Our 2017 Award Winners

Every year, Tall Ships America and our member community recognize those who have made a difference this past year. Here are our 2017 Sail Training Award Winners.

This year, we presented the Leadership Award for the first time. It is awarded to member of Tall Ships America who has made a significant contribution to sail training through the demonstration of leadership at executive or senior levels, and whose impact has been felt by the sail training community at large, beyond that of their own organization. For more information on the below awards criteria, go to our website.

Volunteer of the Year – Nelson Chin (award accepted by Captain Richard Dorfman)

Volunteer of the Year Nelson Chin 2017

Sail Trainer of the Year – Captain Jennifer Haddock

Sail Trainer of the Year Jen Haddock

Leadership Award – Captain Peg Brandon

Leadership Award Peg Brandon

Sea Education Program – NOAA Basic Officer Training Class aboard USCGC Eagle

Sea Education Program NOAA EAGLE

Sail Training Program – Bermuda Sloop Foundation and Spirit of Bermuda

Sail Training Program Bermuda

Special Recognition – Lori Aguiar

Special Recognition Lori Aguiar

Port of the Year – Sail Boston

Port of the Year Sail Boston

Lifetime Achievement Award – Captain Phil Watson, Schooner Bluenose II (photo credit Alan Creaser)

Phil Watson photo alan creaser



2017 Sail Training Awards: Call for Nominations!

2016 Sail Training Program- Marimed/MAKANI OLU

Each year at the Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships, Tall Ships America honors a select group of sail trainers and supporters for their outstanding contributions to the world of sail training. Candidates are nominated by the membership and the final winners are selected by the Tall Ships America Board of Directors and Staff.

Award categories are (descriptions are on our website):

Lifetime Achievement
Sail Trainer of the Year
Sail Training Program of the Year
Sea Education Program of the Year
Volunteer of the Year

All members in good standing are eligible to nominate candidates for the 2017 Sail Training Awards.  (Nominees must be current members of Tall Ships America)

Email your nominations with supporting documents to Lori Aguiar, Director of Operations, lori@tallshipsamerica.org

or mail to Tall Ships America
Attn: Lori Aguiar
PO Box 1459
Newport, RI 02840.

Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2017.

View past award recipients on our website

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Snow at the Seaport

Raise your hand if you sailed in Harvey Gamage
Raise your hand if you sailed in Harvey Gamage

Our conference started off on a high note with the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl. The low came during the middle of the week when Boston was hit by a doozy of a snow storm stranding several people at airports. But, and thank goodness for technology, we were able to Skype in speakers and shuffle around a few sessions to accommodate late arrivals. As long as there is coffee, sailors are nothing if not amenable to a few fluctuations in a plan.

And so, we gathered in snowy Boston to discuss that which we love best – sailing, sail training and tall ships. Once again, we were able to offer Crew Grants funded through the Liz Strojny Memorial Fund. We had people from as far away as Hawaii (sorry for the snow, guys!) make the trek to join us. You can view the agenda here and photos are posted on our flickr page.

On the last night of the conference, Prom Night, we had our annual TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE(r) Awards and Sail Training Awards. All of the winners were nominated by their peers. During some the presentations, it was hard to keep your composure as the accolades of the recipients were read out loud. Hearing how these people and programs have changed lives is incredibly inspiring and renews our passion for sail training and tall ships. Below is a list of the winners – Congratulations to everyone! Continue reading

Support Your Fellow Sailors – updated


Needless to say, it’s been a doozy of a November. With all the negativity surrounding us over the past few weeks, let’s do something good. Let’s come together and nominate people for doing an amazing job this year. Show your support for your tall ship community by nominating someone in the following categories:

Lifetime Achievement
Sail Trainer of the Year
Sail Training Program of the Year
Sea Education Program of the Year
Volunteer of the Year

Criteria and guidelines are on our website. Did a program knock your socks off? Were you blown away by someone in the tall ship community? Nominate them! Don’t be shy, be bold and make a sailor’s day. The deadline for nominations is Thursday, December 1st. [Update: The deadline is now Friday, January 6th, 2017]



Global Applause – Part Three: The Gala

Awards Dinner Photo Credit Sail Training International
Awards Dinner
Photo Credit Sail Training International

We have traditionally ended our conferences with our annual Awards Night Gala Dinner or, unofficially, Prom Night. It marks the end of a hectic week and allows the attendees to dress up in their best attire and get down on the dance floor. It is always a good time. This year, we had the gorgeous ballroom of the Frontenac Hotel as a backdrop to two special award presentations. Continue reading

Global Applause – Part 2

Youth Council and Nancy Richardson Photo Credit Sail Training International
Youth Council and Nancy Richardson
Photo Credit Sail Training International

This year we continued our successful crew grant program which, combined with Sail Training International’s Youth Council and their own bursary fund, meant that there was a strong contingent of young minds running around and contributing to our sessions. For the more experienced crew members, it meant that they were able to attend at a nominal cost, furthering their professional development. For our U.S. attendees, grants were generously funded by USMMA Foundation, United States Maritime Resource Center and the Liz Strojny Memorial Fund. Continue reading

Global Applause- Part 1

Frontenac exterior cannons_Photo by MAX

And so they came from all over the world to icy, beautiful, historic, Quebec City. We are currently holed up at Tall Ships America HQ, weathering the latest winter storm and catching up on all things sail training. It is hard to believe, that after two years of planning and anticipation, our annual conference is over. It was, in a word, awesome. Sailors, sail trainers and tall ship enthusiasts from all parts of the globe (over 450 delegates! Our largest conference ever!)  converged at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac to discuss what we love best – sailing, tall ships and sharing our passion for both of those things. The last time we hosted a joint conference with our European counterparts, Sail Training International, was in 2008. For those of us who attended in Halifax, we knew what to expect and we weren’t disappointed. It is utterly fascinating to speak to other people about sail training. While fundamentally we are all about the ships and getting people on board those ships, the cultural differences in the approaches and the new ideas we heard are what make these joint conferences so valuable. If you missed it, presentations will be up on the blog next week (it will be announced). Some presentations were filmed. Continue reading