The 15th Annual Women's Sailing Conference, organized by the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA), will take place June 4 at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead. Through hands-on workshops, seminars and on-the-water experiences, participants will learn or hone sailing skills, and network with other women sailors from all areas of the country. Contributing sponsors include Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) and New England-based Black Rock Sailing School.
“Women of all sailing abilities are encouraged to attend,” said NWSA President Linda Newland. “There’s always something of interest for everyone. By sharing experiences, women leave with skills and knowledge that contribute to better days on the water.”
The day begins with a continental breakfast and winds down with a cocktail hour and dinner with featured speaker Donna Lange, currently on her second solo circumnavigation. The day offers many opportunities for women to pick up a Wednesday night race berth or meet a new pal for an afternoon sail.
A range of workshops includes the popular hands-on Diesel Damsels, Suddenly Singlehanded and Preparing for Heavy Weather at Sea. Others run the gamut from Rules of the Road to Knots to Know. New workshops include Demystifying NMEA Networks, Fresh Water Systems, Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Offshore, the “Miss” Adventures of S/V Etoile', 'Sail Care, Personalizing your Boat, and Culinary Food and Provisioning. Also included is a workshop on running races and basic race strategies. The Crew Overboard workshop starts with a retrieval demonstration at the float and then participants take out boats and practice the drill on the water.
Workshop leaders are experienced in their field. Some own sailing schools for women, such as Capt. Nancy Erley of Seattle and Capt. Sharon Renk-Greenlaw of Casco Bay, Maine. Beth Burlingame, American Boat and Yacht Council's master marine tech, leads workshops on marine electronics and marine electrical wiring basics. Capt. Bonnie Schaeffer will present a workshop on the fresh water system.
On the water, women can improve their sail trim skills or take the helm for the first time in a Colgate 26 or a Sonar. Black Rock Sailing School is providing two Colgate 26s this year. Two Sonars are provided by the Boston and Corinthian Yacht Clubs. “We are very grateful for their support. On-the-water courses are very popular and fill up quickly. We appreciate the second Colgate 26,” said Conference Committee Chair Joan Thayer.
Throughout the day are raffle drawings and a silent auction to benefit the Women’s Sailing Foundation, which funds the AdventureSail program for underserved girls ages 9 to 14 and provides scholarships for AdventureSail participants in community learn-to-sail programs.
“Last summer, the Foundation established the Sue Corl Youth Sailing Scholarship for the older, post AdventureSail teenage girls,” said Newland. “The first recipient spent a week in an all girls program aboard the Adventuress, a tall ship, in the San Juan Islands. This special scholarship was established in memory of our board member Sue Corl, who was constantly seeking new and unique sailing opportunities for girls.”
Conference registration includes a continental breakfast, buffet lunch, dinner, workshops and a raffle ticket. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and will be available in the spring at womensailing.org. For more or for additional information, contact Chair Joan Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.