Kim HapgoodThe Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) has named Kim Hapgood of Newport, RI, the Program Director at Sail Newport, its 2018 Boater of the Year.

Photo courtesy of Sail Newport

The award was presented at RIMTA’s Industry Breakfast on the opening morning of the Providence Boat Show. Presented annually, the John H. Chafee Boater of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the success of the recreational boating industry in Rhode Island or championed the cause of bringing recreational boating to the public.

“Our sport and our industry can only thrive if people develop a passion for being on the water, and Kim Hapgood’s career has been all about making that happen,” said Susan Daly, RIMTA’s Vice President of Programs and Marketing, who made the presentation. “Kim has helped people of all ages gain access to the water and the necessary skills that turn boating into their activity of choice.”

Hapgood joined Sail Newport in 1996 and is part of the team that’s developed the facility into one of the world’s premier public sailing centers. She trains and manages a team of instructors, develops course curriculum, and has played a central role in creating a groundbreaking, experiential-educational program where all fourth graders in Newport public schools will learn to sail.

One of only six certified US Sailing Master Trainers in the country, Hapgood is an expert at teaching instructors to motivate students, she’s frequently sought after to run workshops at national sailing symposiums. She’s been a member of the Narragansett Bay Yachting Association Junior Sailing Committee for decades, ensuring instructors on the Bay are certified and spending her own time planning training and youth regatta schedules.

“Access to the water is a challenge in many places that have a waterfront,” said Hapgood. “Working with the state, Sail Newport has been able to preserve that access for the public. It is not only providing access to boats and instruction. You need to make sure that person’s first experience on the water is a good experience.”

Because Hapgood was presenting at the Sailing Leadership Forum, Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read accepted the award in her absence. “I cannot think of a more deserving recipient from our sailing community,” he said. “Sail Newport would not be what it is today without the leadership of Kim Hapgood and her tireless dedication to public access to sailing.”

Born in Chicago, Hapgood grew up sailing in England and has a diverse boating resumé, from having been part of a women’s match race team that was among the top ten in the World Sailing rankings, to offshore deliveries, cruising with friends, racing a Shields on summer nights in Newport, and a stint as a seasonal harbormaster. She’s also received US Sailing’s 2007 Captain Joe Prosser Award for Best Sailing Program in the Nation, and the 2005 Martin A. Luray Award for Excellence in Community Boating.

Cynthia Goss contributed to this report.

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