Congratulations to Captain Nitzan Levy, the May 2024 NWSA Member of the Month!

“You are strong, smart and have your own senses at your side. Try to listen to the wind and to your heart and keep out all the other discouraging voices.” – Levy

I feel I had very supportive parents, who always encouraged my sailing passion, and for that I am forever grateful.  They encouraged and supported me in getting certified and starting my sailing business. I was also blessed to be welcomed into sailing by a group of men who were very nurturing, patient, and appreciative of having women on their crew. Our collective experience as women on that crew was that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t do! We are strong enough; smart enough and all in all – equal to the men. Because of that I never had the need to affiliate with a woman-only crowd, as I felt naturally equal.

However, later in life, I met many women who experienced things quite differently. Women are still a minority in our world, especially professionals such as captains and sailing instructors. When you go to visit another yacht club, the first impression is most middle-aged white men. This reality makes it harder for women to join the sport. I have met many women who went on a sailing course instructed by a man, who kept yelling at them and humiliating their performance, to the extent they decided to drop the whole idea of sailing. While I cannot change men’s attitudes towards women, I can help women to be more confident in their sailing abilities. My instruction style (for both women and men) is all about positive reinforcement, repetition of the theory and skill practice. A sense of humor is helpful too! In my experience, women learn faster than men when we are being instructed thoughtfully. Women tend to be better at steering and navigating, and our attention to detail allows us to process a lot more information faster, which helps us make quick and effective decisions.

“Sailing helped, and still is helping me understand life, and relationships, giving a sense of freedom while providing an ultimate immersion in nature.”  -Levy

I started sailing in college, because of a guy. He was handsome and friendly and invited me and other new friends who we met on the first day of school, to sail with him on his family’s sailboat.

We met at the Marina on a Friday afternoon, and we went out sailing on his 32’ sailboat – Bettina. It was a very fun experience, where I got to meet interesting people, shared funny stories and created new ones. It was so much fun that I decided to join again the following week and every Friday afternoon for the next 8 years. A year after starting our traditional Friday night sails, a few of us went for a cruise in Greece and Turkey. We spent two weeks living aboard Bettina and doing some good Greek Island hopping which made us long for much more.

That following year we started racing Bettina on the weekends, and over time we became good at it. At the time we were the only co-ed racing team. The rest of the teams were either all-men, all-women crew. I recall thinking back then that it’s a shame since our crew certainly benefited from the gender synergy. Years later I became a skipper in my own right and joined a local sailing club in Israel, before moving to NYC in 2009.

I am proud to call Liberty Yacht Club in Jersey City, NJ my home port. In my years of sailing and boating, I am a USCG Licensed Master of vessels up to 50 Tons with Auxiliary Sail and Assistance Towing Endorsements. I am a NauticEd Level V Captain Rank Chief Instructor, an  American National Standards Assessor and SLC instructor. I am an American Sailing Association Instructor with certifications in 201, 203, 204 and 205 (Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, Coastal Navigation).

Another congratulations to Captain Nitzan for being nominated as NWSA’s Member of the Month!