“When you spend as much time as I do on the water, it is impossible not to be passionate about the quality of the oceans, lakes, and rivers.”
Elizabeth grew up sailing in Corpus Christi, Texas, the oldest of three girls — she sought adventure in heavy winds and big waves on her Sunfish. She started her professional sailing career at a young age, as the only female ever to win the US Sailing Youth Singlehanded Championship. Elizabeth graduated from high school early to campaign in the Europe Dinghy. Despite losing the trials, she was proud to be a training partner for Julia Trotman who would go on to medal in the Barcelona Olympic Games.
After training, Elizabeth went to Yale University where she competed on the sailing team and graduated with a Political Science degree. After college, she worked at a strategy consulting firm in Portugal, but she was lured back to sailing to campaign for the 2000 Olympic Games in 470, the 2004 Games in the Yngling, and the 2012 Games in Women’s Match Racing. She is now an active sailing coach, also working as a travel agent, and in her spare time, she recently was the Green Team Co-chair for the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships, which won the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BE AN 11TH HOUR RACING AMBASSADOR?
I have always done my duty picking up trash and participating in beach clean-ups, but ten years ago I visited a friend on the South end of Eleuthera in the Bahamas where there are no resorts and very few people. I was shocked at the amount of plastic and trash on this beach.
This Eleuthera visit was my first awakening to the fact that all of this trash had been floating in the waters and washed up on the beach. I was even more shocked to see an immense amount of microplastics in the waters while snorkeling. At first, I thought it must be little pieces of algae or plankton in the water, but then I realized it was tiny pieces of plastic! Most of the reefs where I was snorkeling were dead. In the evenings, my friend told stories of how beautiful the reefs used to be in that area. Seeing the beaches, the plastic in the water and the dead reefs was my first wake-up call that our oceans were in major trouble.
Since that time, I have tried to better educate myself about the health of our oceans and how I can personally make a difference. I have made many changes to my own behaviors, specifically trying to eliminate single-use plastics, using biodegradable alternatives, conserving water, composting, and reusing items.
In 2018, I was honored to be the Green Team co-chair at the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships in my hometown of Corpus Christi. During the lead up to that event, I learned an immense amount about the international sustainability movement. By following sustainable practices at the Youth Sailing World Championships, we were able to pass on the information and best practices to the next generation of leaders in the sport of sailing, something I am very proud of.
Most recently, my focus has been learning more about the nurdles washing up on the Gulf of Mexico beaches (nurdles are the tiny pellets of plastic which serve as a raw material in the manufacture of plastic products) and working to make sure the nurdle manufacturers are held accountable. My other current interest is learning more about water quality, both groundwater used for drinking and from our oceans.
- Named member of the US Sailing Team for 8 years
- Achieved top 3 ISAF rankings in Match Racing, top 5 in 470 and Yngling classes
- Medaled in 2 Match Racing World Championships
- Won 3 National Championships in two disciplines
- Captained 50 foot cruising boat in the Caribbean
- Coaching highlights include: USA I-420 Team to 1st overall Junior in 2012 I-420 World Championship; 2nd place in 2010 I-420 World Championship; and 3rd place in the 2009 I-420 World Championship. Coached Austrian 470 Olympic Team to three 1st place finishes in World Cup events.
Hometown: Corpus Christi, Texas
Resides: Miami Beach, Florida
Cool Trick: My Boykin Spaniel dogs Pearl and Mac do all the tricks in my family 🙂
Free Time: Spending time with family, playing with my dogs, traveling
Bad Ass Moment: Being named an 11th Hour Racing Ambassador
Hidden Talent: Interior Design skills – love decorating
Guilty Pleasure: Coconut cream pie
The Fridge: Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, all types of berries! Plus milk, juice, lemonade, vegetables, cheese
Hobby: Any activity on the water, training my dogs, tending orchids, fishing
Fun Fact: Team Manager for the Yale Downhill Ski Team. My grandmother is 102 and still lives in her house!
Johnny Was, Sleeping Organic (best mattress ever!)
Harken Derm Reef safe sunscreen