Nearly four decades ago, Linda Newland, a greenhorn sailor, found herself alone on a sailboat with a sorry lack of nautical know-how. She became determined not to have the humbling event define her sailing. Now with thousands of Pacific Ocean and Pacific Northwest sailing miles under her keel, Newland made that lonely day on the water a turning point on her journey to competency, racing, record-setting and leadership among women sailors.
Along with a newly formed crew of women sailor friends, Newland began to organize events to hone and share her newfound skills with other women. She thus laid the foundation for Island Yacht Club’s Women’s Sailing Seminar, now in its 30th year, a testament to its popularity and demand.
Now BoatUS and the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) are honoring Linda with the 2022 Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award. The annual award recognizes an individual for educating and enriching the lives of women through sailing.
IYC’s nomination sought to honor Newland’s “decades of achievement and serving as a shining star for thousands of women,” said Ros de Vries, commodore of the Alameda-based club. “Linda’s experience and her contributions to the sport of sailing are indeed exemplary, and indeed her own. The pathways she has created continue to inspire and empower women who sail,” she added.
Linda holds the fastest female singlehanded San Francisco-to-Japan record. She is a two-time Los Angeles-to-Honolulu Transpac competitor as well as a Pacific Cup veteran. In the 1997 Transpac aboard her own boat, Newland skippered an all-women crew to a second-place division finish.
In 1980, under her previous name, Linda Weber-Rettie, she completed the Singlehanded Transpacific Yacht Race from San Francisco Bay to Hanalei Bay on Rough & Rettie, her Yamaha 33. In 1986, on Predator, a 28-ft Hawkfarm, Linda competed in the same race against her new husband, Dan Newland.
A 100-ton merchant marine license holder, Newland teaches sailing and is a certified American Sailing Association instructor. She has served as secretary for Recreational Boaters of Washington, which represents recreational boaters’ interests in Washington legislative and regulatory actions. She’s also a past commander and now assistant squadron education officer of the Point Wilson Sail and Power Squadron in Port Townsend, Washington. A long-standing board member of NWSA, she has served as vice president, president and co-chair of the AdventureSail committee.
“On Friday, June 17, the NWSA will award the 2022 Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award to Linda Newland,” says Ros. “Join us on Zoom as this award is announced. We’ll also enjoy women sailors telling authentic sailing stories.”
Newland will receive the award at the IYC Northern California Women’s Sailing Seminar on September 10-11 at Afterguard Sailing Academy in Oakland, after completing a long-delayed Alaska cruise with her husband Dan and family pets Nubs the cat and Tutu the bird.