Dawn Riley Awarded Leadership In Women's Sailing

The 2003 recipient is Dawn Riley. Dawn Riley, the world champion sailor who has made great strides in developing sailing outreach programs for young people, was presented with the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award this weekend at the 2nd annual Women’s Sailing Conference held at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA. Sponsored by the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) and the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA), the award honors a male or female who has gone beyond competitive racing and leveraged their name, skills, or position in the sailing world to reach out and enrich other’s lives through sailing.

"No one is more deserving of this honor than Dawn Riley," said Elaine Dickinson of BoatUS, who presented the award along with NWSA President Diana Smith. "Her racing career has been extraordinary, breaking numerous barriers for women. But she’s also gone beyond winning trophies to give something back to the sport and to society at large through her America True Foundation."

Riley founded and leads the America True Foundation, whose goal is to bring the joy of sailing to youth nationwide. Other accomplishments include being the first woman to head up an America’s Cup Syndicate (2000) as well as team captain of the first all-women’s America’s Cup team, America3 (1995). She was the only female crew member on an America’s Cup team in 1992 and she led the Heineken team, the all-women’s entry in the Whitbread Round the World Race (1993-94). Riley was the first two-time winner of the world-class BoatUS Santa Maria Cup women’s match race regatta; the first sailor to be named President of the Women’s Sports Foundation; and also the 1999 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year.

At the Women’s Sailing Conference over 110 women – from college students to grandmothers – learned new skills as well as brushed up on old ones and networked with other women sailors. The Conference is one of many events that BoatUS – with 540,000 members – sponsors that promotes boating opportunities for women. Others include the BoatUS Santa Maria Cup, the annual Women’s Sailing Convention in Southern California, and “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” seminars. BoatUS also features a Women in Boating Web site at http://www.BoatUS.com/women.