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Lahaina sailor Nancy Goode wins Yachtswoman of the Year Award

By BY CINDY SCHUMACHER - | Dec 1, 2016

Lahaina Yacht Club member and sailor Nancy Goode recently won the prestigious 2016 John M. “Doc” Wilson Memorial Trophy Yachtswoman of the Year Award. PHOTO BY BRUCE OLSTEN.

LAHAINA – Lahaina Yacht Club (LYC) is very proud of their member and sailor extraordinaire Nancy Goode, who won the 2016 John M. “Doc” Wilson Memorial Trophy Yachtswoman of the Year Award. The trophy is dedicated to honor women who consistently participate in sailing, racing, race instruction and committee work, besides volunteer support.

Yachtswoman of the Year, as administered by the Hawaii Yacht Racing Association, is considered a lifetime achievement award and a statewide recognition of excellence.

Past recipients from the 30-year history of the award review nominees and vote on the annual winner. There are three major areas taken into consideration in selecting the recipient: participation in Hawaii’s sailing community, longevity of service, and active support of women in sailing.

“Goode loves the sea and sailing,” said Bruce Olsten, Maui Boat & Yacht Club (MBYC) information chair and LYC member who nominated Goode for the 2016 award. “She particularly loves teaching sailing to women, and some of her greatest moments in life have been while sharing that love of sailing with students and fellow crew. She was shocked and honored just to receive the nomination!”

“At the award dinner, as the winner was being described, I excitedly began to recognize it was me who won,” said Goode. “I wish there was one word that described a lifetime of gratitude, because that is what I felt for the man that nominated me, my racing skipper Bruce Olsten, and the woman who taught me everything I know about Race Committee and more, Carolyn Blake, Yachtswoman of the Year 2004.”

Nancy Goode (right) is always happiest “backing off of the northeast wind, sailing on summer breezes, skipping over the ocean like a stone,” Harry Nilsson sang. Also pictured are Chris Olsten (left) and Jeff Jacobs. PHOTO BY BRUCE OLSTEN.

“I also felt such love for all my students and for the life I’ve found,” Goode noted. “Winning the award brought tears – happy tears.”

Born in California, Goode was introduced to boating at the age of six months by her father, an engineer, who owned a series of powerboats while she was growing up. In her early twenties, she moved up to sailboats.

“I was hooked on sailing the first time I was handed the jib sheet,” Goode explained. “I remember the feeling of power and wonder as the sail filled and pulled the boat forward. I was taught how to pull the jib to make the boat accelerate and marveled at the power of the wind that allowed me to bring in the jib by hand, even as it filled with wind. That’s all it took – I was obsessed!”

In 1977, Goode joined the crew of a 57-foot ketch and sailed from Marina del Rey to Hilo, which was the beginning of her Hawaii sailing adventure. After a month in Hilo, she traveled to Lahaina. Arriving here, she knew instinctively that she had found her home. Goode immediately found a job working on Pequod, a 32-foot charter boat, and has lived in Lahaina ever since.

“I met my mentor, the legendary 2004 Yachtswoman of the Year, Carolyn Blake, while volunteering to work a marine radio to communicate with arriving yachts in the Vic-Maui (Victoria to Maui) race,” said Goode. “Blake has since instructed me in all things relating to sailboat racing and race administration. I have served as principal race officer for both LYC and MBYC many times over. I have also served as LYC fleet captain and rear commodore of sail.”

“I wish there was one word that described a lifetime of gratitude, because that is what I felt for the man that nominated me for the 2016 Yachtswoman of the Year Award, my racing skipper Bruce Olsten (right),” said Nancy Goode. PHOTO BY NANCY PIPER.

Goode made her living in the charter boat industry and worked her way up to a captain’s license for up to 100-ton vessels. She would work for long stretches, save money, and when opportunity arose, she would go cruising. She sailed from Maui to Australia in 1982 and then flew to Fiji, where she volunteered in rescue efforts following a hurricane that had driven many boats ashore, and worse. She helped people make greased skids and then contributed to the effort of literally dragging boats back into the sea.

Over the years, Goode has delivered racing yachts from Hawaii to the West Coast, including such well-known yachts as Panache, Wizard, and Beowulf.

For the past 15 years, she has been crew on the J80 Boondoggie based in Lahaina Harbor. Additionally, she has taken first place in four out of the past five years in MBYC’s annual Wahine Drivers Regatta.

“Among my lifelong accomplishments in sailing, I’m especially proud of my work introducing women to the sport of sailing,” Goode explained. “I run an Introduction to Sailing program out of LYC for adult women. This program is very popular and fills up consistently. In the past two-and-a-half years, I have taught hands-on sailing to over 50 women; just for the love of sailing.”

Goode also skippers a monthly ladies-only sail, bringing the joys of the sport to an even wider circle of people. “Goode empowered me to learn to sail, which has really changed my life,” said Susie Lewis of LYC. “The LYC Ladies Sail group all admire her commitment to sailing and her devotion to helping us get out and learn.”

Sharon Atkinson of Lahaina Yacht Club noted, “I am thrilled that Goode won Yachtswoman of the Year. She is a consummate lifelong sailor and a consistent participant in sailing activities on Maui and beyond. I know of no one who has made a bigger contribution to ladies’ sailing.”

“Goode dedicated her Saturday mornings, with no pay, to teaching us in a classroom setting, and then in the afternoons we would receive hands-on training out in the water,” added Teresa Nelle, LYC. “She does this just for the joy of sailing!”

Kelli Lundgren, LYC and MBYC, noted, “Led by Goode, our crew has tacked into aggressive wind in five-foot white-capped waves on a boat heeled at 25-30 degrees. Her immense patience and confidence gives those sailing with her confidence as well.”

Mike Atkinson, MBYC commodore, added, “Goode is passionate about sailing and teaching other woman to sail, as well as caring for our sailing environment. She will represent all of us as Yachtswoman of the Year.”

“Goode, 62, shows no signs of slowing down,” said Olsten in his nomination letter. “She is competent at any task, from down in the bilges to the top of the mast; from skipper to crew; from the boardroom to the race course. She keeps giving back to the sailing community and she continues to pile up a lifetime of service and of accomplishments.”