Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award

Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award Image

At the 2024 National Women’s Sailing Conference, BoatU.S. and the National Women’s Sailing Association honored Jerelyn Biehl – SCIRA Executive Director – with the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award.

“Jerelyn Biehl has taken on roles that assisted in assuring quality education and fairness in racing, with the goal of attracting more women to the variety of competitive Olympic classes or getting recreational boaters to stretch their comfort zone,” noted NWSA president Debby Grimm.

Biehl has supported women’s and girls’ sailing for more than 40 years at the local, national, and international levels. She has also served as a board member of the California International Sailing Association (CISA), which held an annual advanced racing clinic and helped to ensure there were female coaches and instructors to encourage and teach high-level sailing skills to girls.

She worked to create more recognition and support for girls’ racing in the 29er class, which eventually led to a change in the requirements for the Youth Sailing World Championship which had been too restrictive. Around the same time, she was involved in the process for including a women’s skiff to complement the men’s skiff in the Olympics.

In 2019, as the second female commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club, Biehl made a concerted effort to promote women’s involvement that year. The majority of club committees were chaired by women, and she introduced a “Sail with the Commodore” series that helped train women who had never raced or had little racing experience. The program also trained and encouraged 130 women to take their boats to Catalina Island for the club’s first women’s cruise.

She was also involved with the 49erFX Class Association, served as CISA president and board member, was on the US Sailing Olympic Sailing Committee, and was US Sailing interim vice president.

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