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Stories From and About Women

Dawn Riley

Biography on Dawn Riley,
Issued by America True

For more information about Dawn and America True, check out their web site at

As CEO and Captain of America True, Dawn is the first woman in the world to manage an America's Cup team. She is also the only American to have raced on two America's Cup teams and two Whitbread Round the World teams.

Dawn says her introduction to sailing was very simple: "I was born Catholic and my mom wouldn't let me go out on the boat until I was baptized. So, the baptism was on the boat. I don't remember much. I was in a laundry basket on the gimbaled stove."

Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, where she sailed on Lake St. Clair, Dawn became obsessed with racing at the age of 13. She joined North Star Sail Club and became commodore of the junior sailing program.

Dawn attended South Lake and L'Anse Creuse High Schools and Macomb Community College. She graduated from Michigan State University.

Accomplished big boat and match race sailor, Dawn crewed on the Maxi Yacht Morning Glory as they set the all time course record in the 1996 Sydney to Hobart ocean race. Her crew credits include team captain of America3, the historic all women America's Cup team in 1995, a member of the winning America s Cup team America3 in 1992, and skipper of Heineken, the all women team in the 1993-94 Whitbread Round the World sailing marathon.

Dawn has focused on match racing over the past several years, competing in the Knickerbocker Cup, the Columbus Cup, Omega Gold Cup and Bitter End/Yachting Invitational. Sailing accomplishments include victories in both the 1992 Santa Maria Cup in Baltimore and the 1992 Woman's Cup in Portofino, Italy.

Her book, Taking the Helm, written by Dawn and Cynthia Flanagan Goss, now in its third printing, is the saga of the all women crew in the 1993-94 Whitbread.

As an experienced public speaker, Dawn has entertained thousands with presentations around the world focusing on team building, personal success, and great sea stories. Dawn resides in Auckland, New Zealand and San Francisco, California.


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