Position: Vice President
Term: 2022 – 2026
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Education: BA – Spanish, California State University, Los Angeles; MFA – Creative Writing, Otis College of Art and Design
- Why do you want to be a member of US Sailing’s Board of Directors? It would be great if people who look like me understood that our sport is open to diversity and inclusion. What a boon for sailing if people of all kinds fall in love with this sport! I want sailing (and safe access to the waterfront) to become more relevant to American culture. I am able to communicate that message to potential new US Sailing Members.
- How can community sailing centers, yacht clubs and other sailing organizations collaborate with each other more on key initiatives to grow sailing? Each bring something unique to the table: a nice clubhouse, a fleet of boats, instructors and coaches, classrooms, etc. They should unite in conducting membership outreach to the local community: schools, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Sisters/Big Brothers, universities, professional organizations, churches, etc. Hold open houses around: “Getting to Know Your Town’s Waterfront and What it Has to Offer”, Intro to sailing clinics (Junior and Adult), regattas, adaptive sailing clinics, women’s sailing clinics, Safety at Sea seminars, marina cleanups; involvement in local marina development plans, state tidelands, and other coastal management in order to develop new potential programs. Also, collaborating with innovators of adaptive one-design fleets and building open houses around these boats have proven successful. Community awareness and the invitation to participate make all the difference. This is how I’ve been able to grow new sailors.
- How can these organizations and other sailing industries integrate with their local communities to provide more awareness for prospective new sailors? Representatives from sailing clubs and organizations can reach out to the entities mentioned above and initiate a conversation. This might be difficult for persons who have not lived outside of the sailing world, but this can be modeled and learned. Next, events should be planned so that guests feel invited and valued; community and organizational leaders should feel invited to take part in the planning. If Juniors are targeted, it’s important that their families are invited to participate as well.
- What can US Sailing do to help facilitate these partnerships? As for new sailors, if the focus is mainly on Juniors, adult family members feel left out. Parents and guardians should be urged to become US Sailing members. If they are not interested in learning to sail, they should at least be offered an orientation on what their kids are learning. Where appropriate, they should also be encouraged to volunteer: race committee, set marks, learn to stack and drive trailers to events, etc. The children of involved sailing parents are more likely to continue in the sport; thus, growing a diverse group of new coaches and hopefully college sailing team members.
In terms of partnering with yacht clubs and other programs, representatives can remind yacht club members and racers what it is that US Sailing does, what the benefits of membership are, and how the future of sailing is relevant to its present initiatives and efforts. This is what I see happening at US Sailing Safety at Sea Seminars held at various yacht clubs.
- How have US Sailing’s programs and services impacted your overall sailing experience? The two-day US Sailing at Sea Seminar I attended was amazing. It definitely boosted my offshore knowledge. When I first started sailing, there were no US Sailing programs that I was aware of in my geographic area. I’ve been a member for many years because I enter races.
- Is it important for sailors to be members of US Sailing? Yes!
- Fundamentally, the organization is committed to making the sport safe. This again was apparent at the Safety at Sea Seminar I attended several years ago.
- Two years ago, I happened upon the US Sailing DEI statement while reading an article about Lou Sandoval. Around the same time, I saw an interview with Karen Harris on a sailing blog. Both of them were at different US Sailing events. They both referenced the statement. It made a huge impression on me and my friends of color who also sail.
- I’ve been touting Siebel Sailors and would love to do more to support that effort. It demonstrates that the organization is sincere about taking action relative to inclusion and equity.
- The Olympics will be in my backyard in a few years. I have a better understanding of the Herculean it takes for volunteers to pull off the event and the associated costs. Ultimately, it shows the world amateur US sailing at its best.
- I believe sailing would be more relevant in the American consciousness if there were more access to the sport. I believe having a larger, more diverse membership base could start to make that happen.
- California Studio Teacher: 1986 to present
- High School Spanish, French, English as Second Language Teacher – Los Angeles Unified School District, Las Virgenes Unified School District
- Marathon Coach for Students Run L.A.® for many years
- Sailing Instructor at Los Angeles Yacht Club (LAYC)
- LAYC Women on Water, Membership, & Community Sailing Committees
- Lead Studio Teacher LA Opera 30+ Years
- Studio Teacher LA Philharmonic & Hollywood Bowl 20+ Years
- Studio Teacher for films, TV, commercials, music videos, live theater, 30+ years
- Marathon runner-30+ events: LA, Catalina Island, Long Beach, Palos Verdes. One 50-mile ultra marathon on Catalina Island
- Sailing Instructor – Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising and Bareboat
- USCG 50 GT Master
- 2012 LAYC Yachtsman of the Year
- 2012 Establish LAYC Community Sailing Program
- 2016 LAYC Dean Harrel Trophy for Highest Scoring Female Skipper – J/29 Rush Street
- 2014 LAYC Commodore’s Award – Community Sailing Founder and Director
- 2019 LAYC Commodore
- 2021 SCYA Peggy Slater Award – Demonstrating Outstanding Contributions to the Enhancement of Women’s Participation in Sailing
- 2021 Director – Southern California Yachting Association
- 2021 BoatUs/NWSA Leadership in Women’s Sailing Honoree
- 2021 Director National Women’s Sailing Associaiton (NWSA)
My first encounter with sailing came when I was an adult. The magic of taking the tiller the first time and connecting with the environment in this way enhanced my life in unexpected ways. From the beginning, I wanted to share this experience with family and friends. As I progressed, the lack of gender and ethnic diversity, especially in racing, wasn’t so much a distraction as it was a reminder of our nation’s past and our sport’s lag in catching up. I have had great success introducing new people to sailing who would not have come on their own. There are adults (and of course, children) who are yearning to get on the water and to learn the skills to sail a boat. They just need someone to invite them in and train them. Sailing can become relevant to a broader base of people, a lifelong pastime for scores of new families. Setting up a system to do just that is my purpose at US Sailing.
Contact Marie Rogers