Breaking the Bias at the Women’s Conference >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News


Sharing the sail was not only the theme of the 20th annual conference of the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA); that was the purpose of the event. Held on September 11 at the predominantly African-American Jackson Park Yacht Club in Chicago, it was a perfect day to learn sailing techniques and gain practical nautical knowledge.

“The attendees weren’t the only learners at the conference,” said Debbie Huntsman, past president of the NWSA. “For the NWSA, we left a very comfortable setting, which we had enjoyed for two decades (at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA). In doing so, we learned a lot about the depth of the privilege we enjoyed.

“We also learned from our new friends at JPYC that a black sailor and a white sailor may have different life experiences and challenges to get on a boat, but we are united as women in the sport. We recognize that a sailor is a sailor, and our prejudices must be eliminated.

“The wind and the sea don’t take into account skin color, economic status or gender. The tides, the breeze and the waves treat us all equally. We must learn from it. ”

Workshops ranging from beginner to advanced were shared by all of the women instructors. Half day, lessons on the water included; Welcome aboard, jib and spinnaker fittings and mooring. Land workshops included; training on basic diesel maintenance, boating accident prevention, marlinspike and boating.

“It was great to pick up the format in person,” noted Elise Read, president of the NWSA. “Thank you to the participants and the instructors for joining us, despite the uncertain times of these times. At the end of the day, the women who teach women work.

The panel discussions – which were also featured online and recorded – included strategies for women new to and growing in sailing, green and clean sailing and how to choose the right boat.

“I was particularly inspired to see conference participants sharing their experiences after the workshops,” said conference co-chair Chiaka Patterson. “The women were so excited to attend their selected workshops to learn something new or brush up on a topic. They enjoyed learning while making new friends throughout the day.

The instructors included an AYBC certified diesel presenter, numerous Coast Guard captains and six National Women’s Sailing Association / BoatUS Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award (LWSA) winners.

Doris Colgate, founder of the National Women’s Sailing Association and recipient of the 2003 award, joined the opening session of Sharing Sailing with Margaret Pommert (2020) and 2021 laureate Marie Rogers.

Previous recipient Pat Dieselman (2019) led workshops. 2001 NWSA Laureate Nancy Erley also participated in the conference by offering a first video of her, an ever popular workshop on how to throw a line. The content of the virtual conference will be available for future use by the NWSA and JPYC.

2001 winner Betsy Alison worked prior to the conference to qualify ten US Sailing Basic Keelboat Instructors. New sailing instructors, including women of color, were identified by the NWSA as excellent instructor candidates, then recruited by the NWSA to work on the common US Sailing and NWSA goal of increasing diversity. sailing instructors.

Source NWSA

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