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