Sheila McCurdy of Middletown, R.I., received the BoatUS/National Women’s Sailing Association 2018 Leadership in Women’s Sailing award at the NWSA Women’s Sailing Conference last Saturday in Marblehead, Mass. The award recognizes an individual with a record of achievement in inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of women through sailing.
“Sheila McCurdy exemplifies a leader in the sailing world by serving as a mentor, teacher and role model for women entering the sport and also for those expanding their sailing skills,” said NWSA president Linda Newland, who presented the award.
McCurdy grew up in a sailing family in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island, New York. “It’s just what I do,” said McCurdy. She has sailed all sizes of boats with family and friends and skippers her own boat, Selkie, a 38-foot sloop designed by her father Jim McCurdy.
She has sailed more than 100,000 miles offshore including a passage from the Galapagos to the Marquesas in 2014, the 2015 Transatlantic Race and 17 Newport Bermuda races—skippering to second place in class and fourth overall in 2016. In 2017, McCurdy cruised the west coast of Sweden and then sailed from Spain to the Azores.
McCurdy is a trustee of the Mystic Seaport Museum, serves on the board of Ida Lewis Yacht Club and was the first female commodore of the Cruising Club of America. She also served as a director of US Sailing Association where she ran the national faculty for 13 years. She was an advisor to the US Naval Academy Sailing program for 20 years. She maintains a position on the Advisory Council of the National Women’s Sailing Association, writes and lectures on education and training, runs safety training courses and certifies instructors for the U.S. Sailing Association. McCurdy holds a 100-ton master’s license and a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island.