-around program of educational activities, emotional support and community involvement. The mission of The Friendship Club is to integrate disadvantaged adolescent girls into the community, teach them important life skills and empower them to complete their education and lead responsible lives. For more information about The Friendship Club, please visit their website


July 8, 2008 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.



ALL SMILES FOR THE 7th Women's Sailing Conference at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA, on June 7th. 

NWSA appreciates the financial support of various companies and organizations for the conference. 


Little Flower Childrens Services, Big Sisters, 
Girl's Inc.

June 14, 2008 Charlestown, MA

16 Big and Little Sisters pairs were treated to a morning of sailing at Courageous Sailing Center in Charlestown, MA The weather sunny with a gentle south west breeze was just right for the novice sailors. The girls picked up their AdventureSail® t-shirts and headed to the Courageous counter to be outfitted with life jackets. The water traffic in Boston Harbor gave the girls an appreciation for keeping an eye to weather at all times while trying to steer the Rhodes 19.

When the girls returned to shore, the grill had been fired up and it wasn’t long before the lunch bell rang. Following lunch, the girls learned several knots and their practical application, like tying your shoes and jump rope.

Sponsor: Boston Private Bank & Trust Company
Food & Beverage Sponsor: Stop & Shop
Contributor: Sebago, Inc.


January 2008. Darthea Hoss Collins, of Hingham, Massachusetts, joined the board of NWSA and also was elected Secretary, filling the position left by the death of Sue Corl last February. We are delighted to have Dar's enthusiasm for sailing and her extensive administrative experience.