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Thursday, July 7, 2011
AdventureSail helps women take the helm

By Elaine K. Howley

Doris Colgate had a challenge for fellow sailing aficionados.

She issued it while delivering the keynote address at the National Women's Sailing Association (NWSA) annual sailing conference. Colgate, 69, CEO and president of Offshore Sailing School and the NWSA's founder, asked the women assembled to not just embrace sailing for themselves, but to share that passion with those around them.

"To me, sailing is freedom. It's empowerment. It's challenging and it's relaxing and exhilarating," Colgate said.

"If sailing is a passion that you feel deeply, I wonder what you're doing to share that passion with your family or any woman or man who gets in your way?" she asked.

Colgate has earned the right to ask pointed questions. Not only did she write the book on sailing for women -- literally -- as the author of "Sailing: A Woman's Guide" (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, 1999), but in founding the NWSA, Colgate wanted to give other women a chance to experience some of the opportunities the sport and "sailing lifestyle" have afforded her over the past 45 years.

The year after creating the NWSA, Colgate founded AdventureSail, an educational program for underprivileged girls that offers the opportunity to experience the freedom and self-esteem sailing provides.

In partnering with other non-profit organizations like Big Sisters and Girls, Inc., AdventureSail has introduced at-risk girls to a sport that could give them confidence, a broader perspective on life and new ideas about what they might achieve one day.

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