Community Sailing, National One-Design Award Winners Recognized at NSPS


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (January 31, 2019) – US Sailing is proud to announce the 2018 Community Sailing and National One-Design Award winners for their contributions to the sport of sailing in the United States. To celebrate the accomplishments of these individuals and organizations responsible for advancing sailing forward in their respective areas of focus and within their communities, US Sailing recognized these contributors on Thursday night, January 31, 2019, during an awards ceremony held at the 2019 National Sailing Programs Symposium (NSPS), hosted by the Florida Yacht Club.

The 2018 Community Sailing and National One-Design Award winners are:

  • New England Science & Sailing (Stonington, Conn.) received the Jim Kilroy Award for Outstanding Outreach & Inclusion.
  • Gregory Pimentel (New Bedford, Mass.) received the award for Excellence in Instruction.
  • Brad Read (Newport, R.I.) received the award for Outstanding Organizational Leader.
  • Dennis Peck (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was named Volunteer of the Year for his ongoing dedication as a volunteer at Charlotte Harbor Community Sailing Center, Inc.
  • Hudson River Community Sailing (New York, N.Y.) received the award for More than Ten Years of Hallmark Performance for their continued commitment to community sailing.
  • Nino Johnson (Seattle, Wash.) received the award for Outstanding Program Director.
  • Community Sailing of Colorado (Boulder, Colo.) received the award for Outstanding Community Sailing Program.
  • A.B.L.E. To Sail (Longmont, Colo.) received the award for Creative Innovations in Programming.
  • 2018 Lightning Women’s, Junior and Master North American Championship hosted by the Pontiac Yacht Club (Orchard Lake Village, Mich.) received a the National One-Design Regatta Award for excellence in development, promotion and management of the year’s most outstanding one-design regatta.
  • Kevin Morin (Detroit, Mich.) and Doug Wake (Sheboygan, Wis.) received the National One-Design Creativity Award.
  • Cedar Point Yacht Club (Westport, Conn.) received the National One-Design Club Award recognizing administrative excellence, fleet growth, creative programming, regatta support and member contributions.
  • Donald Hackbarth (Marietta, Ga.)received the National One-Design Service Award for his contributions to the Snipe Class.
  • Victor “Pete” Bethge (Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.)received the National One-Design Leadership Award.
  • Jen Guimaraes (Bristol, R.I.) was awarded the Martin A. Luray Award for her outstanding and unselfish contributions to further public access to sailing.

New England Science & SailingJim Kilroy Outstanding Outreach & Inclusion Award

For 16 years, the New England Science & Sailing Foundation (NESS) has offered community sailing programs to the public. Since its formation, NESS has been steadfast in delivering on their four core values: inclusiveness, experiential learning, personal growth and stewardship. NESS served 8,500 students in 2018 at 11 locations with over 50% of their students receiving some form of financial aid. Since its inception, NESS has enabled over 35,000 students to get on the water.

While NESS’s mission centers on inclusiveness across all their programs, the most obvious and compelling examples are NESS’s New London Community Boating (NLCB) program and its adaptive sailing program. NLCB operates year-round alongside, and inside, the New London Public Schools (NLPS) with the NESS SEA AmeriCorps Program. The sailing program at NLCB is now a part of the public school system, which provides access for these students to the marine environment in their own backyard. New London Public Schools (NLPS) include high concentrations of economically disadvantaged students.

In the words of one student, “The NESS program has taught me to be more confident, honest and courageous because the program and the people that work in it want to teach all kids how to be successful in life.”

Gregory Pimentel – Excellence in Instruction

Greg Pimentel has been involved with the Community Boating Center (CBC) in New Bedford, Mass. for over 20 years, serving in a variety of roles, including Instructor, Head Instructor, Site Supervisor and now Program Director. As an Adaptive Instructor, Powerboat Instructor Trainer and Sailing Instructor, he works with a wide range of students and boats. He has taken an active role in providing training for the Junior Instructors and Instructors on the CBC staff and had demonstrated personal responsibility for the growth of each staff member and student he works with.

He understands that sailing is not just a sport. It is the perfect vessel to teach leadership skills, patience, a strong work ethic and follow-through. Pimentel focuses on creating well rounded and empathetic students who to learn to sail along the way. He has the uncanny ability to find the positive in every person he meets. He sailed every boat, learned everything he could and when it came time, he worked his way onto the staff. These experiences have helped make him become the outstanding Instructor he is today.

Brad Read – Outstanding Organizational Leader

As the Executive Director for Sail Newport, Brad Read, along with his outstanding team, has worked diligently to break down socioeconomic barriers to make sailing more accessible to the public. Through their efforts they’ve been able to create one of the premier community sailing centers in the country. His leadership ability, long term vision and communication skills has guided them the entire way.

The organization consistently runs award-winning sailing programs both for youth and adults. One of the more heartwarming initiatives has been Sail Newport’s involvement with a local elementary school to provide access and marine-related education to over 150 fourth-graders. The program has not only provided these young sailors with access to sailing but also fostered environmental stewardship for the next generation.

Read’s most recent centerpiece achievement has been the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopovers. This event has captured the imaginations of young sailors and newcomers to the sport. Many of those who experienced the Stopover in Newport were youth, some of whom had never been close to a boat. This incredible success is due to the community’s supporting the event with resources and enthusiasm, the net result of both the 2015 and 2018 stopovers was over 232,000 visitors and more than $75 million in economic impact for the state of Rhode Island.

Dennis Peck – Volunteer of the Year

Dennis Peck has been the President of the Charlotte Harbor Community Sailing Center since 2003. He volunteers his time at three to four summer camps each year and acquires donors for children who need financial assistance. Peck is constantly repairing boats or trailers or doing whatever else needs to get done to keep the program moving forward. He works tirelessly to get donated boats resold so that the funds can support the insurance and resource needs of the Center.

Peck also manages all the administrative tasks, including finances. The organization works in conjunction with several large regattas in the area, and, because they lack a dedicated building, he uses his own hauler as a classroom during summer camp. Peck personally makes cards and trophies for smaller regattas and uses his own personal docks to store larger boats until they can be sold. He has dedicated his life to teaching children and adults of all abilities to sail, all on a volunteer basis.

Hudson River Community Sailing – More than Ten Years of Hallmark Performance

Hudson River Community Sailing (HRCS) continues to serve its community and members with outstanding programs and events in pursuit of supporting its youth development program. HRCS believes that everyone can learn to sail and that sailing provides a unique opportunity for growth and discovery. It uses sailing to fulfill its mission: to develop leadership skills and academic success in underserved New York City youth and provide maritime education to New York City at large. It does this within a vibrant community sailing center where they offer professional instruction, membership, veterans’ courses, summer camp, group and corporate events and community regattas.

Its entire staff exudes an overwhelmingly positive presence, encouraging and motivating its members to get involved, give back and become stronger as sailors, as individuals and overall. Its staff is referred to as “Sailing Educators” rather than instructors, a reflection of the fact that the goals of the organization extend beyond just teaching people to sail.

The 2015 winner of the “Outstanding Community Sailing Program” Award, HRCS has shown a long track record of excellence in sail training and education.

Nino Johnson – Outstanding Program Director

Nino Johnson has made formative contributions to the Sail Sand Point’s (Seattle, Wash.) youth community by creating pathways for students that guide them from beginner sailor to well-rounded young adults. Many of these students return year after year as summer campers, as volunteers and sometimes as instructors. He has proven himself capable, talented and passionate, and his dedication extends not only to learn-to-sail programs but also high school, middle school and college race teams.

Those who know Nino well understand that he works incredibly hard, often staying in the office late to ensure that the high school sailors are ready for their next regatta or that the facility is prepared to host regattas with hundreds of participants. He is passionate about inclusivity, taking extra care to empower his minority students and young women. His care and diplomacy have inspired a high-school sailing program with an extremely high percentage of women sailors.

Under Johnson’s purview, Sail Sand Point’s outreach program provides access to sailing for underprivileged populations who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Since 2014, Sail Sand Point’s outreach program has grown by over 400 participants.

His leadership and mentorship have taken many forms during his tenure at Sail Sand Point. Through his hard work and dedication, he has inspired those around him, maintaining the highest standards of integrity and providing support while providing wisdom and guidance along the way.

Community Sailing of Colorado – Outstanding Community Sailing Program

Community Sailing of Colorado (CSC) provides access to over 2,800 new and intermediate sailors each year. In addition to a robust adult program, it has active adventure and race camps for juniors aged 5–17. The camps offer excitement in sailing, but also help youth to further develop their skills, such as collaboration, creative problem solving, independence, leadership and effective communication.

Perhaps CSC’s most effective program is its Adaptive Sailing Program. This program provides low- to no-cost sailing opportunities and breaks down barriers for participants living with physical and cognitive disabilities. Using unique programming and specially designed equipment, including five adaptive boats, CSC teaches sailing to members of our community regardless of ability. In 2017, 500 people were able to get on the water.

It operates out of two locations: Cherry Creek Reservoir in Denver and the Boulder Reservoir in Boulder.

A.B.L.E. To Sail – Creative Innovations in Programming

A.B.L.E. To Sail, founded in 2012, is a four-day adventure therapy, pro-social, empowerment camp for disenfranchised youth. A.B.L.E. stands for, “A Better Life Experience.” Its mission is to raise self-esteem in youth to decrease high-risk behaviors. It partners with organizations that work with at-risk youth in some way, including youth on probation, in drug treatment, failed-adoption, foster care and abuse/neglect settings, LGBTQ+ organizations, alternative high schools and several local Latino youth centers. To date, it’s welcomed over 900 youth through their program.

It provides experiential wisdom and inspiration, applying sailing lessons to real-life experiences in daily motivational discussions contiguous with sailing, essentially creating adventure therapy: for example, “You can’t run from the wind, but you can adjust your sails,” is a common sailing reference that leads to conversation around dealing with the inevitable storms of youth in healthy ways. It believes that sailing is the perfect forum for this work because it affords so many metaphorical openings for empowering discussions and gives kids the opportunity to physically apply the lessons and achieve results, which they seem to easily translate into the life-application discussions.

2018 Lightning Women’s, Junior and Master North American Championship hosted by the Pontiac Yacht Club – National One-Design Regatta Award

The 2018 Lightning Women’s, Junior and Master North American Championship was the largest regatta in class history, with 67 boats. Its goal was to build one-design racing by recruiting new junior and women participants. Pontiac Yacht Club (PYC) recruited a highly professional race management team to ensure top-notch racing. To maximize participation, it provided free lodging, competitive charter boats, a crew brokering service and much more.

The Pontiac Yacht Club sits on tiny Cass Lake in southeast Michigan and boasts the largest Lightning fleet in the world. The founders of the club understood that having multiple fleets of one-design boats, each with marginal participation, was not a winning formula, so they declared that PYC would race only Lightnings.

Compared to typical yacht clubs, PYC is a bare-bones operation. It has no paid staff, kitchen or dining facilities and no bar. Approximately 100 family members run all aspects of the club. It is this kind of outstanding effort that contributes so much to one-design racing.

Kevin Morin and Doug WakeNational One-Design Creativity Award

Kevin Morin and Doug Wake used creativity to turn a problem into an opportunity. They are the inventors of the MarkSetBot, a revolutionary new race committee tool that increases the accuracy and efficiency of mark setting. MarkSetBot is a self-propelled robotic mark controlled by a mobile device that uses GPS technology to find and hold a location.

Used at the aforementioned Lightning Championships, the battery-powered marks move quickly to their location, directed by a mobile app. They hold position and relocate with incredible ease and the marks are easy to see and handle. The MarkSetBot is described by top race managers as a true game-changer in one-design racing.

Cedar Point Yacht Club National One-Design Club Award

In addition to running weekly racing for eight strong one-design fleets, the Cedar Point Yacht Club (CPYC) supports the development of new classes like the Aero and Waszp. In challenging times for one-design fleet growth, its Flying Scot and V15 fleets have experienced a resurgence.

In 2018, the club hosted eight separate regattas, including a multi-class one-design regatta with 560 sailors, the 66-boat Thistle Nationals and the annual Connecticut Special Olympics. Regatta festivities included a bagpiper for the opening ceremonies, live bands, a lip sync competition, a corn hole tournament, the “Mafia on the Beach” blender party and a lobster clambake.

The club also supports youth sailing. Last year it hosted the 142-boat JSA of Long Island Sound Race Week and a 78-boat Opti Area C Championship.

Donald Hackbarth National One-Design Service Award

The 2018 Service Award goes to Don Hackbarth for his efforts to serve to the Snipe Class. A past Leadership Award winner for his fleet-building successes, Hackbarth has served in nearly every position in the class at the local, regional, national and international levels.

Starting in 1984, he served as Treasurer, Vice Fleet Captain and Fleet Captain of the Atlanta Yacht Club Snipe fleet. In the 1990s, he rose through the ranks of Snipe District 4 and became a member of the U.S. SCIRA Board, where he served as secretary for six years and Secretary-General of the Western Hemisphere and Orient for 12 years.

During this time, he was an active racer, winning the U.S. Masters twice. He participated in the Snipe Winter Circuit for 17 consecutive years.

On the local level, he has built the largest Snipe fleet in the U.S. at the Atlanta Yacht Club. Nationally, he has established a U.S. marketing and promotion program for the Snipe Class. On the international front, he has built a strong financial structure for the class while revitalizing fleets in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Colombia as the Western Hemisphere General Secretary.

Victor “Pete” Bethge National One-Design Leadership Award

Described as a “Shangri-La” for Sunfish sailors, the Menantic Yacht Club (MYC) on Shelter Island was commissioned in the 1930s. There are no dues, no dock, no clubhouse—in fact, no facilities at all. What the club has is Pete Bethge, the Commodore for the past 52 years and the driving force behind the club’s success.

The MYC Sunday races, consisting mostly of summer vacationers, have peaked and waned through the years. In 2005, the numbers dropped, and that is when Bethge sprang into action to rebuild the fleet and get new people involved.

He began by assembling a fleet of Sunfish to lend to people. He bought boats, found abandoned boats and accepted donated boats from people who no longer wanted them. He bought new parts, repaired the boats and built a 13-boat fleet, which he made available to anyone interested in sailboat racing. If they had no experience, he gave them lessons and followed them around the harbor, making sure that they were safe.

Each week, people would call him to reserve a boat for Sunday racing. They would show up at his famous “Red House.” Pete would pull all the parts out of his basement, take the sailor to the beach, help rig the boat and send them off to the races. Within three years, the fleet increased to 10–15 boats nearly every Sunday. In 2018, MYC averaged 18 boats on the starting line weekly. Pete still pays for all the boats, parts, sails and repairs himself.

Without his Herculean efforts, MYC would have struggled to stay in business. Today, it is a vibrant growing fleet consisting of experienced and new sailors alike, all enjoying the best that sailing has to offer—great racing and camaraderie and the joy of being out on the water with family and friends.

His extraordinary legacy of sharing his passions of sailing and family is celebrated by all his admirers and emulated by all his sailors. If ever a person exemplified initiative, enthusiasm, organization and leadership skills in creating an outstanding one-design fleet, it is Pete Bethge.

Jen Guimaraes – Martin A. Luray Award

From 2004 to 2017, while working at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (Vt.), Guimaraes worked tirelessly to set the standard for how a community sailing center should operate. From the programs she pioneered, such as “Floating Classrooms” and “WAVES,” the organization’s educational programming saw enormous strides under her guidance. Through her efforts, she set a standard that many other programs across the U.S. admire to this day.

She also became an active participant on the national stage, helping grow the US Sailing Reach Initiative and providing guidance to community sailing programs that wanted to teach STEM at their locations. She helped develop and implement the curriculum, and without her assistance, the program would not have grown to where it is today.

Additionally, she stepped into the role of Community Sailing Committee Chair and reinvigorated the group. Her leadership helped drive the Community Sailing Accreditation subcommittee, and she worked at finding ways to provide for the committee and serve as an active resource for all sailing centers. She has been both tactful and collaborative in her approach, and it’s served the volunteers, and sailors of the sailing community well.

As Jen transitioned to staff member at US Sailing, her role within the Community Sailing committee also changed. Instead of “volunteer,” she now holds the title of “liaison” and serves the needs of the constituents at a national level while serving as the Youth Education Manager in US Sailing’s Youth Department.

Learn more about the US Sailing Awards.

US Sailing Communications: Jake Fish,, 401-342-7925

About US Sailing
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