Women heading out to the Sonars for coaching on Sail Trim – Photo courtesy of Susan Ogan

The 14th annual Women’s Sailing Conference

On June 6th, the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA, hosted the 14th annual Women’s Sailing Conference, an all-day event of on-the-water coaching and on-land seminars.Corinthian Yacht Club Rear Commodore Annie Harris welcomed the 90 attendees in the morning.The club was alive with enthusiasm as women enthusiastically purchased raffle tickets and started their bids on the wide array of silent auction items.The weather was cool, with gentle winds, but by noon the winds were blowing out of the north at a good 15 knots with higher gusts.By the end of the day, the seas and wind had calmed down considerably.

The workshop offerings were numerous, and ranged from a basic primer on sailing and safety at sea, to diesel engine and head mechanics, to more in depth topics: on-board electrical wiring, electronics, and offshore heavy weather sailing. On-the water, women received coaching on sail trim, taking the helm, and retrieving someone from the water.

The majority of women participants were from New England, but also included women from California, Kansas and Michigan. Donna Lange, who will embark on her second solo circumnavigation from Bristol, RI, in July attended.Capt. Nancy Erley of Seattle, WA, also a circumnavigator, presented Donna with good luck stones to bring calmness during the unsettling seas she will encounter.

During lunch, Linda Newland, president of the Women’s Sailing Foundation, presented the 2015 Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award to Sally Helme, of Rhode Island, publisher of Cruising World and Sailing World Magazines.The award is co-sponsored by BoatUS and theNational Women’s Sailing Association. In her remarks, Sally expressed support for women’s sailing conferences which build confidence, instill self-reliance, and enrich women’s lives.

Proceeds from the raffles and silent auction benefitted the Women’s Sailing Foundation, (WSF) which funds its AdventureSail® program and scholarships for young girls at-risk.In addition, this year WSF provided a scholarship for an underserved teenage girl to join the all-women-crewed schooner, Adventuress, for a week’s sailing instruction with other teen girls in the San Juan Islands.

The conference was organized and produced by the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA), a program of the 501 © (3), Women’s Sailing Foundation, whose mission is to enhance the lives of women and girls through education and access to the sport of sailing.

The contributing sponsors, Black Rock Sailing School and the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.), led the list of financial supporters, and along with Boston Private Bank & Trust Company and Eastern Bank provided significant support to the event.

Joan Thayer

Be sure to see all the beautiful photos available here