> US SAILING Media > Sailor of the Week > 2009 > Sailor of the Week - February, 2009 > Susan Epstein
Sailor of the Week and US SAILING board member Susan Epstein has broken through barriers her entire life-- as a sailor, coach, historian, leader, and most notably - she is a true pioneer for not only the sport of sailing, but for society as a whole.
Susan was first introduced to sailing at the age of five, as she watched her brothers sail at their grandparents’ summer cottage on Hull Bay (MA) and sailed her first race when she was just seven. At nine, her father bought her a Lawley 15 with one string attached, that she take good care of it. As she developed into a skilled young sailor her determination to pursue racing grew, but unfortunately there were a number of daunting obstacles for her to overcome. Her Jewish descent prevented her family from joining the local yacht club, which at the time only allowed Irish Catholic members.
It was not until family friend and club member, John Quinn, threatened to resign that her family was granted membership. According to Susan, women of her generation were rarely encouraged to sail. While attending Wheaton College, she would frequently compete in regattas hosted by Tufts University, until her college deemed it “too dangerous” and prohibited the female students from sailing. Later, she wanted to join another local yacht club, which did not permit women. She gained access to that club only after her husband, a non-sailor joined. “I guess you could say I watched the evolution of society through the eyes of a sailor,” said Susan Today, she is focused on introducing young people to sailing as a sport for everyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, or class. Susan was instrumental in developing “Sail Nantasket” an organization to support the Hull High School Sailing Program. Additionally, she serves on the board of the National Women’s Sailing Association, and directs “Adventure Sail”, a program designed to provide support for women at risk. Susan looks forward to competing at the 2009 210 National Championships in Hingham, MA, and to her 63rd consecutive summer at the cottage on Hull Bay with her four daughters, son, and six grandchildren. “I love the fact that sailing is a life-long sport,” she said. “There is something magical about sailing. Any day on the water is better than anywhere else.”