NEWPORT BEACH — At opening day festivities at Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, Kathie Ohmer-Arnold of Aliso Viejo was named the 2016 recipient of the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award. A joint honor of the National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) and Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the award recognizes an individual with a record of achievement in inspiring, educating, and enriching the lives of other women through sailing. Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) Staff Commodore Gail E. Hine, the 2001 recipient of the Award and Member of the Women’s Sailing Foundation Board of Directors, presented the honor on behalf of NWSA and BoatUS.
“Kathie exemplifies the Corinthian spirit in her endless enthusiasm for the sport of sailing and her generosity in sharing her time and many talents with others,” said Hine. “She does it all – cruising, racing, coaching and boat repair while also pitching in onshore with the volunteering, planning and organizing aspects of club activities. She is a role model that demonstrates that women can participate at the highest levels in sailing and is always ready to give encouragement and instruction.”
Ohmer-Arnold began sailing dinghies in Newport Harbor and then later raised a family. After her boys grew up, in 1984 she married a sailor, and they flew to the Mediterranean, spending two years on their 36-foot sailboat along the coastlines of Europe and Africa. Then they crossed the Atlantic to the West Indies in 1986 logging more than 10,000 miles. She spent two years in Florida, as first mate on a 70-foot Hatteras, earned her 100-ton Masters license and taught women to sail and race, navigate and charter their own boats on the Florida waterways.
Returning to California in 1988, she continued involvement in sailing, starting in Dana Point with the repair and restoration of historic sloop Virginia. She also became an instructor with Orange Coast College of Sailing & Seamanship, and over the next nine years taught more than 500 women to sail aboard the school’s various sailboats, including the 47-foot Saudade.
In the 1990s she was active in the precursor to the Women’s Sailing Association of Orange County and joined Bahia Corinthian YC and acquired her Catalina 34 Dollfun.
She has also been an instructor/coach for the SCYA’s Women’s Sailing Convention for the past 25 years.