Paralympic Gold Medalist Honored with Leadership in Women's Sailing Award

ALEXANDRIA, VA, June 9, 2009 — Proving that despite a major setback, the will to sail and compete at the highest level can prevail, Maureen McKinnon-Tucker was honored with the annual Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award at ceremonies capping the day-long Women’s Sailing Conference held June 6 at Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA. The award is co-sponsored by BoatU.S. and the National Women’s Sailing Association. The award honors a male or female who has a record of achievement in giving something back to the sailing community as well as inspiring and educating women.

McKinnon-Tucker was featured in the “Top Women in American Boating” article in the May 2009 issue of BoatU.S. Magazine. Over a decade ago she fell off a seawall and the injuries left her partially paralyzed. Despite using a wheelchair, she has doggedly pursued competitive sailing. After being the first woman named to the U.S. Disabled Sailing Team and winning a silver medal in the 2007 world championship, McKinnon-Tucker went even further in 2008 and won a gold medal in the Beijing Paralympic Games, along with the late Nick Scandone in the SKUD-18 class.

In presenting the award at the conference, Elaine Dickinson, coordinator of BoatU.S.’s Women in Boating initiative, said, “Maureen’s indomitable spirit and upbeat attitude are the essence of what leadership is all about. She turned adversity into achievement and inspires everyone who meets her or hears her story.”

She has also served on numerous boards and committees advocating for those with spinal cord injuries and is a peer mentor for those recently disabled; she is the adaptive sailing coordinator at the Piers Park Sailing Center in Boston, MA. The mother of two has also managed two businesses.

McKinnon-Tucker was not able to accept the 2009 leadership award in person at Marblehead as she was competing in a race the same day in New York, but sent a videotaped message expressing her gratitude for the recognition and those who helped her get back into her chosen sport. She is a Marblehead, MA, resident and her web site is SailChallengeInspire.org.

With perfect weather and a near capacity crowd, the 8th annual Women’s Sailing Conference filled the Corinthian Yacht Club with an energetic day-long series of hands-on classes and on-the-water clinics all taught by women instructors. The conference gives women sailors, from novices to experts, an opportunity to learn new skills or brush up on old ones. BoatU.S. is the primary sponsor of the conference, organized by NWSA. The conference is one of several women’s boating events sponsored by BoatU.S. To find out more visit http://www.BoatUS.com/Women.