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.

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  

The award will be made at the Women’s Sailing Conference in Marblehead, MA the first weekend of June. Visit the Leadership Archives for photos and presentation articles on all our recipients.

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 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 contact representative in good standing nominates an individual. The nomination is to be approved by a majority vote of the NSBC Board of Directors during any Board of Directors meeting where a quorum is present.

Application form (fill out entirely) must accompany the nomination. If you have any questions about the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award, email


Leadership in Womens Sailing Award Nomination Form

Nominations for the 2020 award are being accepted until Feb. 1, 2020.

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Pat Dieselman (left), 2019 BoatUS/NWSA Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award honoree, with NWSA president, Debbie Huntsman. (credit: Elise Read)