March 2015
Chatting with the Commodore

Valerie Rhodes, Commodore

When I first started looking for a local women's sailing organization to join last year, I was surprised that there were no active groups in the Orange County area. I had heard of WORSA but was disappointed to learn that the group had been inactive for a couple of years. After several months of talking to people, I became convinced that there was both a need and a desire to see this group become active once again. 


Since our initial strategy/planning meeting in January, we have held 2 more well-attended general meetings, hosted on-the-water events, elected a terrific new board and generated media coverage. it's clear we are on the right track. The membership numbers continue to climb and our March meeting was attended by about 50 members, many brand new! It's evident there is an enormous pent-up demand for an association dedicated to supporting women who want to grow in the sport of sailing. 


As you will read further down in this newsletter, to better serve our members and our community, we are expanding the mission of this group to support women sailors of all stripes; racers, cruisers, day-sailors and novices. We are also committed to supporting our local community through programs that introduce at-risk youth to sailing and providing education about protecting our marine environment.


In the coming weeks, we will be rolling out more information about exciting new programs and events and ways you can participate. After careful consideration and much discussion amongst members, the membership voted at the March general meeting to change our name to Women's Sailing Association-Orange County (WSA-OC) to better reflect our broader purpose and project a more inclusive name to the sailing community. Discussions are already underway to collaborate with our sister WSA groups on new events later in the year. Keep track of the latest news via our Facebook page!  


Happy sailing, Valerie


Sailing Forward

One of the most emotional topics of our March meeting was whether or not to change our name from Women's Ocean Racing Sailing Association to Women's Sailing Association - Orange County. The floor was opened for members to voice their opinion. Several members offered heartfelt input

Photo by Tracy Gallucci

on why they felt the change was or wasn't necessary. Ultimately, after all of the votes were counted, the membership voted by a 70% to 30% margin to change our name to WSA-OC. 

It can be difficult making changes to an institution with a history as long as WORSA's but we plan to roll this change out gradually.  Don't be surprised if you see and/or hear both names for a while. We here at WORSA, umm, WSA-OC will continue to preserve the respected reputation of WORSA while evolving to meet the needs of today's sailing community. 
March General Meeting Was Packed!

The March general meeting was a busy one with a full agenda. Lots of club business was conducted including various committee reports and the vote to change our name. The main attraction though, was our guest speaker, Daniel Sipes. As many of you know, Sipes rode out the Avalon Complex storm that hit Catalina Island on December 30, 2014 aboard his 34' powerboat Tamara

Leading up to his recounting of the storm, Sipes gave us a brief history of his life on the water via a slide presentation. He began his sea life as a sailor and regaled us with his voyage from San Diego to Hawaii on his sailboat. Sipes has since turned to the dark side as a powerboater (kidding!). This is actually a topic of one of his slides; it doesn't matter what type of vessel you're in whilst you're out on the water, but that we're out there and sharing our experiences. Sipes and his family are frequent visitors to Catalina Island, in fact it's their favorite place to visit via their boat.

Daniel Sipes pointing to where his boat was almost moored

Some of his biggest take-aways from such a harrowing experience are ones that, most likely, should be a part of our regular routine before/while on the water. 
  • Ultimately, owners/skippers are responsible for their vessel as well as their guests and/or crew;
  • Have an abandon ship plan;
  • If in an exposed area, secure to multiple moorings;
  • Check chafing gear frequently;
  • Never place yourself between boats, even at slow speeds, the force is extreme;
  • And as always, plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Sipes experience during Avalon Complex prompted many questions; mostly "Why did this happen?" and "How can I be better prepared?" In Sipes recounting of events there is a good chance that a piece of his story may save a life in the future. Knowledge really is power! For those of you who may not have read his first-hand account of the storm you can read it here. It is a must-read.

This & That
  • Do you have a thirst for history? If so, we are in need of a Club Historian(s).
    Club members Bill McNamara and Wendy Carr chatting at March Meeting
    One of the duties would be scanning and uploading photos, but more importantly bringing the past to life and helping to develop the timeline of WORSA. Contact us via email if you are interested.
  • Did you know we have a Facebook page? Make sure you "like" us. This is a good place to interact with our members and other sailing folks. Facebook currently represents our most current content, as we are in the process of overhauling the club website.
  • We also have a brand new Instagram account, reflecting our new name. This is an app you need to download via your mobile device. Our username is: WSAOC. Make sure you hashtag your photos #wsaoc or tag us @wsaoc on your photo. More importantly, give us a follow!
  • Give yourselves a pat-on-the-back - we're up to 71 paid-in-full members!  We've had a membership increase of 142% in one month! Let's not stop now. We want 100 members by the April meeting. Spread the word; you can join here. 
  • The new name tags and membership cards are a work in progress. We hope to have the details (cost, how to acquire, etc.) to present to you during the April general meeting. 
April Meeting


Date:                 Tuesday, April 7th

Time:                  7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Location:           Aventura Sailing Association

                24707 Dana Drive

                      Dana Point, CA 92629


Guest Speaker: Annie MacAulay, President CEO Mountain & Sea Educational Adventures


Annie MacAulay will be speaking about the various programs that Mountain & Sea Adventures have to offer. Her presentation will primarily focus on "imparting a passion for stewarding the marine environment particularly to youth."


MSA operates mountain and ocean camps in five different locations in southern California including Emerald Bay and Two Harbors on Catalina Island.  MSA's vision is to not just to teach field biology to children, but to provide exciting experiences to build personal character through marine, land, and human interface. They've been conducting environmental education workshops and camps for over 20 years with an unwavering passion for seeing youth grow in their character and become better stewards of the environment.

The meeting will also include discussion about a proposed new WSAOC initiative, the Ocean Awareness Challenge, being spearheaded in part by Susan Campbell.


Upcoming Events


WSAOC has a current calendar of events posted on our website. Here are a few events to add to your calendar:


Anchors Away Youth Sailing Regatta 

Sunday, April 19th (approx. 12:00 - 5:00 p.m.)
Bring a dish to  share for the BBQ or bring your friendly dog to play with the kids. We are also looking for  skippers to host a boat full of kids for the regatta.  


Email Susie Campbell if you'd like to help with the BBQ

Email Midge Patrick if you can skipper or crew on a boat


WORSA Safety on the Water Training Click here for flyer

Saturday, May 9th 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. 

Increase your skills and take advantage of this free hands-on safety training. This training is appropriate for all skill levels including beginners. WSA-OC members Susie Campbell and Lisa Doliva are volunteering their time, knowledge and boats. Space is limited so please RSVP to Gabi Schwaiger by April 7th. 


Day Sail from Dana Point to The Cannery in Newport 

Sunday, June 14th  8:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m. 

Let's all cruise up to Newport for to enjoy a day on the water. We'll leave Dana Point early Sunday morning, dock at The Cannery, enjoy lunch together and enjoy a downwind sail home. More details to follow. RSVP to Gabi Schwaiger if you'd like to skipper your boat or if you would like a spot on someone else's boat.



WORSA/WSA-OC In the News

Myrna Welsh at the helm as seen in the February edition of
The Log, page 26
The new Board of Directors as seen in the March edition of The Log

Scuttlebutt Sailing News covered our re-launch

Newsletter Editor: Tracy Gallucci

Women's Ocean Racing Sailing Association
P.O. Box 2403
Newport Beach, CA 92665