> US SAILING Media > Sailor of the Week > 2009 > Sailor of the Week - December, 2009 > Kristen Berry
Sailor of the Week: Dec. 3 - 9
Kristen Berry has worked as a sailing coach and corporate team building event coordinator for more than five years. Kristen is the owner of Gale Force Sailing, an organization that provides professional coaching, instruction and innovative team building and leadership development programs.
Kristen, and Gale Force Sailing, works in close partnership with Oceana – the largest global ocean conservation organization – in order to advocate on behalf of marine ecosystems. Together they formed the Ocean Conservation Yacht Club, a virtual yacht club, designed to help boaters become more connected with the marine environment and conservation issues related to boating. In October at the Gentleman’s Ball, Kristen was presented with GQ’s Conservation Award by celebrity ambassador, Adrian Grenier. “Sailing has changed my life,” added Kristen. “In not only redirected my professional career path, but also has taught me some of the most important life lessons.”
Kristen coaches with JWorld Annapolis – America’s top ranked sailing school and is actively involved in their learn to sail, cruising and racing programs in Annapolis, Key West and St. Petersburg, Fla. He is a sailing instructor with the United States Naval Academy where he trains USNA Midshipmen and United States Naval Officers fundamental sailing, seamanship and leadership skills.
Kristen has also coached the National Maritime Heritage Foundation’s National Capital High School Sailing program. This one of a kind program is an alternative educational and physical fitness program for high school students in the Washington, D.C. area who are interested in sailing and racing. The program provides a positive environment in which all students learn the importance of teamwork, respect, responsibility, leadership, commitment, sportsmanship, and general sailing and racing techniques supporting varsity and junior varsity interscholastic competition.
Kristen spent several years with professional grassroots and lobbying firms where he designed and directed award-winning campaigns at the local, state and federal level. Kristen’s campaign experience includes working for candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Kristen was worked as a lobbyist for corporations and municipalities. He was also a researcher/writer for ESPN’s X Games.
Kristen started sailing in a dinghy on a small lake in Fort Wayne, Ind. “I didn’t have much access to the water,” explained Kristen. “Yet, somehow I always knew I was a sailor.” Kristen sold everything he owned when he went to college, and bought an old 22-foot sailboat and a “how to sail” book. He got started in racing on Santa Cruz 70s in the Chicago area. “The owners and sailors on those boats really accelerated my learning, my passion and my experience,” mentioned Kristen. Kristen looks forward to competing as part of a team that will race at the 2010 J80 World Championship in Newport, R.I.
When asked about what he enjoyed most about sailing, Kristen answered, “From a sporting side, I enjoy the fact that there are no hard boundary lines and the self policing nature of the sport. From the enjoyment side I am an explorer and adventurer at heart.”