SAN DIEGO, Calif. (February 12, 2014) – Last Thursday night at the Sailing Leadership Forum Awards Dinner, sponsored by Old Pulteney and hosted by the San Diego Sports Hall of Fame, US Sailing, along with Leadership Forum attendees recognized the outstanding individual and organizational achievements in training, community and one-design sailing, including the presentation of the Old Pulteney Maritime Heroes Award.
Old Pulteney Maritime Heroes Award – Rorke Miller (Traverse City, Mich.)
This award recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the sailing community. Miller was nominated by a member of his sailing community for his involvement in the SAIL Champion program. One of three deserving finalists, he won the top honor after receiving the most online votes.
SAIL Champion aims to help at-risk youth through the therapeutic activity of sailing. As director of the program and co-founder of RED8 Boatworks, Miller creates a positive environment where young adults can seek guidance and training for a better future. He has helped young adults achieve higher education scholarships and paved the road to making better life choices.
Captain Joe Prosser Award for Excellence in Sailing Instruction – Annapolis Yacht Club (Md.)
This year’s award winner fields one of the most complete and experiential junior sailing and racing programs in the country and conducts learn-to-sail, learn-to-race and advanced skills development programs for adults. Leveraging US Sailing training materials and methods, the Junior Program routinely trains over 375 sailors in the Club’s Learn-To-Sail, Adventure Sailing and Racing Programs.
The junior program introduces youth, ages five and older, to sailing using the Optimist and has created six separate levels for Optimist training that addresses all ages and skill levels from Sea Squirts to the highest level of Opti competition. Sailors continue into the Intermediate Club 420 program and train with spinnakers and trapeze. They compete locally as members of the Club 420 Chesapeake Race Team or regionally and nationally as members of the Club 420 Travel Team. During the summer of 2013, the club added a Laser program in order to afford additional training and racing options.
The club has had incredible success on the youth racing circuit last year and several sailors competing under the AYC burgee have been awarded Sportsmanship Awards.
The Club’s leadership has also worked hard to ensure they have the balance right between learn-to-sail programs, recreational activities and racing programs. The club developed and implemented an Adventure Sailing Program that will employ US Sailing’s Basic Keelboat curriculum to teach teens to sail keelboats. In parallel, the Club is working with the Annapolis School of Seamanship to design and develop a program to teach teens the requisite big boat skills.
The club also sponsors several adult learn-to-sail and learn-to-race programs with specific emphasis on women’s sailing. In the past year, new programs include a US Powerboating Certification Course, a Women’s Learn to Sail program, and a Women’s Group skills class.
The club also sponsors several activities that seek to increase the visibility of sailing in the local area, including the Junior Safety at Sea Seminar.
In order to ensure that safety remains front and center, an Instructor Training Period is held at the start of each sailing season, and all coaches/instructors are taught how to actively manage risk when working with the club’s youngest sailors and how to help older sailors understand appropriate risk management strategies to ensure the training and/or competitive environment is safe.
The club has worked to standardize on-the-water instruction. US Sailing training materials and procedures are used exclusively, and all coaches and instructors are required to be US Sailing certified.
Virginia Long Sail Training Service & Support Award – Lynn Lynch (Chicago, Ill.)
This year’s recipient of the Ginny has spent many years contributing to the art and science of sailing instruction as well as unparalleled support of her local program.
Lynn Lynch has done an excellent job as the On-the-Water Director for Chicago Yacht Club in leadership of the junior sailing program’s activities and training, management of personnel, and operations of the race committee’s responsibilities for both one-design and offshore events.
She has conducted and been the trainer in several local powerboat courses with outstanding success and appreciation. She has also been a great contributor at the National Faculty meetings building curriculum, protocols and standards for Keelboat, Small Boat and Powerboat.
She recently has become a Keelboat Program Instructor Trainer.
Community Sailing Awards
Excellence in Instruction – Matt Schultz (Van Nuys, Calif.)
Schultz’s program, Life Sail, provides sailing education to kids through boat-building programs and also through utilizing science and mathematics as core focuses of their education.
Teaching sailing is more than just instruction to him – it’s about providing opportunity and education to kids that might not otherwise have the chance to participate. His energy is infectious and he’s always willing to share ideas, suggestions or volunteer. Schultz has attended multiple US Sailing events and is a tireless supporter of US Sailing and the Reach program. He embodies the heart of what it means to be a community sailing instructor.
Outstanding Community Sailing Program Director – Margie Graham (Conway, Mich.)
Margie Graham, Director of Crooked Lake Sailors in Oden, Mich. has grown sailing in her area by nearly 200% in just one year. In the winter, Graham heads south to volunteer in Florida by working with directors and coaches, as well as teaching US Sailing Instructor courses.
Her summer program not only offers youth sailing, but incorporates adult sailing and open sailing. She supports the Crooked Lake Sailors’ philosophy of safe boating and building life-long sailing skills, along with general seamanship & stewardship while protecting our natural environment.
Outstanding Volunteer – Stephanie Webb (Fort Myers Beach, Fla.)
Webb has been a tireless supporter of community sailing as a member of the Edison Sailing Center. Even before she joined the Community Sailing Committee, she was instrumental in helping to launch the Regional Sailing Programs Symposium in the Southeast, and also provided substantial guidance for the development of the program nationally.
She’s been at the heart of US Sailing’s Reach program (for STEM education using sailing as a platform) which has provided a huge opportunity for Community Sailing Programs nationwide. She organized the second largest Junior Olympics event last year. She is described as selfless, compassionate and has dedicated an exorbitant amount of time to helping people of all ages.
Outstanding Adaptive Community Sailing Program – Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation (Chicago, Ill.)
Nominated by the Committee for Sailors with Disabilities, The Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation served the largest and most diverse number of people with disabilities of all Adaptive Programs.
Additionally, they partner with the Chicago Parks & Recreation Department to provide programming through the Park district. The JGASF teaches many people how to sail and they offer multiple types of racing opportunities.
Outstanding Outreach & Inclusion – Caitlyn Ridgely (East Boston, Mass.)
Ridgely successfully combined the current US Sailing little red book (used for small boat education) with a custom designed tracking system that includes both Reach and also keelboat training for kids.
She runs one of the strongest adaptive programs in the country at Piers Park Sailing, providing opportunity to sailors who otherwise would not be able to sail. Ridgely has effectively managed to create new and innovative programs, engaged new sailors and grown existing programs.
Outstanding Community Sailing Program – New England Science and Sailing (Stonington, Conn.)
New England Science and Sailing is at the forefront of integrating science and sailing by utilizing their outstanding campus and the Reach program. They are integrated with the Connecticut school system (Stonington) and have been able to receive test scores to show how impactful their programming has been.
They were also the first approved US Sailing Community Sailing Center and employ an outstanding staff, including a former college coach and several experts in the areas of science and education.
Creative Innovations in Programming – Kurt and Meka Taulbee, SailFit (Sand Key, Fla.)
Kurt is a veteran of four Olympic campaigns in the Laser and Meka Taulbee is a certified personal trainer. Together, this husband and wife team founded SailFit, Inc., to incorporate the value and benefit of physical fitness as a part of sailing.
Meka facilitates the nutritional and physical side of sail training, and Kurt focuses on performance sailing. The integration of the two is the reason they won this award. Additionally, they work with a variety of home school students to provide a unique addition to their education.
Marty A. Luray Award for Outstanding Support of Public Access Sailing – Stu Gilfillen (Tiverton, R.I.)
Stu Gilfillen has dedicated over 15 years of his life to the growth and development of Community Sailing in the U.S. The former Executive Director of the Sarasota Youth Sailing Program in Sarasota, Fla., Gilfillen has been involved with the development of US Sailing programs such as the Community Sailing Sanctioning Program, Adaptive Sailing Center Program, Regional Symposiums and has served as the organizer for the National Sailing Programs Symposium.
In 2013, Stu helped launched the first ever Community Sailing and Training Awards Dinner which provided a showcase to recognize those individuals who have contributed to getting people on the water. A former dinghy sailor and college coach, Stu loves the competitive aspect of the sport, but is a staunch advocate of promoting the social aspect of sailing and that being on the water, regardless of boat or sailing type, is the true barometer for the success of community sailing.
Regatta Award – Charleston Race Week (S.C.)
Perhaps the most impressive is that in the span of two decades, this event has evolved from a local competition with 29 boats, to an international regatta with nearly 300 boats from a dozen countries. Charleston Race Week (CRW) is now the largest regatta of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
The regatta is run by the Charleston Ocean Racing Association (CORA), a local nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to promoting sailing and making it accessible to more people. The CRW has cemented its reputation as a bucket list regatta for one-design sailors.
CRW is run almost entirely by volunteers. In 2013, more than 100 individuals were involved in managing the on-shore activities (registration, parking, etc.) and over 150 were engaged on the water to ensure top quality competition and safety.
The event organizers work diligently to include some of the most well regarded and experienced race officers from around North America as PROs and DROs. Due to this emphasis on the quality of competition, CRW has often been chosen by one-design classes for staging regional and national championships.
The importance of this event goes well beyond competitive sailing. In 2011, the organizers engaged the College of Charleston’s Office of Economic Analysis to assess the regatta’s local impact of $2.5 million in revenue.
John H. Gardiner, Jr. Trophy – Barney Harris (Arlington, Va.) and Peter Duncan (Severna Park, Md.)
Peter Duncan and Barney Harris have been selected for this US Sailing One-Design Service Award due to their leadership, infectious enthusiasm, ability to organize and support not only regattas, but the class itself, particularly by becoming the first domestic manufacturer of Albacore sailboats in almost 40 years.
They became concerned when the class’s sole North American manufacturer started having quality issues and focused on building larger boats. They realized that in order to keep the Albacore class alive they needed to transition their small company from a boat restoration to a boat-building entity. HAPCO became the first domestic manufacturer of Albacore sailboats in almost 40 years, ensuring the survival and revitalization of the U.S. Albacore Fleet.
Creativity Award – OptiNews, Betsy Altman, Publisher/Editor (Chicago, Ill.)
OptiNews is a printed magazine for youth sailors that promotes one-design sailing to members and volunteers, builds a stronger one-design class and encourages non-sailing children to get involved in the sport.
The magazine serves a wide range of interests. Every story is written for the broader audience. Technical articles are written as much for the sailor as for his/her coach, parent or race committee volunteer. The authors approach subjects to teach sailors how to handle unique or difficult situations.
Articles on current events are written to inspire young sailors about yacht racing. A series on the AC 72 catamarans focused on elements of interest to the Opti sailors. The article was highlighted by the San Francisco Bay Opti sailors and their use of helmets in their practices.
An editorial focus on professional sailors helps Opti sailors understand they have options as they continue their racing careers. Each issue includes a story about the marine environment to help sailors and their parents respect our waterways.
OptiNews is a 68-page, full size, four-color magazine with 28 pages of paid and regatta advertising. The rest of the pages are reserved for editorial content covering USODA (US Optimist Dinghy Association) business, and articles of interest to sailors, parents, coaches and volunteers. The magazine is published five times a year.
Leadership Award – Jon Deutsch (Richmond, Va.)
For the past nine years, Deutsch has been the mastermind of the widely popular Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship. Deutsch is known for his spectacular photography, energetic regatta reports and phenomenal website. He frequently provides on-water updates while racing via Twitter.
Deutsch documents events with his omni-present GoPro and other cameras, and promotes through social media and the club site. Sailors arrive home after the event to find a “Thanks for Coming” email from Jon with the results and photos attached.
As with everything he approaches, Deutsch made himself into an expert, both on and off the water. His knowledge and service is in demand all over the Bay. He has served as the Laser District Secretary for the past seven years.
Club Award – San Diego Yacht Club (Calif.)
The SDYC is home to 17 one-design fleets from kiteboards to Pacific Cats, and an active PHRF and ocean racing fleets. In 2013, SDYC hosted over 15 regattas at the local, regional, national and international level.
They have created several innovate programs to keep one-design racers active and integrated. Monthly One-Design Weekends are held with free entry fee for all. The California Dreamin’ Series was in its third year as a match race circuit between SDYC, St. Francis Yacht Club and Balboa Yacht Club using J22s.
Virtual competition has been trialed in 2013 allowing racers to utilize their iPhone or a GPS to record and track their event and post their results online.
The Monarch Program welcomes after school sailing for homeless children allowing them to experience a day on the water each week throughout the semester. Students with additional interest are given a scholarship to attend the SDYC Junior Summer program, sponsored by the SDYC Sailing Foundation.
The club ran 82 days of racing from the race office, many days on multiple venues. The Malin Burnham Sailing Center has hosted two world championships in its first three years (Etchells and Stars) as well as daily high school de-briefs, monthly seminars for judges and race management, as well as instructor training.