NEWPORT, R.I. (September 17, 2023) – Clagett Sailing coach Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I) has proved that it is perseverance and determination that results in a gold medal, taking home the World Champion crown at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Hague four weeks ago.  

In recognition of this achievement the Newport City Council at their annual Council meeting proclaimed September 13 2023 as Betsy Alison Day in Newport, Rhode Island.

As a member of the US Sailing Team who raced in the Hanse 303 Women’s fleet, Alison along with her four fellow Para sailors, Jim Thweatt (San Fransisco, C.A.) in the Men’s Hanse 303 class, John Seepe (Erie, P.A.)  in the 2.4mR class and Maureen McKinnon (Salem, M.A.) and Shan McAdoo (Essex, M.A.) sailing together in the RS Venture Connect class, were supported in their efforts by Team Clagett.  All five of the para sailors are alumni of Clagett Sailing and have benefitted from the commitment it has made to supporting sailors with disabilities as they strive for their goals as they Reach for Success.

Alison has been a coach with Clagett Sailing for 15 years at Clagett Sailing fleet racing regattas in Newport R.I. and has been the most successful Para Sailing coach for the last 25 years.

 “I am so honored by the local community and the City Council to receive this proclamation.  If I can encourage just one person to look forward and look for your passion, I have achieved my goal.  I am overwhelmed and honored by the support I have received from the sailing community, my friends and the greater Newport community.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I receive this proclamation tonight,” commented an overcome Alison upon her receiving her proclamation to a huge round of applause from the gathered group of Council meeting attendees.

Clagett Sailing Co-Founder and President Judy Clagett McLennan spoke about Alison, “Betsy has been a constant support to sailors with disabilities especially at the Clagett regattas as a coach and mentor and to now be a sailor with a disability herself and to have won the only gold medal for the entire Team USA at the recent Sailing World Championships is a testament to her determination. She epitomizes the Clagett Sailing motto “Reach for Success.”

For more information about Clagett Sailing please visit:

About Clagett Sailing:

Founded in 2003, the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta honors the late Tom Clagett (1916-2001), a U.S. Navy World War II veteran who learned to sail on Chesapeake Bay.  As a youngster he suffered temporary paralysis as the result of a bout of meningitis; an experience that left him with a deep respect for the accomplishments of people with disabilities.  Clagett Sailing’s stated mission is “to assist sailors in realizing their potential on the water by providing them both the knowledge and tools to improve their skills and the opportunity to use these skills in competition.”  The organization has adopted Tom Clagett’s motto of “Reach for Success,” which resonates with every Clagett sailor. 

2022 marked the 20th Anniversary of Clagett Newport.  Clagett alumni sailors have earned medals at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games.  Along with reaching the 20th Anniversary milestone, the nonprofit organization while adhering to its original mission has evolved beyond its original single regatta format and has been rebranded “Clagett Sailing” to encompass the multiple programs it now offers to sailors with disabilities.

Clagett Sailing would like to thank the following 2023 sponsors – Fiduciary Trust International at the Platinum level; BCD at the Gold level and Innovative Construction Inc. at the Bronze level;