Several sailors and organizations in the Northeast were among those honored by US Sailing for their contributions to the sport of sailing in the United States. The awards were presented during the 2020 Sailing Leadership Forum in San Diego, CA in February.
US Sailing Association Award winners:
Dave Perry (Southport, CT) received the prestigious Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy for his extraordinary contributions to sailing. Perry’s passion for the sport is witnessed in everything he does to help make sailing the best possible experience for those who choose to participate. He’s actively participated in every aspect of our sport as a competitive racer, coach, rules advisor, National Judge, author, and volunteer for US Sailing.
Perry has conducted racing clinics and rules talks around the world to make the Racing Rules of Sailing more understandable for all. He authored two books on the rules, Understanding the Racing Rules and Dave Perry’s 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes. He was the Rules Advisor to five America’s Cup teams and for the US Sailing Team at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. This has inspired countless sailors over the years to learn the rules and to properly navigate them while competing with a Corinthian Spirit.
Perry’s coaching ability is legendary. Many elite sailors can pin their success to his coaching. He coached the U.S. Youth Sailing Team to a Gold and a Bronze medal in 1981 and the U.S. Youth Match Racing Team to a Bronze medal in 2014. As a volunteer of US Sailing since 1977, Perry continues to ask questions on how the leadership can continue to push the sport further. He has and will continue to advance the sport for sailors of all ages and levels.
Kevin Broome (Rye, NY) received the Timothea Larr Award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of sailor education in the U.S. With over two decades in the industry as an instructor, coach and program director, Broome has worked in almost every aspect of the sport, including Promotions and Sales Manager for BIC Sport North America, coaching for both Providence College and the Fort Adams Sailing Team, and serving as the Sailing Director for American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, a position he holds today.
Broome has written content for numerous books and is always seeking to improve his, and US Sailing’s, programming. He is selfless, dedicated and exceptional at what he does, and the contributions he’s made have impacted programs across the country. In almost any sailing program, you can find a small boat instructor that was trained using materials that he helped create.
Ida Lewis Yacht Club (Newport, RI) received the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy for their excellent planning and execution of the International 12 Metre Association 2019 World Championships. Event chair Peter Gerard and Commodore Dan Faria were recognized by the competitors for their leadership: “Peter and his team…deserve gold medals for what they have done for the sport of sailing,” wrote one skipper. “I’ve been to many events, but this left me with such a great feeling.”
The Worlds race committee team, led by Principal Race Officer Mark Foster, delivered 45 fair and safe races for five classes in varying conditions in Rhode Island Sound. The committee hit their target times for each race, which included windward-leeward courses with offset and gate marks, and a distance race back into the harbor. Another competitor commented, “The regatta was challenging to organize and execute, yet Ida Lewis accomplished it with aplomb. Their handling of logistics before, during and after the event was outstanding – a fleet of nearly two dozen Twelves sailed safely and competitively – a credit to RC and the competitors, but especially to the host, ILYC.”
Spencer Raggio (Malta, NY) received the Gay S. Lynn Memorial Trophy for outstanding contributions to sailors with disabilities and to adaptive sailing. With well over 20 years of involvement and leadership as a charter member in the Y-Knot Adaptive Sailing program on Lake George, Raggio has worked tirelessly to help grow the fleet to include six adaptive Martin 16s and three Sonars, as well as construction of the Sidford Family Pavilion.
Raggio was instrumental in Y-Knot becoming one of the first US Sailing Accredited Adaptive Sailing Centers. He frequently helps Y-Knot sailors get to Newport, RI, Oyster Bay and Long Island, NY and Chicago, IL for regattas, and helps engineer adaptations everywhere he goes. A major contributor in a new crowd-source adaptive sailing equipment website, he was instrumental in making US Sailing’s website ADA compliant. He also volunteers on US Sailing’s Adaptive Sailing National Faculty and chairs both the US Sailing Para Sailing Committee and Para Sailing Championship Sub-Committee.
Mary Von Conta (Southport, CT) received the Virginia Long Sail Training Service & Support Award. Having served sport in almost every way imaginable, Von Conta has been the parent of a sailor, a club volunteer, a Junior Sailing Program Chair (Pequot Yacht Club), a Board member (and the chairperson) for the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound, a Regional Training Coordinator, a mentor, role model, teacher and, to quote the nominator, “the all-around voice of reason on Long Island Sound for over five decades.”
Von Conta has worked tirelessly to promote professionalism among sailing instructors, recruiting some of the best Instructor Trainers from around the country to teach US Sailing courses in her area. She’s also pushed hard to have more powerboat training in Long Island Sound, helping to establish a requirement that all instructors must have taken a US Powerboating Safe Powerboat Handling course. Not satisfied, she pushed host clubs to run higher level US Sailing training courses. Through her efforts, Long Island Sound now supports several Level 2, Level 3, Reach and Adaptive courses each year. The only two-time winner of this award, her legacy is one of incredible perseverance, dedication and substantial impact that can be seen in the generations of sailing instructors she’s influenced and the clubs she’s helped support.
Community Sailing and National One-Design Award winners:
Alicia Martorella Poole (Bronx, NY) received the Jim Kilroy Award for Outstanding Outreach and Inclusion. Poole has made a life-long commitment to breaking down barriers to sailing and water access. In a little over two years at SUNY Maritime College, she has truly embodied the college’s strategic plan for championing diversity and inclusion. She’s exponentially increased the number of scholarships, awarding more than $30,000 in 2019. She has extended sailing opportunities for local middle and high school students by growing the high school racing program and creating an after-school adventure program for middle school students capped by hosting a clinic and regatta for students from neighboring programs.
Poole has evolved SUNY Maritime’s Fleet Week into a STEM Day by providing hands-on lessons, including several US Sailing Reach activities for 350 New York City schoolchildren. She hosted Boogie Down to (Long Island) Sound, Maritime’s first community waterfront open house. Approximately 1,000 attendees enjoyed sailing, STEM activities, paddling, and powerboat rides. Based on follow-up surveys, 60% of participants said that this was their first time sailing or boating.
Alexe Taylor (New York, NY) received the award for Outstanding Program Director. Consistently excelling both as an educator and an advocate for the students in the numerous roles she’s held at Hudson River Community Sailing, Taylor teaches STEM-based after school programs, oversees the popular youth racing program, and serves as director of all youth sailing programs within the organization.
Her implementation of US Sailing’s Reach curriculum brought exciting, hands-on modules to the boathouse, which she adapted into a rich, year-long curriculum that immerses 10th graders in Hudson River’s ecological environment. She oversees and trains students as they transition to paid interns and employees, delivers Safe Powerboating courses for launch drivers, leads resumé workshops, and organizes programming trips. Her work ethic, enthusiasm, and devotion to her students color all aspects of her work, whether she’s teaching advanced sail controls and spinnaker use to youth racers, surveying the water quality in the river, or revising safety policies within the organization. To the 150-plus students who interact with her regularly and the adults that work with her, she’s a constant source of support and a wealth of knowledge.
Fred Roy (Newport, RI) received the National One-Design Leadership Award for his service and contributions to the Herreshoff S Class. Roy has logged countless hours of dedication and service over the years to the S Class. Last year was no different. His efforts went above and beyond his “normal” contributions in the Centennial year of the S Class.
Roy’s selfless commitment and devotion to the legacy of these classic yachts has contributed immeasurably to the endurance and viability of the Herreshoff S Class. Roy has devoted countless hours to the mission of the S Class during his term as Commodore, and in his many years as captain of S boat Surprise. His craftsmanship in wooden boat maintenance and restoration are equally matched by his skills as an expert helmsman and his Corinthian sportsmanship. Throughout the S Class, and indeed everywhere in the world of classic yachting, Roy is held in the highest esteem, and his service remains ongoing.
Michael “Spike” Lobdell (Stonington, CT) was awarded the Martin A. Luray Award for his outstanding and unselfish contributions to further public access to sailing. As the founder and current president of the New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS), Lobdell guided the organization’s vision, directing the execution of its strategy, organizing its governance, overseeing its staffing, managing the facility, directing community relations, and driving growth.
Lobdell established NESS in 2002 as a community sailing program focused on the core value of inclusion. Today, NESS teaches over 9,000 students annually, operating across New England and partnering with over 50 schools and organizations. Approximately half of NESS students receive financial aid to participate in the programming, and many have never been on the water before. Lobdell has shared his wealth of knowledge, his program resources, and his support with countless sailing centers and individuals across the country, and has grown community sailing immensely. These efforts reflect his vision, leadership, and belief in water as a platform for learning.
For more information including a complete list of award winners, see Press Releases in Ship’s Log. ■
US Sailing Communications Director Jake Fish contributed to this report.