Leadership in Womens Sailing Award

Watch the award ceremony at Jackson Park Yacht Club to honor the 2021 recipient of the BoatUS / NWSA Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award, Capt. Marie Rogers. Although the the in-person audience was small, previous recipients; Doris Colgate, Pat Dieselman and Margaret Pommert, contributors to the conference, joined in congratulating Marie. Two others previous hornoees, Nancy Erley who video taped a presentation and Betsy Alison, who certificed new keelboat instructors, also contributed to the Chicago conference’s theme, “Sharing Sailing.”


Guidelines for Nominations

Objective: To encourage and recognise individuals who have made a lasting contribution to the interest of women’s sailing.

Guidelines & Procedures: Contributions must have long-range, national impact and encompass numerous years of involvement. 

  1. The recipient can be a man or a woman who has made a lasting impact on women and sailing.
  2. The recipient is a US citizen and has multiple accomplishments which include sailing endeavours, over a period of years in the US.
  3. Her/his work can be local, regional, or national, and should have a significant impact beyond a local area.
  4. Her/his work should have advanced the sport of sailing and expanded opportunities for women, helped educate women or otherwise enriched women’s lives through sailing in the US.
  5. This award is to be considered (a sort of) “lifetime achievement award.” Her/his impact on supporting or educating women in the sport of sailing is more than a personal accomplishment in competitive racing.

An NWSA member or organisation’s contact representative in good standing may nominates an individual. The nomination is to be approved by the NWSA Board of Directors.

A completed application form (found below) must accompany the nomination. If you have any questions about the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award, email [email protected]


Nomination Form

Nominations for the 2022 award are open.

Nominations have been closed

Thank you for your input.


BoatUS/NWSA Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award

The Leadership in Women’ s Sailing Award, co-sponsored by NWSA and BoatU.S.®, the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters, began in 1990. The award is given annually to honor an individual who has a record of achievement in inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of women through sailing.

Congratulations to Marie Rogers
2021 honoree

Marie was the second woman in 118 years, the second black person, and the first black woman to serve as commodore at the historic Los Angeles Yacht Club (LAYC). In 2019 she stood alone on the west coast, and most of the nation, as a black woman at the helm of a major club.

Marie races avidly. She was able to race the 50th Transpac on Cazan, along with 72 other monohulls and six multihulls. Marie also races close to home on her J 29, Rush Street, and does coastal racing on Marie, a Nelson Marek 55 she shares with Bill, her husband.

Rogers is adventurous and athletic. She did not settle for being ‘the yacht club wife’, she wanted to be a sailor in her own right. She went to sailing school. She studied weather, navigation and diesels. She became a certified sailing instructor. She obtained her captain’s license. She bought her own Cal 25 on eBay, which became the platform for a community sailing program. She took groups of women on adventures to Catalina Island. She attended boat shows. Rogers served on the yacht club board, eventually becoming Commodore. And more…

Rogers stands out because she learned as an adult skills to be a solid sailor, then she became an instructor. She also stands out because of her gender, and because she is black. But importantly for consideration for the Leadership Award, Marie stood out because she was eager to share sailing. Marie did years work towards that end. Teaching sailing wasn’t a “job’ for Marie, it was a calling. Leading a major yacht club wasn’t a line on her resume, it was done in service to the sport. That’s why Marie was an excellent choice for the 2020 Peggy Slater Award, and was nominated for the BoatUS/NWSA Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award. Marie is a superb sailor and a leadership example. She was selected not just because she is a woman of color who scraped her way to sailing prominence. She earned our respect and recognition for her generosity and dedication to inclusion in the sport of sailing … as well as her history of making anyone welcome who needed encouragement to join our fun.

Award Recipients

1999   Bernadette Bernon 2009   Maureen McKinnon-Tucker
2000   Betsy Alison 2011   Dawn Santamaria
2002   Gail Hine 2012   Elaine Dickinson
2003   Dawn Riley 2015   Sally Helme
2004   Doris Colgate 2016   Kathie Ohmer-Arnold
2005   Cory Sertl 2017   Linda Lindquist-Bishop
2006   Nancy Erley 2018   Sheila McCurdy
2007   Janet Baxter 2019   Pat Dieselman
2008   Patricia Seidenspinner 2020   Margaret Pommert

Visit the Leadership Archives for photos and presentation articles on all our recipients.