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(L to R) Scottie Robinson Conference Co-Chair, 2015 Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award honoree Sally Helme. Linda Newland Women’s Sailing Foundation President and Joan Thayer Conference Co-Chair. Photo Credit Susan Ogan.

Sally Helme Honored with Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award

Sally Helme, of Newport, RI and publisher of Bonnier Corp.’s Cruising World and Sailing World magazines, has been honored with the 2015 Leadership in Women's Sailing Award. Presented by National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) and Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the honor recognizes an individual with a record of achievement in inspiring, educating, and enriching the lives of women through sailing. The award was presented this weekend at the NWSA Annual Conference in Marblehead, MA.

“Sally is a widely recognized leader in the sailing industry and she has effectively supported women in all aspects of sailing throughout her life,” said NWSA President Linda Newland. “She has made a significant impact on the business of sailing and how the roles of women in sailing are viewed. We are pleased to recognize her commitment to women in sailing with this award.”

Added Newland, “As a young woman, Sally sailed for her college team and subsequently began to get more involved, eventually earning seats on several boards and committees that support and promote sailing, particularly for women.”  Helme also worked with Offshore Sailing School CEO Doris Colgate to create and sponsor NWSA’s Take the Helm series of women’s educational and networking events. 

“I have always believed that women can have a significant impact on our industry, and it’s been my goal to spread that idea and encourage more efforts to meet the needs of this very important market,” said Helme. “I have also always valued what sailing can bring to our lives -- providing a wonderful escape, instilling a sense of confidence and self-reliance, and simply offering cherished time on the water with friends and family.”

Inside the marine industry Helme remains a role model for women. Climbing the corporate ladder to the pinnacle of two very widely read and respected sailing magazines, Helme was the first female publisher in the sailing industry. She advocated for positive depictions of women in the magazines, showing them in leadership roles on boats, on boards, in competitions, and in photos and articles to inspire and illustrate the many challenging aspects of sailing. “She works to inspire and lead women to enjoy sailing as much as she does,” said Newland.

Helme is a past president of Sail America, the trade association for the US sailing industry that plays a vital role for all sailing-related products and services companies. She has served on the boards of Sail Newport and US Sailing, and is currently a vice president of Marine Marketers of America. Helme was also a founding member of International Women in Boating, a marine industry professional-development organization for women. In 2011 Helme was honored with the Sail Magazine Industry Leadership Award, and in 2014, the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association Anchor Award.  

About National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA):

NWSA is a program of the Women’s Sailing Foundation, a 501(c)(3) educational organization, whose mission is to enhance the lives of women and girls through education and access to the sport of sailing. Visit

About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):

BoatUS is the nation¹s largest organization of recreational boaters with over a half million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We help ensure a roadside breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins, and on the water, we bring boaters safely back to the launch ramp or dock when their boat won’t, day or night. The BoatUS insurance program gives boat owners the specialized coverage and superior service they need, and we help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the non-profit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit



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