It began storming in the desert last week. Temperatures dropped like a rock, to provide pleasant but muggy conditions, a sign the monsoon is back after a two year absence. The storm brought a full day of thunder and lightning, a rocking display from Mother Nature. She was doing her work of wetting the fire-prone, bone-dry surrounding desert. The cracks of lightning splitting the dark sky were accompanied by a steady rain. The lightning strobes with plentiful rain proved enough to start, then douse ignitions of trees and cactus. The rain caused flash flooding while it reduced fire danger. It’s a complicated cycle.

Creating a national conference after a dry spell, it too is a bit hairy, like dealing with Ma Nature, and not unlike living in a fire prone area with occasional flash flooding or sailng offshore while watching lightning in the distance. Sailors understand the unpredictable nature of … nature.

The National Women’s Sailing Association’s (NWSA’s) offerings in Chicago have been forming on the horizon for over a year. We are nearly there. But as sailors do, we have planned for contengencies. We have charted two ways to enter the conference. In-person or online choices will satisfy women sailors’ curiosity and their desire to learn more about sailing. We believe in keeping sailors in their comfort zone while they learn.

NWSA has been suffering a sort of drought, a rather severe one. Without a significant revenue generating event since Feburary 2019, we have dipped into our groundwater (savings). We’ve danced about gleefully when members renewed or signed up for the first time. The modest fee — which hasn’t increased in more than 20 years — has been our major source of income. So, if you’re a renewing or new member, thank you for your support. To gain your support, we called out the virtual membership engagement rainmaker Zoom, with Maiden Mondays, She Sailor Sea Stories, online events featuring our young sailors and coaches and a few evenings to simply fulfill a deep need for a bit of socializing. NWSA opened new partnerships with Women Who Sail, Tall Ships America, The Sloop Clearwater and US Sailing and we have happily been getting to know a lot of Midwestern women sailors. We’ve rain danced relentlessly.

Finally, Conference registrations have begun to refill our parched tanks. With the Chicago Conference on September 11, we are looking at the end of this lingering dry spell as an opportunity to make good time, make new friends, and discover new destinations. We are offering our members the comfort of online, or the excitement of in-person, while we follow the guidelines and use outdoor spaces and small registraiton numbers to mitigate risk. Regardless how we see you, it will be a joy to celebrate sailing with friends again.

Be well and go sailing,

Debbie Huntsman