Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Education: B.A., College of Charleston, 2015; J.D. Candidate, Tulane University Law School, 2018
- Why do you want to be a member of US Sailing’s Board of Directors?
As a passionate sailor, I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to the sport of sailing. Given that I am not too far removed junior and collegiate sailing, I hope to bring a new perspective to the Board. Sailing offers such great opportunities for individuals to develop a myriad of skills; exposing more people to its benefits and enjoyment is a top priority. Also, given that many female sailors do not transition from youth sailing to active participation as an older teen or adult, I would like to help the Board explore ways to retain this vital group of sailors.
- How can community sailing centers, yacht clubs and other sailing organizations collaborate with each other more on key initiatives to grow sailing?
The sport of sailing is so multifaceted and can be enjoyed by everyone in some capacity. Community sailing centers, yacht clubs, and other sailing organizations need to promote the sport’s variety of opportunities and appeal to people at different stages in life. These organizations can draw on their different strengths to promote opportunities that appeal to racers, cruisers, race officials, and other volunteers. By combining their resources, each entity can expose sailors from different backgrounds and experiences to new opportunities within sailing. Mentoring programs, outreach for increased community involvement, and enhanced exposure can expand the sailing community.
- How can these organizations and other sailing industries integrate with their local communities to provide more awareness for prospective new sailors?
To me, two of the biggest draws to sailing are that it is a lifelong sport, able to be enjoyed by people with vastly different capabilities, and a highly social sport, enhanced by the sailing community. Promoting youth sailing will enhance the base of our sport, but appealing to an adult audience will do the same conversely. Encouraging current sailors to introduce newcomers to the sport as well as having a presence in the community through increased attention to high school and community sailing will bring a larger awareness to the sport and attract new sailors.
- What can US Sailing do to help facilitate these partnerships?
Helping bring awareness to the many training programs and opportunities for involvement, such as through programming for youth, adults, race officials, and other volunteers will help these organizations promote sailing as something that can be enjoyed for a lifetime, at any stage in life. Working with communities to offer sailing activities at a reasonable cost will also allow those daunted by the prospect of boat ownership and its corresponding responsibilities to approach sailing more readily. Also, providing appropriate infrastructure support to organizations will facilitate more partnerships. Providing assistance in structuring collaborations, traversing legal issues, and offering business incubation services would allow those with the necessary enthusiasm to benefit from US Sailing’s experience and expertise in organizational development.
- How have US Sailing’s programs and services impacted your overall sailing experience?
US Sailing’s regattas and clinics were always a highlight of my summer sailing schedule as a junior. The Junior Championships allowed me to learn from and race against some of the best in the country, all while exploring new places and making lasting friendships. As a sailing instructor, the US Sailing certification classes taught me how to instruct others and to communicate sailing skills to various age groups. As a racer, the US sailing race officials help ensure that the regatta runs smoothly both on and off the water. As a post-Katrina sailor, a US sailing sailorship allowed me to continue my participation in spite of the geographic and financial upheaval my family encountered. Without that assistance, I may have veered away from sailing and missed out on this vital aspect of my life.
- Is it important for sailors to be members of US Sailing?
It is highly important for sailors to be members of US Sailing. As a sailor, I have participated in and benefitted from a multitude of US Sailing’s initiatives. The organization does so much to enhance, promote, and preserve our sport. It is up to all sailors to ensure that these things continue to take place.
I grew up sailing, racing, and coaching dinghies on Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf Coast, competing in both local and national events. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to join the College of Charleston sailing team, where I skippered in the women’s division. While in law school, I’ve taken the opportunity to hop on as many boats as possible, by getting involved in PHRF racing and crewing consistently on a Melges 24. I’ve also started racing in the Lightning Class, after ‘Santa’ brought me my very own Lightning.
- Collegiate All-American Women’s Skipper, 2015 (Honorable Mention, 2014)
- Collegiate Academic All-American, 2014 & 2015
- Recipient of US Sailing’s Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Medal, 2008
- Recipient of the Carnegie Hero Award, 2009
I am honored to be nominated for a position on the US Sailing Board of Directors and am excited for the opportunity to give back to the organization that has been the umbrella for my involvement with sailing. I’m humbled by the opportunity to join such a distinguished and dedicated group of individuals. I hope that I will be able to bring a fresh perspective to the Board and contribute meaningfully to the mission of US Sailing.
Contact Clerc Cooper