Bringing together Virgin Islands women

Published on September 26th, 2023

To get more women on the water and enjoy the sport of sailing, the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (VIOC) member association, which represents the sport of sailing in the territory, will host the Coaching & Mentoring Women’s Sailing Course at the St. Thomas Yacht Club (STYC) on October 27-29, 2023.

Seven women each from St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John will participate in the three-day event for a combination of hands-on sailing in IC24s and onshore discussions and networking opportunities. The program is funded through an Olympic Solidarity Grant, plus funds from VISA, VIOC, STYC, and World Sailing, the sport’s global governing body. VISA is the USVI’s Member National Authority to World Sailing.

“For more than a decade, World Sailing and the International Olympic Committee have focused on including women in all aspects of the sport with a goal of equal representation,” said Juliet San Martin, VISA president and course organizer. “The Caribbean is leading the way as women run most of the regattas, large and small, and many yacht clubs have women commodores.

“Introductory sailing programs are often coached by women throughout the region. Women captain and crew sail and motor vessels throughout the territory as well as captain deliveries to and from the U.S. mainland. This program brings together Virgin Islands women actively engaged in these activities, introduces them to the other aspects of the sport, and builds a support network.”

The Coaching & Mentoring Women’s Sailing Course will be led by Rebecca Ellis, an experienced and qualified UK-based World Sailing Coach developer. Ellis has spent the past two decades training others from beginners to instructors and coaching at regional, national, and international levels. Discussion topics will include how to attract more women and girls to try sailing, the difference between instructing and coaching, how to develop coaching skills, and how to meet the needs of the female athlete.

“I am very excited that VISA is again hosting an Olympic Solidarity course with a focus on women in sailing,” notes Lyn Reid, past VISA Treasurer and past VIOC Secretary-General. “The timing is right for the emphasis to now be on the development of women in a sport that is an integral part of our lives in the Virgin Islands.”

For more information, contact San Martin at (340) 690-9040,, or visit

Source: Carol Bareuther

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