US Sailing and the Sperry Local Ambassador Program – Katie Tinder


US Sailing and Sperry have partnered to recognize local sailors for contributions made to their respective sailing communities. Sperry Local Ambassadors have a passion for sailing and they share that passion with others to get out on the water and support the growth of our sport.

Meet Katie Tinder from Chicago, Illinois

Katie Tinder has been a dedicated coach and director in the sailing community for years. She has tirelessly committed to supporting youth in the downtown Chicago area. She coordinates sailing experiences and STEM education learning opportunities while incorporating place-based stewardships. Students learn an appreciation for the dynamic natural environment of Lake Michigan. Katie’s programs have held countless shoreline and on-water cleanups to keep Lake Michigan free of marine debris. Additionally, her educational lessons provide students with activities to reflect on the world around them both on and off the water. Congratulations to Katie Tinder!

A Q&A with Katie Tinder

US Sailing: What is special about your local sailing community and the water that surrounds it?

Katie: As a whole, the sailing community in Chicago is making great strides to make sailing accessible to a broader spectrum of people than the norm. Community Sailing Centers in the area are giving out more scholarships to youth from under-resourced areas than ever before to provide them with a connection with sailing and Lake Michigan. These efforts, combined with marine-based STEM education, are helping to bring about awareness to everyone of why protecting an invaluable resource, the Great Lakes, is so important. The Chicago area on Lake Michigan is one of the most picturesque places to sail in the world. You can be in the center of the hustle and bustle of the city, and within a few minutes of leaving the dock, you’re in a serene environment surrounded by sparkling blue freshwater. If you haven’t sailed here, I encourage you to add it to your bucket list, as the views of the skyline are absolutely breathtaking.

US Sailing: What/who inspired your love for the water?

Katie: My parents inspired my love for the water. My dad was the sailor, my mom took me to every event I competed in. I grew up sailing on small inland lakes in Wisconsin. Sailing school was held in my backyard, and all of my friends kept their boats on our beach. I had so much fun in the early years of the sport. The fun helped develop my passion for the sport, which I carried to more competitive levels throughout junior sailing and college. I’ve also been fortunate to have incredible coaches and role models that shared my passion for the water and sailing. They taught me lessons like taking care of my equipment, and respecting the environment that I sail in. All of them have been a great inspiration to me to do my best at the sport, give back to my community where I can, and inspire others to find joy in developing a connecting with the elements.

US Sailing: If there is one thing the sailing community could do to become more sustainable, what would that be?

Katie: To improve daily habits by buying less, reusing more, and making smart and sustainable purchases. Participate in a local cleanup. You don’t have to make huge changes, but if everyone makes small positive changes it will have a huge impact.