January 28, 2016   Margaret Pommert


If you’re looking to get some sail training from a woman, you’re in luck! The Puget Sound region (and beyond) is loaded with fantastic female instructors who bring experience, expertise, and enthusiasm to the field of sailing education.  Enjoy reading about these incredible sailors and teachers, and hopefully you took advantage of some of the fun and educational women-specific seminars from these instructors and others during Women’s Day (February 1, 2016) at the Seattle Boat Show – women got in free that day.  For Women’s Day, Seattle Boat Show University offered a full-day course ($100) for women boaters: “Women’s Perspective: 101 Practical Tips for Safe and Fun Northwest Cruising” led by instructors Margaret Pommert and Linda Lewis.  That evening from 5:15 to 7:05 PM, show goers were inspired by the Northwest Women in Boating’s panel discussion featuring immensely qualified and experienced boaters, including Lisa Cole and Margaret Pommert (profiles here), as well as Karen Wong, Linda Polverari, and Cynthia Few.

 ace-spraggCaptain Carolyn “Ace” Spragg

School: Northwest Maritime Center, Port Townsend

Training offered: Intro to Sailing, US Sailing Basic Keelboat, Docking, Anchoring, Private lessons on your boat/ours, Night Navigation, Radar, Paper Charting

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “I started out sailing and boating as a kid on the Chesapeake Bay. Much of my knowledge was gained through trial and error in warm waters!  It was an incremental growth to bigger boats, more wind, longer voyages.  I asked a lot of questions, found good mentors, and practiced a lot.  I love the 10th time I do something…by then I’ve figured it out!”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “Find others to boat with, and then get out there as much as you can. Everything is less scary with practice, and with experience you can make small corrections earlier in a situation to keep it from becoming more extreme.  If you find that your spouse / partner / boating buddies are unable to teach you calmly, take lessons.  If it’s not fun, take lessons.  It’s a beautiful way to enjoy this part of the world!”


Profile+Anne+SmilingCaptain Anne Alberg

School: Captain Anne, Kirkland and San Juans

Training offered: Private Instruction on your boat, American Sailing Association (ASA) 101-104 certification

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “I started sailing with my brother’s family around age 10.  At age 24 I began to take care of my brother’s 45′ sailboat which included deliveries to Desolation Sound and back.  Today I have over 500 days on the water most often as Skipper.  My formal training includes American Sailing Association and training for my USCG captain license”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “Ready to get started or don’t have your own boat? A great way to experience the San Juan Islands and sailing is to sign up for Women’s only courses with San Juan Sailing/San Juan Yachting. Choose from weekend or weeklong live aboard.”


Beth-300x225Captain Beth Steinkoenig

School: Seattle Sailing Club, Seattle

Training offered: American Sailing Association certified instructor for: Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising, Bareboat Charter, Cruise N Learn, Coastal Navigation, Advanced Coastal Passage-making. Group and private lessons. On your boat or ours.

Her voyage; how she got her boating skills to where they are today: Beth started teaching sailing in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, in 1983. She has been instructing ever since in Colorado, San Diego, Bermuda, and many places in the Pacific Northwest. Beth loves to “share in her students’ new joy of sailing.” Certified by ASA, US Sailing, and the US Coast Guard, Beth has a degree in Recreation with a Washington State teaching certificate. Beth has sailed across the Atlantic and Pacific, off the Yucatan Peninsula, owned and lived aboard for 12 years, raised her son aboard, and enjoys most sailing with her son Nick, cat Tucker, and dog Captain on the Puget Sound.


elena-leonard-thCaptain Elena Leonard

School: Windworks Sailing & Powerboating, Seattle

Training offered: US Sailing certified instruction in Basic Keelboat, Basic Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, and Navigation, as well as specific skill building: docking, maneuvering in close quarters, crew-overboard drills, sail trim, etc

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “Passion and trust. I started sailing at the age of 11 and was hooked. It has not been a straight line, but it has been an incredible adventure. Though I’ve sailed the most in Puget Sound, I’ve been honored to have opportunities to sail in the Pacific and the Atlantic and in numerous seas.”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “Just do it. Every hour, every day on the water is a learning opportunity that can’t help but make you grow as a sailor. I still learn something every time I go sailing.”


llprheadCaptain Linda Lewis

School: Private Boating Instruction, Seattle

Training offered: On-the-water, on-your-powerboat Customized to build from your current skill level. Supportive; comprehensive; safety oriented; geared to enjoying your boating

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “Learned to sail blind-folded & found my passion; now powerboats; took every course available; joined groups that gave me the opportunity to practice my skills on the water; practiced long-term learning & skill building; let my passion drive my perseverance.”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “There are seven days in a week. And “someday” is not one of them.” Start now.


Lisa-ColeCaptain Lisa Cole

School: SheSails Seattle, Lake Union

Training offered: Introduction to Sailing, Sailing Basics, Beyond the Basics, Customized Lessons, Charters

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “When I decided as an adult that I wanted to take sailing more seriously, I embraced every sailing opportunity I could find. I took formal classes (traveling to Greece and the Caribbean for RYA certifications – because why not learn in the sun?), I joined a race team, I began cruising with different groups, I signed up to help with deliveries and I sailed my boat as often as I could. The year I got my Captain’s license, I was on the water more than 200 days.”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “Get on the water! Sail with different people on different boats. Ask questions. Remember, we were all beginners once.”


KellyCaptain Kelly Resvick Moloney

School: NautiKel Adventures, Parksville, B.C.

Training offered: A range of ISPA Certificate of Competency certificates from Competent Crew up to and including Yachtmaster Offshore, and Instructor courses. Also docking, sail trim, etc.

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “I started sailing when I was a girl at Sylvan Lake Alberta, took official ISPA training here in the PNW in 1996 by Kevin Wilson, before heading offshore in 2000 while homeschooling my boys. We put on 20,000 miles before heading back to Alberta for the boys high school. I then took over ISPA”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “Get a good mentor. Someone you trust and feel comfortable with.”


Captain-Kristin-Pederson-e1448658293395Captain Kristin Pederson

School: The Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle

Training offered: CWB offers learn to sail programs, private lessons, race clinics and a variety of maritime workshops including marlinspike classes, women’s beginning woodworking, and boatbuilding workshops.

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “I jumped on every training opportunity that came my way. I also challenge myself to continue learning and get outside my comfort zone. Recently this has meant that I have been seeking out more opportunities to race, since my sailing experience has mostly been cruising.”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “There are so many groups and resources in the area for boaters and women boaters. Join these groups, talk to people, stay active in the community and seek out opportunities to keep learning and stay involved. I’ve found the sailing community in Seattle to be incredibly supportive – you just have to take the first step and put yourself out there.”


MargaretCaptain Margaret Pommert

School: Seattle Boat Show University, Seattle

Training offered: Boat Show University full day course: A Woman’s Perspective: 101 Practical Tips for Safe and Fun Northwest Cruising. Monday, February 1, 2016

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “I took sailing lessons as teenager. Over the years, I sought out the best sailing instructors, and opportunities to sail on as many different types of boats, in as many different places… as often as possible. I enjoyed learning about boat systems as maintenance crew member for a sailing club. A certified sailing instructor and US Coast Guard licensed captain for many years… I still learn something every day on the water!”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “Learning boating from family, friends and the internet is helpful. But for most, it can only take you so far…and leaves gaps. If you’re serious about pursuing dreams of Northwest cruising, instruction from a well-qualified instructor can increase your capabilities, confidence, and enjoyment.”

Erley_010411Captain Nancy Erley

School: Tethys Offshore, Port Townsend

Training offered: Join Nancy Erley as one of three women learning crew aboard her beloved Orca 38 Tethys for 8 night live-aboard trips. Int’l Sail and Power Assoc. (ISPA) certification avail. Beginners welcome.

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “Luckily I found my passion for sailing at an early age and through Girl Scouts was able to pursue my dream. As an adult I sought boating and leadership experiences which culminated in realizing the dream of two circumnavigations as captain of my own boat, Tethys. There I found another passion – teaching women sailing skills and enriching the lives of women through sailing.”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “Take initiative and responsibility for your learning. Once you learn enough, the boat will teach you the rest. Every boat is a self contained adventure pod and life is so very short!”

PauletteCaptain Paulette Bergh

School: San Juan Sailing & Yachting, Bellingham

Training offered: On-the-water powerboat instruction, on one of our amotoryachts, or your own. Group classes or private lessons. Recreational Powerboating Association (RPBA) certification

My voyage; how I got my boating skills to where they are today: “My introduction to sailing came in 1984 when I took a course on Lake Superior so that I could charter, which I did on the Great Lakes and in the Caribbean. When I moved here, I began chartering , then teaching, with San Juan Sailing, and in 2005 achieved my USCG Captain’s License certification”

Advice to women boaters ready to take the “next step”: “I would suggest taking a “hands on” course.  The more information, the better when it comes to boating.  I find that often women come to my classes and have done a fair amount of reading, but lack the practical application.  Often taking a women-only course, without their “well-meaning” partner, allows them to focus on their own learning without the stress of having their partner there.  They are often excited to show their spouses all their new-found knowledge when they get off the boat! Additionally, one-third ownership of a Bavaria 34’ has provided me year-round sailing adventures”