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Small Stuff - August 2006

Sail America names new executive director

Jonathan Banks is the new executive director of Sail America.

Banks, a marketing consultant with an extensive background in the marine industry, started in the position in early July.

“Jonathan brings a boatload of marketing and organizational skills to our organization, as well as charm, charisma and a vision that mirrors that of the board,” says Sail America president Bill Bolin.

“Given the important mission of Sail America, and the ever-changing challenges and opportunities facing the marine industry, I will do my best to bring strong leadership, direction and unity to Sail America and the sailing industry,” says Banks.

He brings more than 20 years of experience in international business management with leading companies in the marine, electric vehicle, automotive, sporting goods, and telecommunications industries. Previously, he was director of marketing for Vectrix Corp. in Newport, R.I., a leading developer of zero-emission personal transportation products; vice president of sales and marketing at Thule, in Seymour, Conn., the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of roof rack systems; and marine market manager at New England Ropes in Fall River, Mass. He also held various management roles with two of the United Kingdom’s leading telecommunications companies, British Telecom and Cable & Wireless.

Banks has extensive sailing experience on all types of boats from dinghies to megayachts. He grew up sailing on the south coast of England. He twice won the U.K. National Championships in the MG Spring class and competed in regattas in Europe and the Caribbean.

From 1991 to 1994 he was the captain of Tenareze, a Swan 57, on a circumnavigation of the world. Since moving to the United States in 1995, he has been actively involved in cruising and one-design racing.


Sailing instructor awarded honors

Nancy Erley, a Seattle-based sailing instructor and two-time circumnavigator, has been presented with the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award at the fifth annual Women’s Sailing Conference held at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass.

Sponsored by BoatU.S. and the National Women’s Sailing Association, the award honors a man or woman “who has built a record of achievement in inspiring, educating and enriching the lives of women through sailing.”

Elaine Dickinson of BoatU.S., who presented the award June 3, said Erley’s “ocean voyaging, circumnavigations and women’s sailing school have brought unique learning opportunities — as well as inspiration — to hundreds of women. She’s living proof that one can live their dream with hard work and clear focus.”

Erley holds a 50-ton master of oceans and 100-ton master near coastal license and is an instructor-evaluator for the International Sail and Power Association. She led two all-women voyages from Seattle around the world aboard her Orca 38 sailboat Tethys, which one boating writer called a voyage “that should go down in the record books as one of the soundest, most seamanlike journeys of the modern cruising era.”

As founder of Tethys Offshore Sailing for Women in Seattle, Erley teaches women beginning sailing up to captaining skills, either on learning cruises or individually.