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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

Virgin Islands Sailing Association hosts Coaching & Mentoring Women's Sailing Course

by Virgin Islands Sailing Association 27 Sep 2023 17:24 UTC October 27-29, 2023
Diana Robinson takes the helm sailing off St. Croix © Sue Brown

The Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA) wants to get more women on the water to enjoy the sport of sailing. To this end, the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (VIOC) member association, which represents the sport of sailing in the territory, will host the Coaching & Mentoring Women's Sailing Course from October 27 to 29, 2023, at the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC). Seven women each from St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John will participate.

The three-day event, which features a combination of hands-on sailing in IC24s and onshore discussions and networking opportunities, is funded through an Olympic Solidarity Grant, plus funds from VISA, VIOC, STYC, and World Sailing, the sport's global governing body. VISA is the USVI's Member National Authority to World Sailing.

"For more than a decade, World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee have focused on including women in all aspects of the sport with a goal of equal representation. The Caribbean is leading the way. Women run most of the regattas, large and small, and many yacht clubs have women commodores. Introductory sailing programs are often coached by women throughout the region. Women captain and crew sail and motor vessels throughout the territory as well as captain deliveries to and from the U.S. mainland. This program brings together Virgin Islands women actively engaged in these activities, introduces them to the other aspects of the sport, and builds a support network," says Juliet San Martin, VISA president and course organizer.

The Coaching & Mentoring Women's Sailing Course will be led by Rebecca Ellis, an experienced and qualified UK-based World Sailing Coach developer. Ellis has spent the past two decades training others from beginners to instructors and coaching at regional, national, and international levels. Discussion topics will include how to attract more women and girls to try sailing, the difference between instructing and coaching, how to develop coaching skills, and how to meet the needs of the female athlete.

Social activities include a dinner on October 27 with St. Thomas-based keynote speakers, the Honorable Ruth Miller, an International Judge with World Sailing and Magistrate Judge at the USVI's District Court, and Oriel Blake, Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association.

"I am very excited that VISA is again hosting an Olympic Solidarity course with a focus on women in sailing. In 1995, Julie San Martin held a highly successful course at the St. Croix Yacht Club focused on youth development. Cam Lewis, the 1993 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, as presenter. More recently, Dan Nicolosi held a course for coaches on St. Thomas. The timing is right for the emphasis to now be on the development of women in a sport that is an integral part of our lives in the Virgin Islands," says Lyn Reid, past VISA Treasurer and past VIOC Secretary-General.

For more information, contact San Martin at (340) 690-9040, or , or visit

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