Dawn Riley

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Dawn Riley
Personal information
Born (1964-07-21) 21 July 1964 (age 55)

Dawn Riley (born July 21, 1964) is an American sailor who has competed in the America’s Cup and Around the World Sailboat races. She is also an accomplished businesswoman, community leader and youth sports advocate, author, speaker, TV commentator and committed philanthropist.[citation needed]

Sailing career[edit]

Riley was the 1st woman to have a physically active role in the America’s Cup on the winning America3 team in 1992. Bill Koch was the skipper and patron of this team.

For the 1995 America's Cup, Koch went on to sponsor America3 1995, The Women’s Team, Mighty Mary, in the Defender Series. Riley was the Team Captain of this team.

In 2000 Riley created and led America True, a coed team with a very modest budget that surprised all experts by outracing many of the top teams in individual races of the round robin and Semifinal competitions, including New York Yacht Club's entry and Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes. The America True team had one of the 1st fully active foundations as a part of the campaign. The America True Foundation continues in its work of making sailing accessible with programs across the United States getting at-risk-kids out on the water.

Riley served on the board of the Women's Sports Foundation from 1999–2006 as the President for 2003 and 2004. She is also politically active in the Democratic Party.

As watch captain, engineer and diver on the 1st All Women’s Team to race around the world, on Maiden in the 1989–90 Whitbread Round the World Race (now known as the Volvo Ocean Race), Riley was known as a leader on the water. In the following edition of the Whitbread organizers and sponsor Heineken called upon her to lead another women's team that had had a mutiny aboard their boat during the 1st leg. This story of physical and emotional extremes combined with growing leadership is recounted in the book "Taking the Helm" (Little Brown).

In 2007 Riley continued to work in the America's Cup, as the General Manager of the French Team for the America's Cup, Areva Challenge. In 2010, Riley became the executive director of the Oakcliff Sailing Center. Oakcliff's mission is to improve the sport of sailing in the United States, and it operates out of Oyster Bay, New York with a fleet of nearly fifty racing boats, including the largest collection of Swedish Match 40s in the world.


  • BMW Foundation Young Leader
  • 4 America’s Cups
  • 2 Whitbread Round the World Races
  • World Champion – 2003 One Ton Cup
  • World Champion – Women's World Cup 1992
  • US Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year 1999
  • Author: "Taking the Helm" and numerous articles
  • Television Host and Commentator: OLN-TV 2002 & 2003, numerous ESPN shows
  • Professional Speaker: over 100 minor and major corporations
  • Discus record holder – L’Anse Creuse High School
  • Michigan State University – Alumni of the year
  • Michigander of the Year – 1999

External links[edit]