Position: Select Director
Hometown: Port Huron, MI
Education: Bachelor of Science, University of Miami, FL ; Juris Doctorate, McGeorge Law School, University of Pacific, CA
- Why do you want to be a member of US Sailing’s Board of Directors?
US Sailing does so much for our sport from the racing rules to support for training race officers, as well as support for regattas and significantly supporting our sport in the Olympics. I have been so lucky to enjoy the sport of sailing and the life of sailing; I felt it was a good time to give back and participate in the organization that has been behind the sport that provided so much to my life.
- How can community sailing centers, yacht clubs and other sailing organizations collaborate with each other more on key initiatives to grow sailing?
Using collaborations to help more people learn to sail, grow in sailing experience and trying out different programming experiences will help sailing reach a wider audience. One thing this year has shown is that structural reform is needed in all types of institutions to truly help broaden and provide access to the sport. By expanding more dialogue and access to the different sailing centers, yacht clubs, and other sailing organizations a person’s entrance into the sport/lifestyle of sailing can be made easier. Reexamining how each of the organizations are getting their messages out and rethinking the delivery of affordable programs through each organization’s access points and combining efforts will help deliver opportunities in a synergistic way.
- How can these organizations and other sailing industries integrate with their local communities to provide more awareness for prospective new sailors?
Organizations and sailing industries can reach out to both youth community programs and adult programs to grow access in different areas. Thinking beyond the normal boating public to organizations that serve those with little access to the water and providing them an opportunity to experience sailing with low barriers would be a great step at becoming a bigger part of the local fabric. Reaching out beyond the normal sailing crowd is imperative. As a supporter of TISC sailing center in San Francisco, I am proud this community sailing center is focusing on creating access to traditionally non-represented demographics – teaching awareness up the sport as well as respect and equality.
- What can US Sailing do to help facilitate these partnerships?
US Sailing can help with programming for youth, adult, experience, non-experienced individuals with materials, volunteers, maybe organizing boats. Working with communities to offer sailing activities at a reasonable cost will help those that may be deterred by the initial cost, to get out on the water and fall in love with sailing. Sailing itself is not as expensive as some other hobbies, we just need to encourage people to get out and try it, making it as attractive as possible, with as low barriers to try it. With US Sailing’s vast network they can really help organizations reach more.
- How have US Sailing’s programs and services impacted your overall sailing experience?
As I grew up racing with my family in the lakes, I have benefited from all the regattas, and training of race officials, and the development of rules they have all over the country. As a member of the US Sailing Team, I know firsthand how important their support of athletes competing for the Olympics and their impact on those dreams.
- Is it important for sailors to be members of US Sailing?
It is very important for sailors to be a member of US Sailing. US Sailing is a large voice of sailors in the states when decisions or questions need answering about government policies that impact voting. US Sailing can help also link different yacht clubs and sailing clubs together, providing needed resources. Sailors who race benefit from a variety of US Sailing’s good works and supporting the organization to continue to promote and grow our sport requires everyone’s support.
Katie grew up sailing on the Great Lakes with her family racing out of Port Huron Yacht Club and Detroit-based yacht clubs. As a highly successful student-athlete, Katie competed at the highest levels in a variety of sports. However, it was in yacht racing that she had the opportunity to compete head to head as an equal with the boys. As a collegiate sailor competing with Olympians and America’s Cup athletes, Katie was selected as the youngest member of the first all women’s America’s Cup Team, Mighty Mary, in 1995. She went on to race professionally in pinnacle events in the sport and a variety of grand prix races around the world.
Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002 Amer Sports Too, Costa Smeralda, Italy
Whitbread Around the World Race 1997-1998 Team EF Education, Gotenburg
- 2020- Current Mixed- Gender Offshore Campaign for 2024 Paris
- 2014-2016 Nacra 17 Team EastonPettibone, U.S. Sailing Team, U.S. National Champions, 2nd at Trials
- 2005 Yngling- U.S. Sailing Team, Team Baylis
- 2010-11 Women’s Match Race- Olympic Trials, Oct. 2011, 5th
America’s Cup Campaigns
- AREVA Challenge, Valencia, Spain 05-07’
- America True Syndicate, Auckland, NZ 98-00’
- America3 Syndicate, San Diego, CA 94-95’
- Multiple Sydney to Hobart Races, including Ocean Respect Racing 2018 2nd
- NZ Match Race Champion with Team America True Gavin Brady 1999
- Women’s U.S. Match Race Champion with Team Wilson 2013
- Sailing Arabia Tour, Skipper 2014, Crew 2013 and 2012 over 875 miles
- Worrell 1000’ 2001, Extreme Cat Race 1000 nm Team Guidant 2nd overall
- Port Huron to Mackinac Class Winner Rowdy Thomas 35, 1990
- Current crew Formula 40 and Extreme 40 Catamaran Shadow, San Francisco, CA
- Current Superyacht Circuit, Yacht Inoui, Briand 110 ft Trimmer
- A member of St. Francis Yacht Club, Bayview Yacht Club, & Port Huron Yacht Club
- Advisory member to the St. Francis sailing foundation
- Commissioner of the California State Division of Boating and Waterways Commission
- Member of the Port Huron Michigan Sports Hall of Fame
US Sailing has contributed so much to the sport of sailing from the local level all the way to the international level. Sailing is both my history, my now and my future- whether it is racing at the top levels or cruising the beautiful waterways of our world. I am honored to be considered for a position of leadership in this important organization.
Contact Katie Pettibone