The National Women’s Sailing Association is a program of the USA registered 501-c(3) non-profit organization Women’s Sailing Foundation, inc. established in 1990.  We are a membership group of women sailors and sailing enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. We welcome sailors of all levels, skills and interests to our membership.

Women of all backgrounds are welcome and are encouraged to join us.


To enrich the lives of women of all ages through education and access to the sport of sailing. We focus on the following four areas:

  • Develop educational programs and venues for women
  • Act as the informational clearinghouse for women who sail
  • Enhance the life experiences of women through sailing
  • Support individuals and organizations that involve women in sailing


A message from doris colgate

Doris Colgate, President of Offshore Sailing School, founded the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) in 1990. The mission of the association was to provide opportunities for women to learn and enhance their sailing skills, have fun and meet others at the same time. The mission has not changed. Our programs, such as our hands-on workshops, Diesel Engine Workshops, Safety at Sea, various workshops across the country, have provided the opportunity for thousands of women to do just that. NWSA a program of the Women’s Sailing Foundation.


Board of Directors

Debby Grimm, President

Debby Grimm began sailing at Girl Scout camp. She now competes in New Orleans regattas often skippering their family boat, Hot Chocolate a J30. She also sails Cayenne a J22, which she co-owns with three women. Grimm has competed in the Sundance Cup, Rolex and US Women’s Championship match racing events, the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, J30 North Americans, Race to the Coast, Great Lake Race, Lake Pontchartrain Racing Circuit and Knost (both one-design and PHRF). Grimm is a six-time Gulf Yachting Association Women’s PHRF Champion and multiple winner of the Coco Seemann Regatta (one design keelboat women’s regatta). She took honors multiple times for both the Race for the Roses and Women’s Trilogy on the Gulf Coast. Debby Grimm was female sailor of the year at New Orleans Yacht Club in 2001 and Southern Yacht Club’s outstanding woman sailor in 2012. Grimm was a founding member and served as Commodore of the Lake Pontchartrain Women’s Sailing Association. Dr. Grimm is a research scientist at Tulane’s Coordinated Instrumentation Facility. She is married to Casey Grimm, and they have an 18-year-old daughter, Kaylor. Grimm joined the board in 2021 and took on the role as Vice President later in the same year. email Debby



Capt. Debbie Huntsman, Vice President

Captain Debbie Huntsman is a certified instructor for the US Sailing, US Coast Guard Auxiliary, the National Safe Boating Council, States of Louisiana, Utah and Arizona and California.

Huntsman is a past flotilla commander and District 11S public affairs officer for the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. Her work in Division 10, 11SR earned the 1999 National Public Affairs Achievement Award. She served as commodore for the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club in Phoenix, AZ where she first became involved with AdventureSail® and adult sailing programs. Huntsman is a past commodore for the Lake Pontchartrain Women’s Sailing Association where she introduced the AdventureSail® and L.A.S.T. (Learn About Sailing Things)® programs to the Gulf Coast. Debbie joined the Board in 2016. She was elected Vice President in 2017. She served as President from 2018 – 21. A beliver in recycling, Huntsman currently is serving as Vice President.  email Debbie


Elizabeth Naylor at work

Capt. Naomi Emmerson, Secretary

Naomi (aka The Desert Sailor) inherited her love of sailing from her father, and learned on the family’s Mistral 16 and on Lasers at summer camp in Quebec, Canada. Fast-forward 40 years, she is now holds an USCG OUPV 6-pack captain’s license and is a certified instructor for the American Sailing Association and the United States Power Squadron. Since 2015, she has been racing and cruising on Lake Mead near Las Vegas on a variety of monohull keelboats and owned a “free boat”, a 1972 Coronado 25, which she fixed up and used to teach many newbie sailors. She and her husband have sailed in the BVI, Antigua and the Gulf Islands on monohulls. Naomi has also sailed from Norfolk to Bermuda on an Island Packet 40 with The Maryland School of Sailing. She is the founder of boatluv.com and the content creator of The Desert Sailor on YouTube.  Naomi joined the board in November 2021. email Naomi


Elizabeth Naylor at work

Linda Cook, Treasurer

Linda Cook retired in 2016 from a career in finance and accounting consultancy to have more time to enjoy many outdoor activities. In addition to sailing Linda enjoys her time camping, hiking and kayaking. She sails her Catalina 250 Rudder Chaos on Lake Pleasant, near Phoenix, AZ. Sometimes she sails single-handed, sometimes with friends and once in awhile with her dogs. Her rescue dogs, Hutch and Popeye, are reportedly good company but lousy crew. Linda used to trailer her boat to sail other places. Now she keeps her boat conveniently in mast-up storage close to home. Linda joined the board as treasurer in July, 2023.  email Linda


NWSA director Linda Newland

Capt. Linda Newland, Adventure Sail

Newland holds the fastest woman singlehanded record SF-Japan. She has sailed and raced extensively on the West Coast, sailed the Singlehanded Transpac to Hawaii twice and is a veteran of the LA-Honolulu Transpac and the Pacific Cup. In 1997, on her own boat, she skippered an all women’s crew in the LA – Honolulu Transpac taking a second place division finish. With a 100-ton Merchant Marine License, Newland teaches sailing and is a certified American Sailing Association instructor. She is presently is Secretary for Recreational Boaters of Washington which represents recreational boaters interests in Washington state legislative and regulatory actions and is a past Commander and now Assistant Squadron Education Officer of  the Point Wilson Sail and Power Squadron in Port Townsend, Washington. She co-founded the ongoing Northern California Women’s Sailing Seminar in 1992. Newland is a retired school district administrator and maritime attorney. She joined the board in 2005 and has served as Vice President and President. email Linda


Elizabeth Naylor at work

Capt. Marie Rogers

Captain Marie Rogers was the second woman in 118 years, the second black person, and the first black woman to be the commodore of the historic Los Angeles Yacht Club (LAYC). Marie races avidly. She was able to race in the 50th Transpacific race where she didn’t see another black person, let alone another black female, in the fleet. Marie also races close to home on her J 29, Rush Street, and does coastal racing on Marie, a Nelson Marek 55, that she shares with Bill, her husband. Rogers loves doing deliveries, cruising and teaching sailing. Marie is the 2021 BoatUS/National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award recipient. She is the Vice President of US Sailing. Rogers joined the board in 2021.


Member WSF board of directors, Barbara Morris

Barbara Morris, Communications

Originally from Salt Lake City, and now living in Valencia, CA, Barbara began sailing in Southern California waters in the early 90s and co-owned a Clipper Marine 24 with several friends as she was learning to sail. She prefers cruising and day sailing over racing, but has participated as crew on the 2005 Newport to Ensenada race and 2016 Baja Ha Ha. Also beginning in 2016 and for two more years, Morris took the helm on a boat in the annual Women on the Water, Woman at the Helm regatta in the Santa Monica Bay. She joined the Women’s Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay in 2013 and has served as the Membership Director, Communications Director, Webmaster and Newsletter Editor and rose to become the Commodore in 2020. She has been on charters in the BVI, San Juan Islands in Washington, Penobscot Bay in Maine, Tahiti and most recently out of Newport, RI. Barbara enjoys First Mate status on her best friend’s C&C 40, which she has been sailing on since the mid 90s. Morris joined the board of directors in July, 2021.


Elizabeth Naylor at work

Claire Wyngaard, Sponsorships

Claire enjoys both dinghy and keelboat sailing — she would have fun sailing anything that floats. She grew up on a lake, and has now sailed the Atlantic from Delaware to Cape Cod. When she was 16, her father gave her a speedy Force 5, a 14-footer with 91 square feet of sail area she sailed by herself on the Great Sacandaga Lake in New York.

While studying music at SUNY Oswego, she served as college sailing club Commodore, taught sailing and competed on the college race team against other colleges. Post-college, she joined the Force 5 Class Association, sailed North American Championships in the 1990s with trailering to Lake Erie, New Jersey and Maryland, calling the Potomac River home at the Washington Sailing Marina.

She and her husband Dave now sail Justice, their 44’ cutter ketch designed by Bruce Roberts in the Mid-Atlantic and New England with plans to travel down the ICW to Bahamas. She was a bridge member of the Northern Virginia Sail and Power Squadron for 7 years. Wyngaard enjoyed a career at BoatUS (Boat Owners Association of The United States), in the publications and public relations departments, Music, gardening, kayaking and biking compete for her attention. Claire joined the NWSA board in October 2022.  email Claire


Elizabeth Naylor at work

Jodi Weinbecker

Jodi grew up in Wisconsin and spent much of her youth on the water including a bit of sailing. Since, she has sailed, raced and cruised over 20,000 miles with her family. She is described by her J24 crew as, “a fierce competitor with a teacher’s demeanor.” Sailing for recreation turned to teaching sailing as she moved around the country during her husband’s US Coast Guard career. In 2004, she became the Waterfront Director at Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. In 2013, the Weinbecker’s retired from the Coast Guard life. They spent a year traveling on land and by sea, spending eight months in the Bahamas on their Hunter43 MyMojo. A year later, Jodi became the Waterfront Director at the Florida Yacht Club where she built a dynamic multifaceted program.

In 2022, Jodi began working as an independent contractor for US Sailing as an Instructor Trainer and US Powerboating Instructor. She also offers private sailing coaching and consulting for sailing program management. Jodi Weinbecker joined the Board in October 2022


Elizabeth Naylor at work

Erica Trejo

Erica Trejo of Chicago is a USCG licensed captain. Erica has been in the marine industry since 2008. She is the Adult Sailing Program Director at Jackson Park Yacht Club and the owner of Great Lakes Sailing, a sailing school in Chicago. Erica teaches sailing not only as a skill but also as a great way to connect with nature and the elements. Whether she teaches beginners or more advanced sailors, she sees her role is crucial to impart knowledge, ensure safety and to foster a love for the sport. Erica shares her love for the sea and a sense of responsibility toward the environment with a deep connection with the water and nature.

Erica regularly competes in one design fleets, primarily on a J70. Over the 2023 season, Erica’s team traveled and competed in regattas, developing teamwork and race conditioning. Last November, the team’s successful campaign won them first place in Corinthian at the 2023 World Championship in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Erica joined the WSF board October 2023. 

Elizabeth Naylor at work

Kris Self

Kris has been sailing since the early 1980s, when she moved to Florida.  She mostly sails in Gulf waters near St. Pete Beach but has made a couple of trips to Captiva Island, the Dry Tortugas and the Tobago cays in  the Grenadines. Kris bought her first boat, a 1981 Navigator named Capella, about nine years ago. She is now the owner of a 41’ Gulfstar. Over the years, Kris has made it a personal mission to get more women into sailing with a focus on working with women who want to become boat owners or women who sail with their husbands. Kris has taken her ladies-first mentality to the Internet, launching a Facebook group Women Who Sail Tampa Bay for aspiring female sailors in the Tampa Bay region. The site has over 1,300 members. Women Who Sail Tampa Bay hosts various activities throughout the year like How to use Aqua Maps, Outboard Engine Maintenance, and Cooking on a Boat. as well as many social gatherings. Kris Self is the founder and owner of Island Computer Consulting in St. Pete Beach. Board Member since December 2023.


Gail Hine

Gail Hine — Emerita

Gail Hine’s first boat was a Newport 20, which she and her husband sailed for the next 14 years. She successfully raced her second boat, a Nightingale 24, for the next 30 years. In 1998, she served as Commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association. Hine has been a leading force in promoting women’s sailing for over 45 years. She spearheaded the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) Women’s Sailing Committee for two decades. She conceived, created and produced the SCYA-sponsored Women’s Sailing Convention for 27 years (1990-2017) and then continued her legacy with Gail Hine presents the Sailing Convention for Women (2018-2023). She joined the WSF/NWSA board in 2001, retiring in 2021 after 20 years of service.



Joan Thayer — Emerita

Joan Thayer grew up in Marblehead, MA, where she began sailing in an after school program in the fourth grade. Joan enjoys racing in one-design boats and has owned a 210, Shields, Sonar and a Rhodes 19.

Over the years, Joan has been involved with sailing at the local, regional and national level. She is a member of the Corinthian Yacht Club and its race committee, MASS Bay Sailing, US Sailing and America’s Boating Club Beverly-Marblehead Sail & Power Squadron. Joan chaired the Centennial Marblehead Race Week in 1989 and received the Massachusetts Bay Distinguished Service to Sailing Award that year.

Thayer has been active in NWSA since 1995. She co-chaired the inaugural Boston AdventureSail® in 1996 and has been the force behind the Women’s Sailing Conference from 2001 through 2019. Thayer became a Board member in 2000 retiring in 2018. She has served as treasurer, vice president and as president.



Susan Epstein — Emerita

Susan Epstein has sailed and raced on the waters of Massachusetts Bay since she was six years old. At nine, she was racing her own Lawley. She graduated to 110’s and Ensigns, and for the last 17 years has raced 210s. In recent years, she has experienced the joys of cruising. She is the mother of four daughters and one son and grandmother to 11. She was the advisor and coach to the sailing team of Wheaton College. At US Sailing, Susan is past chair of the Council of Sailing Associations and the past chair of the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, a position she held for five years. Susan is also a former member of the Board of Directors of US Sailing. She joined the Board of NWSA in 2001and served from 2014 to 2016 as Vice President.



Betsy Alison is an acclaimed racer who has led and coached disabled sailors.

Bernadette Bernon is the former editor of Cruising World magazine and founding director of the Cruising World Safety at Sea Seminars.

Doris Colgate is president and CEO of Offshore Sailing School and the founder of NWSA and the Women’s Sailing Foundation.

Nancy Erley is a two time circumnavigator and teacher, holding 50 and 100 ton licenses.

Sally Helme was the first female publisher and active in trade associations in the sailing industry. She developed the Take the Helm Program with Doris Colgate. Sally passed away in March 2024.

JJ Fetter is a two time Olympic medalist and a world sailing champion who was the first woman inducted into the Sailing World Hall of Fame.

Linda Lindquist-Bishop is a Strategist, Facilitator, Writer, Entrepreneur and Mentor as well as a world champion Sailor who led an Olympic Racing team. She currently runs the Rising Tide Leadership Institute.

Barbara Marrett author of the sailing adventure book Mahina Tiare; Pacific Passage, is a long-distance sailor, sailing instructor, Contributing Editor to Cruising World Magazine, 100-ton USCG Masters License holder and Port Commissioner in her homeport of Friday Harbor, WA.

Sheila McCurdy is a well-know sailboat racer as well as a writer and educator who serves on numerous boards.

Dawn Riley is executive director of Oakcliff Sailing Center, which trains racing sailors. She was crew on Maiden in the Whitbread Race.