Take The Helm Issue: September 2023

Take The Helm Issue: September 2023



2023 AdventureSail® highlights

AdventureSail® is a nationwide program of the Women’s Sailing Foundation, a 501(c)(3) educational organization. This summer Women’s Sailing Association of Southern California, Dana Point (pictured above), Courageous Sailing Center near Boston, Bristol Yacht Club in Rhode Island, Lake Pontchartrain Women’s Sailing Association at the Community Sailing Center New Orleans, Mattituck Yacht Club in New York, Channel Islands Yacht Club in Oxnard, CA, Kingston Sailing Club in Massachusetts, and Milwaukee Bay Women’s Sailing Organization at Racine Yacht Club introduced underserved girls to the sport of sailing. More venues are committed for ‘23.

Courageous Sailing Center celebrated its 25th AdventureSail!

In August, girls from the Big Sisters community-based mentoring program enjoyed sailing at Courageous Sailing Center near Boston, marking the 25th year of this event. The AdventureSail program has fostered a warm, long-term relationship with the Big Sisters organization.

The staff and volunteer skipper, Colleen Charles, bailed water out of the Rhodes 19s, while volunteers outfitted the Big and Little Sisters with life jackets. Education Director of the Sailing Center, Jen Bodde, gave a lesson on how sailboats move through water using wind. Girls were paired with skippers and teams headed to the boats. “Taking the tiller of a sailboat is a uniquely empowering experience. At Courageous, we believe that everyone should have a chance to try it! We’ll ensure that every girl who wants to continue sailing with us has that opportunity,” said Jen.

The skippers, girls, and their Big Sisters raised the sails and set off for an adventure. Thanks to an 11-13 knot West breeze, the boats sailed as far as Logan Airport. Co-chair Joan Thayer was thrilled, saying, “It was a gorgeous, sunny summer day.” Back at Pier 4, co-chair Pat Dieselman and her sister, Dorothea Rennicks-Cormier (pictured below), fired up the grill. They prepared burgers, chips, drinks, and cookies for the returning adventurers. “It’s hard to believe I have been involved, working with Joan, in the AdventureSail Program for 25 years,” said Pat. “It is always so rewarding to watch the girls’ excitement after spending time—for most, the first time—out sailing in Boston Harbor.”

After lunch, the girls participated in a hands-on knot-tying activity with their skippers. One Little Sister, using newly acquired knot skills, tied two lines together to make a longer one. She proceeded to jump rope for the first time. Clearly, it was a good day for her. Ellie Doyle led the group in making Turk’s head bracelets, which turned out to be a little more demanding than expected. Some of the pairs switched to Plan B, led by Tara Cassidy-Driscoll, where they made various types of bracelets. At the end of the day, the girls received AdventureSail bags filled with school supplies and snacks, as well as AdventureSail T-shirts and hats.

Sponsors included Marblehead Bank, Cassidy Associates Insurance Agency and Pat Dieselman. Other volunteer skippers were Irene Choi and Rony Sebok. Courageous Sailing Center provided its facilities, boats and staff.


We had a blast!

AdventureSail participants had an exciting time sailing on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. Eight girls sailed, and for many, it was their first time experiencing the lakefront. The girls got a close-up view of a variety of boats at the docks, canals, and marina waterways. They learned about safety and gearing up to sail before heading out. The girls progressed from feeling “nervous” at first to trusting the process and wanting to experience sailing again. Some participants were from the New Orleans Family Justice Center. The organization’s leadership team watched from the landing, cheering the girls along from the shore.

a girl and a woman on a small boat on Lake Pontchartrain during 2023 AdvenureSail

“Wow, the water goes forever!”

The morning included a healthy continental breakfast with plenty of water and snacks. Upon returning from their sailing adventure, AdventureSail bags and T-shirts were given to the girls, followed by a pizza party! Huge thanks to our partners at Community Sailing New Orleans, our talented instructors, and amazing volunteers. Partnering organizations agreed to do it again when the weather is cooler since it was a hot day. They will explore “cool” sailing opportunities.

More about AdventureSail

Greetings from NOLA! It’s been a very busy month at NWSA as you will read about in this newsletter. Several places held AdventureSail events introducing girls to sailing. We have an upcoming She Sailor Sea Story on September 14 with stellar speakers, and the WOWaZR in November with stellar coaches.

Your board held its annual meeting on August 26, and I am looking for volunteer members to help serve on some of our committees. They meet via Zoom so location is not an issue. Let me know if I can help you find a place to serve.

My boat, Hot Chocolate, competed with all-women in the Fast Women Regatta in Josephine, AL and finished first in the overall spinnaker fleet. We also raced in the 28th Pam Sintes Memorial Regatta in New Orleans. This event is held in memory of a sailor who was the victim of domestic violence. As a goal, the local ladies were determined to get all-women skippers on all the boats. We had 28 PHRF boats and 28 ladies at the helm!

I have seen many NORs being posted for women races, please share them with us, and we are happy to help promote. “Let’s go Sailing!”



Exciting She Sailor Sea Story episode

Join us for September 14th for the She Sailor Sea Story episode featuring ocean racers Shelia McCurdy, Yosh Han and Anne Kolker.  Invite your friends. Stay tuned after for the NWSA Happy-Half-Hour to socialize. It is free fun.

Click to RSVP


WOWaZ Regatta!

a video from the 2019 (last WOWazR!

Are you ready for an exciting and unique sailing event exclusively for women? Tumbleweed Sailing’s Women on Water Arizona Regatta! in collaboration with NWSA is designed for you. This three-day residential event, taking place from November 3–5 2023, offers experienced instructors and champion racers to encourage and coach you on and off the boat. You’ll improve your sailing and racing skills while having an absolute blast!

The stunning Sonoran Desert racing venue at Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix, AZ, is a beautiful location for this fun-filled event. You’re guaranteed to have a great time while gaining new skills and taking in the views.

WOWaZr! learning experience includes all classroom workshops and racing on boats with a team and an onboard coach. You’ll also receive — Lake Pleasant Park entrance, two nights of shared lodging at the Desert Outdoor Center, six meals, a WOWaZr! event shirt and awards ceremony with prizes.

The Desert Outdoor Center offers stunning views of Lake Pleasant. Its modern kitchen and bunkhouse includes an amphitheater for stargazing in the clear desert sky.

Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to improve your sailing skills and make lasting memories with like-minded women sailors.

Join us at the WOWaZ Regatta!

WOWAZR Women Sailing Conference & Race 2019

Take a look at a participant’s 2019 video for a sneak peek of what’s in store at the 2023 WOWaZR!


Thank you to our 2023 conference sponsors and supporters


BoatUS, Dig Down Media, Alexander-Ryan Marine Safety

US Sailing  •  J/Boats  • Narragansett Sailing School

Sailing Convention for Women  •  Barton Marine US  •  Vida Rose Coaching Services, American Sailing Association, Tumbleweed Sailing, Spinsheet, Sailing and Boating LLC

North U, Sailrite, NauticEd, Offshore Sailing School, Mustang Survival, Forespar, Somand


Our work is supported by you!

Please consider a donation to help us with the expense of creating programs for 2023-24. The Women’s Sailing Foundation is a 501 3-c charitable organization. Direct your donation to the Women’s Sailing Foundation, AdventureSail or the Sue Corl Youth Sailing Scholarship fund. Thank you!


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Take The Helm: Issue June – July 2023

Take The Helm: Issue June – July 2023

Take the Helm® the Newsletter of the National Women's Sailing Association July 2023 issue. cover photo: Avoid Mayhem workshop aboard Selkie on June 3, during the 2023 National Women's Sailing Association Conference

Welcome to summer sailing!

The sailors attending the National Women’s Sailing Conference at Sail Newport, in Newport, Rhode Island expanded their community, reunited with old friends and strengthened existing ties, and had fun. On Saturday, June 3 Sail Newport was abuzz with excitement. The day was packed with learning about sailing even though the wind was overly generous with both its speed and chill. Not a problem! Organizers, instructors — and of course the women participants — took it all in stride to make the most of a cozy day spent ashore. In spite of the stiff breeze, groups of hardy women ventured to rocking docks to climb aboard boats to learn. Some even braved the chill of gushing water and wet foulies during an outdoor damage control (stop the flooding) session. Burrr but fun!

We also raised funds for AdventureSail® and for our scholarship funds at the Sunday Brunch and raffle. Thank you!

We are also grateful for the awesome instructors — Captain Charlie Arms, Thelma Brooks, Beth Burlingame, Pat Dieselman, Robin Earley, Naomi Emmerson, Mary Goff, Captain Lisa Goodwin, Debby Grimm, Captain Carol Hesson, Captain Debbie Huntsman, Anne Kolker, Captain Sue La Voie, Captain Sheila McCurdy, Captain Linda Newland, Mickey Nielson, Sarah Pederson and Captain Erica M. Trejo. And John Navarro from Barton Marine and Lilly Colby from Mustang Survival.

And thank you to our conference sponsors. They are listed below. Please support these companies and organizations that made the conference possible.

Let’s meet again at the NWSA conference June 8, 2024 in New Orleans. Mark your calendars!

Women's Sailing Foundation President, Debby Grimm (at podium) announced Anne Kolker as the 2023 NWSA / BoatUS Leadership in Women's Sailing Award recipient at Sail Newport on June 3, 2023.

Womens Sailing Foundation President, Debby Grimm (left), announced Anne Kolker (right) as the 2023 NWSA/BoatUS Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award recipient at Sail Newport on June 3, 2023.

Congratulations Anne Kolker!

“The best thing about sailing is every time you go sailing you learn something. Confident competence is my constant goal,” said Dr. Anne Kolker during her acceptance speech for the 2023 Leadership in Women’s Sailling Award at the National Women’s Sailing Conference.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) and the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) honored Dr. Kolker with the Leadership Award. They annually recognize an individual with a record of achievement in inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of women through sailing.

Read more about Anne’s contribution to women’s sailing here.

Erica Trejo, Chicago IL (left), and Naomi Emmerson, Lake Mead NV (right), show off sailing gear made just for women. Mustang Survival fashion show provided entertainment during the Sunday Brunch fundraiser for AdventureSail and Learn to Sail and Sue Corl Scholarships

Erica Trejo, Chicago IL (left), and Naomi Emmerson, Lake Mead NV (right), show off sailing gear made just for women.  Mustang Survival fashion show provided entertainment during the Sunday Brunch fundraiser for AdventureSail and Learn to Sail and Sue Corl Scholarships

View from the Helm by Debby Grimm, president of Women's Sailing Foundation

Summer Solstice has come and gone.

I hope everyone is finding some time to be on the water and enjoy the longer days. We held our 2023 Conference at Sail Newport on June 3rd and it was a success despite the uncooperative weather. Seminars on weather, first-aid, racing rules, sail trim, docking, safety, etc. were able to continue.

Dr. Anne Kolker was awarded the prestigious Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award co-sponsored by the National Women’s Sailing Association and Boat Owners Association of the US (BoatUS). It is worth watching her presentation video.

On Sunday we had a fundraiser brunch with a teacup raffle and mini-fashion show including a demonstration of inflatable lifejackets.

Mark your calendars for the weekend of June 8, 2024 for NWSA’s  conference in New Orleans!

Watch for an AdventureSail program near you and see if you can volunteer. If you want to start one, reach out and we can help.

Personally, I participated in the Gulf Coast Yachting Association Women’s Handicap Championship on our J30 hosted by New Orleans Yacht Club. We had three NWSA board members or former members competing and one serving on protest committee. After three races over two days, we had a three-way-tie for first place and finished second on the tie-breaker rules. It was a wonderful weekend of camaraderie and competition.

Let’s go Sailing!


NWSA director is Good Trouble skipper

We wish WSF / NWSA director Marie Rogers and her crew, a safe and speedy crossing for the TransPac. On June 29, Rogers will hear the TransPac starting gun for the 2,200-mile romp to Hawaii. She will skipper Good Trouble, an Alan Andrews-designed 56-foot sailboat.

Skipper Marie Rogers, who is black, is believed to be the only female skipper in the 60-boat fleet. It’s a distinction giving her pride for the role modeling opportunity. Yet she laments of the lack of diversity in the West Coast’s premiere biennial yacht race.

NWSA board member, Marie Rogers, at the helm of an offshore racing sailboat..

WOWaZr! is back November 3-5!

Saguaro studded shoreline overlooking Lake Pleasant, AZ, south of Honeymoon Cove and the Desert Outdoor Center.

Imagine silhouettes of towering saguaros, braying wild burros, sparkling fresh water and a clear sunny blue sky — we can almost promise all that in November while sailing in Arizona. WOWaZr! will cap off each day of sailing with other women with s’mores overlooking the lake. NWSA and Tumbleweed Sailing are looking forward to November 3-5, 2023 when they will present the return of WOWaZr! The weekend step-aboard racing clinic designed and taught by women is sure to be fun. Participants of all skill levels can learn to use rules wisely, find puffs, trim the boat as well as the sails and make their boat faster than the one they cover. Gentle on-board coaching will answer questions, clarify and improve strategies, help hone boat speed and build confidence for close quarters sailing. Plan on lots of starts, lots of fun and modern bunkhouse accommodations lakeside with lots of the aforementioned s’mores!

Check out WOWaZr! and follow us on Facebook for details and registration.


Host your US Sailing Safety at Sea in partnership with NWSA

International Safety at Sea may be required of crews for long-distance and international offshore races to comply with World Sailing guidelines for Personal Safety. It is also invaluable for sailors aspiring to leave sight of shore. US Sailing approved NWSA to provide all levels of US Sailing Safety at Sea courses, including International with hands-on training. Learn more about the US Sailing program

Contact us about a Safety at Sea

Watch Stephanie, she is just getting started

Stephanie Roney (front), Los Angeles high schooler born in Vietnam, has won several sailing scholarships during the past few years. WSF awarded Stephanie the Sue Corl Scholarship in 2022. Stephanie graduated from Optis to FJs three days into the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club’s Youth Sailing Program where she used the scholarship. She worked so well with younger sailors, she was offered and accepted a job with the program.

The end of summer we wrote, “Watch Stephanie, she is just getting started with her sailing adventures!” Stephanie just keeps exceeding our expectations!“

Recently Stephanie earned the international Oakcliff America True Scholarship. She will train at Oakcliff Sailing Center this August in Oyster Bay, New York. Oakcliff is one of the most prestigious sailing schools in the world. The program prepares young sailors for America’s Cup and Olympics sailing, and helps prepares trainees to become professional sailors.

Oakcliff is providing training, food and lodging. Stephanie is in need of airline tickets, ground transportation and specialized sailing equipment. Her total expenses are expected to be $1,650.  Stephanie has established a GoFundMe account to help fund her Oakcliff program.


Aloha Barbara

Many thanks and best wishes to Barbara Robertson who served as treasurer for the WSF board of directors. Robertson joined WSF/NWSA in 2017 as treasurer. She filled that vital role since then. Robertson also helped organize and taught at several annual conferences, including acting as co-chair for the most recent conference at Sail Newport.

Barbara Roberson wearing a red inflatable lifejackt

Robertson started sailing at Community Sailing in Boston. When she moved to Mamaroneck, NY she applied for dock space, she acquired a Catalina 22, Whirlaway when she got docakage. She has raced on Long Island Sound and cruised with friends, mostly in the Northeast. Barbara is a member of the Bluewater Sailing Club. She and her partner have organized and participated in annual Maine cruises and the women’s cruise with Bluewater.

Robertson plans to continue summering in Maine, aboard a Freedom 36/38, Whimbrel. Join us in wishing Barbara all the best as she endeavours to enjoy more time relaxing, reading and sailing.


Apply to Host


Complete the online form regarding your intent to host an AdventureSail Day during 2023. We will help you partner with a local community organization to take underserved girls ages 9-14 sailing! Host dates can be for any day that works best for your area.

Host an AdventureSail®

Thanks again to our sponsors and supporters

Captain level 2-23 conference supporters: BoatUS, Dig Down Media and Alexander Ryan / Lalizas


US Sailing, J/Boats, Narragansett Sailing School, Barton Marine US, Vida Rose Coaching Services, Spinsheet, American Sailing Association, Tumbleweed Sailing, Sailing & Boating LLC, Sailing Convention for Women, Forespar, Matthew Cohen Photography, The Sailing Channel with Lin Pardey

North U, Sailrite, NauticEd, Offshore Sailing School, Mustang Survival, Forespar, Somand, Blue Water Sailing

Take The Helm April 2023

Take The Helm April 2023

2023 NWSA Conference News

Excitement has been building for the 2023 National Women’s Sailing Association Conference on June 3, at Sail Newport in Rhode Island. The women instructors are top notch. So are their presentations. Most workshops have limited enrollment. To get best selection, don’t delay. Determine your track, (beginner, immediate or advanced). Sign up. Make your selection for the sailing workshops you want most. National Women’s Sailing Conference website is NWSA.quvent.com.

Featured Conference Presenter

Captain Lisa Goodwin is a third generation sailor who lives on Cape Cod, MA. She holds a USCG 100 ton Master / 200 ton Ocean Mate license. Since 2009, she has logged over 65,000 nm, that include ocean crossings, dozens of deliveries from New England to the Caribbean, and a 50S – 50S rounding of Cape Horn on a square rigger.

Thanks to Captain Goodwin and the other fabulous volunteer instructors who will share their knowledge and enthusiasm for sailing, and their boats with you.

Read more about Captain Lisa Goodwin.

Beyond Rhode Island — Virtually

If you are unable to attend the conference in person, join the learning virtually. Learn about DIY sewing projects for your sailboat. Be inspired to sail green by Rachael Z. Miller and an impressive group of high school girls. Meet the 2023 Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award honoree. And learn about the greatest innovation in navigation technology since radar—AIS.

Supertankers, cargo and cruise ships have long used AIS, (Automatic Identification System) to avoid collisions. Many recreational sailors now have AIS access aboard. When AIS is combined with AMVER, (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue), search and rescue authorities have benefit of assistance from thousands of ships. Commercial vessels from hundreds of nations voluntarily assist persons in distress at sea.

Capt. Debbie Huntsman will show how this important electronic tool, and the safety network it creates, can also serve a recreational sailor well.

A Leader in Women’s Sailing

Our speaker is the recipient of the 2023 Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award (LIWSA). The Award, co-sponsored by NWSA and BoatUS®, is announced annually at the conference to honor an individual who has a record of achievement in inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of women through sailing. The recipient is a notable national leader who has an impressive sailing pedigree and a long record of advocating for women’s sailing. Find out more about the sailing luminaries NWSA has chosen as LIWSA honorees since 1990 HERE.

Brunch to Benefit Girl’s Sailing

The Conference Sunday Brunch Benefit on June 4 is open to everyone. Come with friends and family to support the Women’s Sailing Foundation’s scholarships for girls and women sailors. A teacup raffle will give you targeted chances to win from a wide array of raffle items, which have been donated to raise funds. Your attendance and purchase of raffle tickets will support the continuation of the AdventureSail® and youth scholarships programs for underserved girls.

NWSA swag will be available for purchase too. The brunch, which does not require conference attendance, is at the Elks Lodge, 141 Pelham Street in Newport. Reserve your space by May 26.  Click here to purchase tickets.

Tickets to the Conference

President’s View from the Helm

Hello! Spring has sprung! Our members in the northern latitudes are thawing out and those farther south are hopefully enjoying the spring breezes on the water.

New Orleans, LA where I live and sail, has had some beautiful sunsets, like the one below. Jodi Weinbecker, NWSA board member, took the picture aboard my boat on a recent Wednesday night race. Jodi was visiting Community Sailing New Orleans.

I hope to see many of you at our National Women’s Sailing Conference at Sail Newport (Rhode Island) on June 3. It will offer a wonderful way to hone your sailing skills and knowledge and network with others. On Sunday, we are having a fundraising brunch to help fund our scholarship and AdventureSail® programs.

Our conference committee is diligently working to pull it all together. If you cannot make it to Newport, I’d encourage you to join with a virtual pass. The pass will give you access to several seminars to be viewed anytime from June 3 to the end of June. I’d also encourage you to consider a membership and or a donation via our webpage.

Debby Grimm

WSF / NWSA president

Photo courtesy of Jodi Weinbecker.


Women’s Sailing Event News

On April 1, Gail Hine’s Sailing Convention for Women in Newport Beach, CA, served a record number of first time attendees. The event was charged with enthusiasm and excitement for the sport. The weather was awesome. And it was another great success for SoCal women’s sailing. Women’s Sailing Foundation board members volunteered with prep and presentations.

Left to right, standing: Barbara Morris, Debbie Huntsman and Marie Rogers. Left to righ seated: Naomi Emmerson with Gail Hine.

Narragansett Sailing School’s Women’s Conference on Friday, April 14 was a huge success. Attendees rotated through four different 90 minute workshops. Lunch gave sailors a chance to socialize and connect. Join the next Narragansett Sailing School Women’s Conference next April! Enjoy their wonderful community.

Woman-owned Narragansett Sailing School offers women’s learning oppertunities year round.

In checking in with the Midwest Women’s Sailing Conference on May 13 — it has sold out! That’s awesome. The event, as well as the volunteers from the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center and Milwaukee Bay Women’s Sailing Organization, welcome women of all sailing abilities and skill levels. Congratulations for their continued work in service to women sailors by making this long-standing event a successful reality every year.

Windward Bound Camp, a part of the Women’s Sailing Association of the Houston Yacht Club, is celebrating decades of women teaching women how to sail. The Camp is a 4-day camp that seeks to introduce women to sailing or help women sharpen their skills. The event will begin on May 31st this year.

Tumbleweed Sailing’s Women on Water — Arizona Regatta on November 3-5, 2023 will be presented in cooperation with NWSA. WOWAZ Regatta is a three-day women’s sailing event where experienced women instructors coach and encourage participants to sharpen their sailing and racing skills — while having a good time. Participants will enjoy this unique Sonoran Desert racing venue during the great fall/winter season. November is lovely. The Desert Outdoor Center, which is available lodging for participants, offers stunning views of Lake Pleasant’s Honeymoon and Jackass Coves. The modern bunkhouse includes an amphitheater for star gazing and a fire pit. Bring on the s’mores!

View of Honeymoon Cove from the Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Friday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, September 10, Island Yacht Club will present the 31st Women’s Sailing Seminar. Created in 1992, it remains true to the mantra; “Taught by women, for women.” The instructors have many years of experience and love to give their time and passion to this amazing program. Sailing in the San Francisco Bay is no small feat. Join the sisterhood on the Alameda Estuary, in Northern California as they show you how it’s done! A limited number of scholarships are available.

Check our website for these and other women’s sailing events or opportunities.


Apply to Host

AUGUST 12, 2023

Complete the online questionnaire regarding your intent to host on AdventureSail Day during 2023. We will help you partner with a local community organization to take underserved girls ages 9 to 14 sailing!

Host an AdventureSail®

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters


Dig Down Media
Alexander-Ryan Marine Safety

US Sailing


Narragansett Sailing School

Lin Pardey Storytelling for Sailors


Sailing Convention for Women

Barton Marine US

Vida Rose Coaching Services
American Sailing Association

Tumbleweed Sailing

Sailing and Boating LLC

North U



Offshore Sailing School

Mustang Survival




Our work is supported by you!

Please consider a donation to help us with the expense of creating programs for 2023. The Women’s Sailing Foundation is a 501 (3)(c) charitable organization. Direct your donation to the Women’s Sailing Foundation, AdventureSail® or the Sue Corl Youth Sailing Scholarship fund. Thank you!

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