Karina Vogen Shelton
Sailor of the Week: July 15-21
Karina Vogen Shelton of Watsonville, Calif. has been a cruising sailor since she was a young girl, but she didn’t start racing until college. One day while Karina was attending San Diego State, her best friend Aimee invited her to sailing practice. Aimee’s teammate George Szabo, a future US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) member and 2009 Star World Champion, was in need of a crew that was Karina’s size for their next regatta. Karina took Aimee’s offer to sail with George, and the rest is history.
Since then, Karina has become an accomplished, world-class racing sailor. Her sailing accolades include wins at the 2002 ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship, 2003 Santa Maria Cup, and 2001 Rolex Osprey Cup. She was crew for Liz Baylis in all three of these wins. Two weeks ago Karina added another impressive championship to her sailing resume. She was one of three crewmates for skipper Genny Tulloch, a USSTAG member, who won the 2010 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship at the US SAILING Center of Sheboygan (Wis.).
Karina was the main sheet and spinnaker trimmer. Genny and Karina were joined by Alice Manard and Lindsay Bartel. They defeated Sally Barkow’s team in an exciting final match.
“Genny, Alice and I have sailed quite a bit this year, and Lindsey fit in really easy, so boat handling and communication went well,” explained Karina.
For a brief time this year, Karina was a USSTAG member. After a few months on the team, Karina decided to take a step back and focus more on family goals. Karina and her husband Dave, a former USSTAG member, have a 5-year-old daughter named Anna.
“It was a tough decision, but the best for everyone, especially Anna and I,” mentioned Karina. “It was just a lot of hard discussions between my husband and me about what we wanted most.”
Karina is a certified orthotist/prosthetist. She sold her business over five years ago, and has decided to re-focus her efforts on more volunteer work in Mexico, and now Haiti. Karina is planning on a trip to Haiti this summer with an organization called Prosthetika, a non-profit corporation that specializes in fitting amputees with prosthetics in underdeveloped regions of the world who have no other options and setting up on-site training sessions in these areas. “Hopefully we’ll be ready to go for the first two weeks of August,” added Karina. “There is a huge need for this right now in Haiti since the earthquake.”
When asked what she enjoys most about sailing, Karina responded, “I enjoy the complexity of it and never feeling like you’ve mastered it.”