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"Unlocking Success: Key Takeaways from the 2024 Annual Meeting of the FWSA hosted by the Rhumb Runners at Isla Del Sol Yacht Club."


The beautiful waters outside the windows of Isla Del Sol Yacht Club provided the perfect background for the FWSA's Annual Meeting on May 16, 2024. Sailors were greeted at the registration table by members of the host club, The Rhumb Runners. After registration, they mingled and chatted until Captain Joy Sheets called the meeting to order at 10:00 am.

Captain Joy gave a big welcome to all members and a special welcome to the Windward Women of Halifax Sailing Association, who were attending their 2nd FWSA meeting. The officers, committee chairs, and club representatives gave year-end reports. Co-chairs Lynn Randall and Anne Chotkowski presented the Long-Range Plan for 2024-2029.

Carol Hanson of the Broad Reachers and Salty Sisters appeared on Zoom from Italy to receive the Lilly Kaighin Award, a round of applause and a standing ovation by all FWSA members and guests. Fran Mericle approached the podium next to introduce her committee and the Young Women Sailor of the Year Award. This year's recipient nominated by the Salty Sisters was Dorothy Mendenblatt of St Petersburg High School.

Captain Joy then presented the slate of FWSA officers for the 2024-2025 season. Captain Jennifer Anderson of the Salty Sisters, Vice Captain Pam Miller of the Bitter Ends, Secretary Rosemary McMullen of the Luffing Lassies, and Treasurer Carol Hanson of the Broad Reachers. Voting was held, and the slate was approved. Captain Joy recognized her officers and committee chairs with a gift of a wine glass celebrating the 50th anniversary of the FWSA. Vice Captain Jennifer Anderson thanked Captain Joy for a great year as Captain, and she was given a Gill sailing jacket embroidered with her name, the president's charm, and two bottles of red wine. The annual meeting was adjourned and a beautiful lunch was served as the FWSA's 50th anniversary Sail-a-bration year came to a close.

Author, Marge Whiteman, Bitter Ends

2024-25 Officers: Rosemary McMullen Secretary, Pam Miller Vice-Captain, Jennifer Anderson Captain. Missing Carol Hanson, Treasurer.


Lilly Kaighin Award Winner

In October of 1999, Lilly Kaighin’s family executed a Deed of Gift and Trust Agreement providing a perpetual trophy in the memory of Lilly Kaighin, a past president of FWSA.


This trophy is to be awarded to a member (deserving of recognition) for exemplifying any of the following qualities: leadership, motivation, organization, involvement, good sportsmanship, or contributing to the social aspect of sailing for either the FWSA or a member club.

Carol Hansen, Broad Reacher & Salty Sisters, FWSA Treasurer

How do you describe the value of Carol to every organization of which she has been a part?  For the Salty Sisters and Broad Reachers who have been around her and have collaborated with her, Carol is The Indispensable, Irreplaceable Woman.  Who do we call when we need to get a job done?  It is Carol.  What would we do without her?   Thank goodness we have not had to answer that question.


Carol has served as a member of the Board, Treasurer, Co-Captain, and Captain of both the Salty Sisters, where she was Captain in 2014-15, and Broad Reachers, where she was Captain in 2016-17 and served again in 2022-2023. She also, both before and after serving in the highest leadership position in each club, continues to serve as a tireless worker, chairing committees, devoting countless hours to mentoring and helping with the education of newer sailors, producing photographs, and writing monthly articles on the clubs’ activities for the St. Pete Yacht Club’s magazine, and pitching in wherever help is needed.


For the past seven years, Carol has chaired and co-chaired the annual St. Pete Yacht Club Christmas Boutique, corralling vendors, volunteers, and participants to grow an event that has raised tens of thousands of dollars to fund summer sailing camp scholarships for hundreds of kids from the local YMCA.  Carol’s work on behalf of the community extends beyond her support for kids’ sailing.  For years, she has served on the Board and as Treasurer of the nonprofit Music Sweet Music, which provides music therapists to support individuals ranging from kids with autism and cancer to veterans and other adults with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.  Carol’s list of activities is too long to include here, but one of her special interests should bring a smile to the lips of all who love the sea. Year after year, she sponsors the protection of sea turtle nests, and in 2022 alone helped ensure that 197 “grandchildren” made it into the world!


Carol, for many years, has chaired and organized one of the opening regattas of the FWSA sailing season: the annual Commodore Lucas Cup Regatta, hosted each October by the Broad Reachers in Pass-A-Grille.  Carol has served as second and first delegates to FWSA from both the Salties and Broad Reachers, and she served FWSA directly as Member-At-Large (2013-14), Budget Chair (2013-14), Treasurer (2017-20 and2022-2024) and President (2020-21).   


Beyond Carol’s record of accomplishments and the offices she holds, she brings a special dimension to every organization she touches.  One FWSA officer described Carol as follows: “She is a task master working behind the scenes and always willing to help.  She has a winning personality.  She has the ability to avoid background noise and bring people together to accomplish the mission.”  And Carol always makes sure we have fun along the way.  When Salty Sailing activities shut down every summer, Carol runs the hilarious “Summer Olympics” in the yacht club’s Tiki Deck pool.  When COVID ended most in-person gatherings over late spring, summer, and fall of 2020, Carol invented “Salty Bingo,” producing a fill-in-the-Bingo-card activity list with her assistant, Alexa, randomly picking each day’s activities.  Her template was used by the Dinghy Dames to create their own version of “Dingo.” For each club, it served as an online gathering place for members to stay in touch and share experiences throughout a difficult period of separation.  Carol currently serves as the official Salty Sisters Humor Queen, producing belly laugh-inducing jokes to close out our Wednesday lunch meetings.


The Salty Sisters have two separate awards, considered the highest awards that can be given to any Salty.  One is the Salty Sisters Spirit Trophy, given annually to the Salty who deserves recognition for “exemplifying the following qualities:  contribution to the social aspect of sailing, good sportsmanship, leadership, organization, motivation, involvement, and attendance.” Carol was awarded this honor in 2012.  The other is the Optimist Memorial Trophy, given to the Salty, who best exemplifies the spirit of eternal optimism in “achieving or attempting to achieve personal goals through exceptional character, as demonstrated on the water and in her life in the context of being a Salty Sister.”  Carol was awarded this honor in 2017.


Finally, while the sheer love of sailing is not a criterion for the Lilly Kaighin or other awards mentioned above, it is an essential part of Carol’s makeup — whether in a pram, Sunfish, 420, Ideal 18, or Sonar.  Carol is always up for sailing, even though she often plays hurt and bloody!   She is at the dock when the first boat is launched, and she is there until the last boat is put away.  On the water, she is her own special mix of competitiveness, enthusiasm, and patience when helping newer sailors — and there are many who have benefited from her support.

For these reasons, the Salty Sisters and Broad Reachers are proud to nominate Carol Hansen for the 2024 Lilly Kaighin Award.

Valerie Massingill, Captain, Salty Sisters, Audrey Orgo, Salty Sisters 1st Delegate, Juliet Clark, Sailing Captain, Broad Reachers and Katie Rodgers, Broad Reachers, 1st Delegate.


Today, at the annual meeting, FWSA recognized an Outstanding Female Sailor.


The Young Women Sailor of the Year Award winner is

Dorothy Mendelblatt.


Nominated by the Salty Sisters

Above pictured from left to right are Fran Mericle, YWSYA Chair, Dorothy Mendelblatt award receiver, Joy Sheets FWSA President and Windlass, Audrey Orgo and Valerie Massingill Salty Sisters

Tampa, FL: Florida Women’s Sailing Association on the west coast of Florida has promoted women in sailing since 1973. One of the most significant ways they promote women in sailing is through their annual Young Woman Sailor of the Year Award. This prestigious award signifies accomplishment within the sport of sailing as well as a monetary award that helps the sailor continue their sailing career. This year’s award is given to Dorothy Mendelblatt of St Petersburg, FL, for her impressive abilities on the water. 

Dorothy grew up in the St Petersburg sailing community.  She first sailed an Opti as a Pre-kindergartener. As her sailing skills advanced, Dorothy moved from the Opti to a Laser and then to the Nacra 15.  She has sailed all over the country and the world.

Dorothy grew up in a sailing family, and her father, uncle, and grandfather are all accomplished competitive sailors.  She has distinguished herself in the competitive sport of sailing.  Beginning in 2018, Dorothy has competed in Volvo British Nationals 2018, the Magic Marine Easter Regatta in the Netherlands 2018, IODA North American Championship 2019, USODA National Team 2019-2020, ILCA 4 National Championship 2021 7th Place, ILCA 6 Cressy Qualifier 2021 6th place, Nacra 15 US Sailing Youth Championship 2021 3rd place, Nacra 15 US Open 2022 1st place, Nacra 15 Youth Worlds 2022, 9th place, ILCA 6 Cressy Qualifiers 2023 2nd place, 2023 ILCA 6 Cressy Nationals 7th place.  Dorothy has also been Captain of the St Petersburg High School sailing team for the past 2 years.

Dorothy is a graduating senior at St Petersburg High School in the International Baccalaureate Program with a 4.5 GPA. According to her mother Amy, Dorothy is “driven and will always take the challenging route over the easy one”. Her parents support her sailing dreams but it has always been Dorothy’s choice to compete at National and International levels. Dorothy volunteered at the St Petersburg Sailing Center until she was 16 when she became a US Certified Sailing Coach.  She has helped kids in the SPYC sailing classes each summer.  Dorothy states that winning this award will encourage her to do more impressive sailing in the future such as winning the College National Sailing Championships.  Her ultimate goal is to become an All-American Skipper.  Dorothy will be attending Yale University in the fall and sailing on their team.

The Award Committee, Fran Mericle, Luffing Lassie and Co-Chair Ann Carroll, Bitter Ends, Carroll McClain, Mainsheet Mama, Nancy Vildibill Salty Sister, Chansi Harrow, Dinghy Dames.


About FWSA: Founded in 1973 to promote and encourage the growth of women's sailing groups along the West coast of Florida, the FWSA functions to:

  • Encourage the sport of women's interclub yacht racing.

  • Foster and encourage social fellowships pertaining to all things nautical between member clubs and similar associations.

  • Improve communication between clubs.

  • Forward and advance sailing in all its phases through education and sailing clinics.

  • Promote and coordinate interclub, match team racing, and other sailing events for and between its members under uniform rules.

Currently, there are eleven member clubs with more than four hundred women racing once a week in their respective sailing clubs on both Florida’s West and East Coasts.  Membership is open, and FWSA welcomes additional sailing clubs.

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