The Oregon Women's Sailing Association (OWSA) is an all volunteer 501 c 3. Our organization is comprised of volunteers willing to devote time and energy to oversee the operation of OWSA. In addition to the board of directors, OWSA is fortunate to have a host of volunteers who act as program chairs coordinating our educational opportunities, activities and events. We are always looking to the future to improve our educational offerings and calendar of events to enhance the experience of our members.
There are a myriad of opportunities to become involved as a volunteer for OWSA. Opportunities range in duration from a couple of hours assisting with a program to chairing a program. For more information about how to get involved, check out our volunteer opportunities or contact any of our Board members.
The Board is made up of five Flag Officer positions (Commodore, Vice Commodore, Rear Commodore, Secretary, and Treasurer) and the remaining board members are Directors, many of which also hold program chair positions.
Tressa Yellig, Commodore
Originally from Ohio, there was no way to know how much the water would claim her until she moved to the west coast. As a SUP'er, kayaker and floating home dweller, the tease of getting on a sailboat was almost too much to bear until she discovered OWSA in 2013.
Ever since, she swoons over and enthusiastically pursues every opportunity to get on a Wednesday Night Sail, help in a race, class or event that comes up. Though a nature lover at heart, sailing is the only sport that quiets her mind and soothes her soul.
As 2014 Education Galley Gal, she cooked for the OWSA classes taught at RCYC (Rose City Yacht Club).
Tressa runs a small traditional foods business in Portland called Salt, Fire & Time. She teaches cooking and nutrition classes around town and has since 2009.
Tressa served as our 2014 Education Galley Gal and as 2015-2016 Director
Delona Lang, Acting Vice Commodore, Membership Chair
I enjoy the sailing life! From a Typhoon at sea on Guam as a kid, to Sunfish and Hobie Cats as a teen, then larger boats as an adult, I have had a taste of The Dream. I am now finally learning the points of sail and the "proper" names for all those parts of the boat through OWSA. I invite you to come join us. No other organization offers the welcome, affordability and opportunity that OWSA does. If you have The Dream, follow it here!
Delona joined the OWSA volunteer team as the Membership Chair for the 2018 / 2019 membership years.
MC Rydzewski, Past Commodore
From the Great Lakes to the vast bodies of ocean, MC has always had the water being one of her biggest teachers and holders of dreams. After moving throughout the coastal cities of California and travelling the globe, Portland became her home. Here, she quickly looked into finding her sea legs, sailing education (WOW these rivers---the Columbia and Willamette!), a great opportunity to meet women, and the ability to give back to the communities she is involved in.
MC found and fell in love with OWSA. OWSA has empowered her to obtain one dream at a time with the crew of amazing women aiding and teaching her. It also has allowed her to use her inner geek, love for giving back, and professional background to get involved with great opportunities like Set Sail for a Cause, racing with SYSCO, and the BOAT Ownership Program. MC looks forward to deepening her education and hopes to be able to spread the joy of sailing with young women.
MC served as our 2016 Vice Commodore and is currently serving as the 2017 Commodore and Director.
Katie Wojciechowski, Secretary
OWSA has played such a wonderful role in helping me feel at home in Portland since I moved here in 2016. Growing up in Austin, Texas, my favorite thing was going out on the lake on my family's old ski boat. Wednesday Night Sails and the supportive community of OWSA have fostered my love of the water in a vibrant new way, and I could not be more grateful!
When I'm not on the Columbia, you can find me writing for work, hanging out with my corgi, and gardening. Cheers to sharpening our sailing skills together!
Tanya Seely, Treasurer
I have lived most of my life in the Pacific Northwest. I have always loved being around water. Growing up if I was not on horseback I was in my neighbor's swimming pool! Later I spent my summers with friends on the Willamette river water skiing and wake boarding. Most recently I have discovered sailing. I was enchanted so I looked for ways to be able to continue sailing. I learned about OWSA while shopping at West Marine. I thought that OWSA was exactly what I was looking for and I joined soon after. I have been an OWSA member for just over a year now
Erica Liepelt, Fleet Manager
I grew up on Puget Sound beach combing, biking and sailing with my brother.
Joining OWSA has allowed me to consider myself a sailor, possibly someday a racer! I work as a hand therapist, am greeted home by tween girls, a husband and various pets.. I'm excited to volunteer with OWSA and begin returning the favors!
Katie Drew, Education Chair / Director
Katherine started sailing when she was 24 years old and got her first sailboat; a 18' Hunter. She completed her first sailing class at Willamette Sailing Club. Katherine joined OWSA in 2012.
She participates regularly in the Wednesday Night Sails. Katherine recently completed the First Mate Program. She enjoys crewing on different boats at Portland Yacht Club, Set Sail for a Cause, Mauna Elliott & SYSCO races. She just started volunteering with the SYSCO race events.
Julia Tucker, Communications Chair / Director
My first real memory of sailing was as a small child of 4, dangling over the downside of our friends' Cal25, my hands in the water as we sailed the San Joaquin river. My dad had tied my life jacket to the winch and was holding on to my shorts, he says I was laughing at the water and when we tacked, came up with a huge grin on my face.
When I was 8, my brother and I helped Dad paint and finish our 16-foot racing sloop (a Windmill). That summer he began teaching us to sail, and the following year we began racing with him on Sundays.
When I was 15,I helped launch a "sailboats only" Sea Scout ship a tour sailing club. And when my family moved up to a Columbia Challenger (24 footer) we gave our Wind mill to the Sea Scouts to further their mission in teaching others the art and science of seamanship.
After a way-too-long hiatus, I found my way to OWSA in 2005 and have enjoyed participating in our programs. I find the more I sail, the more I learn, and the more fun I have.
Liv Ormond, First Mate Chair / Director
Liv has been sailing since 2002 and previously served as the Treasurer, volunteered for various events and was the Fireside Coordinator for three years. Liv loves OWSA and offers her boat Mischief on Wednesday Night Sails. She joined OWSA in 2009 and can't get enough of supporting women in learning to sail.
Shancy Holland, Technology Chair / Director
Shancy started sailing in 1990 on Lake Minnetonka in the Twin Cities. She loves being on the water, has had fun racing and has absolutely enjoyed the people she has met sailing. She joined OWSA in 2009 and has been serving as database administrator for the past 3 years and technology chair for the past year. She gets out on Wednesday Night Sails as often as possible, is a first mate and has volunteered for numerous OWSA events. Shancy is constantly learning and improving her sailing skills, and is learning a lot about boat ownership since she purchased a Catalina 22 a few years ago. A two week sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands in 2015 inspired her to continue learning about navigation for future sailing adventures.
Tiffany Levesque, Chandlery Chair / Director
Tiffany comes to OWSA with a background in scuba diving, surfing, and a lifelong dream of becoming a sailor. After picking up a floating keychain at the 2014 Portland Boat Show, she signed up for Set Sail for a Cause, joined OWSA, and has not looked back!
While not spending time on or under the water, Tiffany enjoys photography, watercolor, and trekking around the globe. She is fluent in Spanish and ready to help you sail to warmer climes!
She would like to add, "OWSA has given me a new passion for the Pacific Northwest. I would love to see that passion ignite our young women with a thirst to explore, be self-sufficient, and self-confident in all life's pursuits! "
Feel free to let her know if you have any recommendations for our merchandise department!