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Oakcliff ED Inducted into Sailing Hall of Fame

By Priya Persaud

Oakcliff Sailing’s Executive Director, Dawn Riley, was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame last week in a ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island. Riley is an accomplished sailor, and a strong advocate for women’s empowerment in sailing.

For the past 11 years, Riley has been the Executive Director of Oakcliff Sailing-a non-profit center for sailing that focuses on building “American Leaders Through Sailing” in Oyster Bay.

Prior to joining Oakcliff, Riley was already a pioneer in the sailing world. For instance, Riley was the first woman to ever manage an America’s Cup team. Likewise, she made headlines as being the first American to have sailed in three America’s Cups and two Whitbread ‘Round the World races.

In the first ‘Round the World Race where Riley competed, she was a vital member of Maiden – on the first all-female team to have ever completed the event. The team set new precedents and was featured in a 2018 television documentary. Throughout her time spent sailing, Riley has always advocated for the involvement of women in sailing and women in sports.

Riley served on the board of the Women’s Sports Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that provides resources and guidance in getting women and girls involved in all levels of sports.

“It is an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in its most diverse class yet. I see a future with equality and diversity at all levels of the sport, and this is a great indicator of how far we have come,” commented Riley.

“In my opinion, the last frontier for women in sailing is in decision-making roles,” said Riley. “Women in leadership with decision-making powers is where we need to go. The next step is for more women to own their own boats.”

Riley will continue her position as the Executive Director of Oakcliff Sailing. The non-profit organization aims towards providing trainees with the fundamentals to enable them to develop their skills in three areas of competitive sailing: The America’s Cup; the Olympics; and the ocean racing.

A true icon in the sailing world, Riley was thankful to her mentors and teammates for her impressive feats and “the honor” of her induction into the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Congratulations, Dawn Riley!


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