January 2024 Sailor of the Month: Gabriele Grant

By: American Sailing, Giveaway, Sailing Story

Each month we feature sailors who pursue the passion of sailing through education, lifestyle, and commitment to community. This month we were inspired by Gabriele Grant’s story and she is our January 2024 Sailor of the Month.

Gabriele is one of our younger American Sailing certified sailors — but has quite a story to tell already. At age 18 she has already been sailing for 7 years, and has a cohort of peers who share much of her journey. It’s exciting to see the next generation of sailors enjoying the sport and taking their education and skill development seriously while developing life-long relationships from their shared memories on the water. Gabriele’s favorite place to sail is New York Harbor, from her base at the Manhattan Yacht Club in Liberty Landing Marina, where she has studied with Manhattan Sailing School.

We hope you find her story as inspiring as we do. Please take the time to share your own story with us — every journey that leads to a sailboat is worth hearing! (Not to mention the perks of being chosen are pretty great!)

American Sailing

American Sailing:
How long have you been sailing?

Gabriele Grant:
7 years


American Sailing

American Sailing:
Where is your home port?

Gabriele Grant:
Manhattan Yacht Club – Liberty Landing Marina


American Sailing

American Sailing:
Where is your favorite place to sail?

Gabriele Grant:
New York Harbor


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What ASA Certifications do you hold?

Gabriele Grant:
ASA-101 Basic Keelboat Sailing Standard Certification, ASA-103 Basic Coastal Cruising Certification


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What ASA school(s) did you attend?

Gabriele Grant:

Manhattan Sailing School at Manhattan Yacht Club


American Sailing

American Sailing:
Do you currently, or have you ever owned a sailboat?

Gabriele Grant:
No


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What got you into sailing?

I was introduced to sailing at eleven years old (I’m eighteen now) and it was an activity that was first encouraged by my parents. My father was a ship’s captain a few decades before I was born, so being able to be comfortable around the water and sail was something that had been expressed as an opportunity when I was fairly young. I started my sailing journey with the Manhattan Yacht Club’s optimist summer program where I sailed opti’s for my first two years of sailing. After the first week, however, I had fallen in love with the sport. I loved how open everyone was and how making mistakes was a common aspect of getting better. When I was twelve, I started sailing Flying Juniors and that was the first experience that I had with boats that required a mainsail and a jib. For me, the learning process became even more engaging when I was able to see tangible differences in my decision making on dinghies, and this carried into my journey with larger boats. At thirteen years old, I started sailing in the Manhattan Yacht Club’s teen sailing program on J24’s. Sailing J24’s showed me a separate aspect of the sport that I hadn’t experienced before, because instead of being responsible for everything happening on the boat, I was given a chance to get specific with my knowledge and make sailing more of a group effort. As I developed as a sailor, I started to focus more on J24 sailing while simultaneously branching out and sailing boats like laser picos, sunfish sailboats, and J105’s. This past summer, I was invited to sail holding the mast position in my first adult regatta at seventeen years old (the Manhattan Yacht Club’s Womens’ Championship Regatta), and it really solidified for me that in both relaxing and competitive environments, I will always enjoy being on the water and sailing. Overall, I would say that my sailing journey is just beginning, and as I look forward to doing some sailing in college, I am excited to keep challenging myself and connecting with others that share this very special passion with me.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What is your most memorable sailing experience?

Gabriele Grant:
There are so many sailing experiences that hold significance for me in their own ways, but I would say that one of my most memorable sailing experiences I’ve had was when I sailed underneath the George Washington Bridge for the first time. This was during my first week of sailing J24’s in 2019 and we had planned this trip for the whole week leading up to that Friday. I was in a group of four other kids around my age along with our sailing instructor and a second boat with the same configuration. We decided to sail there in the form of a race where we started from in front of the Freedom Tower and raced to the GWB and back. Although this journey took seven hours in total, there was never a dull moment. In the beginning, we started with telling stories and talking about school. Our instructor was a university student from Ireland so we were able to discuss the differences in culture and the sailing experiences that he had in Europe. After we talked for a little bit we took turns skippering which proves to be an initially tough challenge as a thirteen year old trying to navigate through the traffic of New York Harbor. This was a great chance for my crew-mates and me to grow as sailors and ask questions that might not necessarily come up in general sailing conversations. As we neared the GWB, we ate lunch and started to marvel at the changes in the current and wind direction. Being underneath the bridge was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I could hear the cars and trucks echoing throughout the bridge from underneath, I was able to see how the deceptively calm current pushed our boat closer to the little red lighthouse, and I finally knew what my daily city commutes looked like from below instead of above. After dwelling on what we had just witnessed, our group began to bring the focus towards winning the race. We were in a constant mixture of shouting and radio communication that comically heightened the competition although there were two hours of our commute remaining. After thirty minutes passed, it was time for our distraction. We brought up a big storage container full of water balloons out of the cabin. Once we had initiated the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song, it was time for battle. Our planned routes for return were riddled with detours as we crossed paths with the other J24 boat hoping to get the perfect angle to soak their cockpit. There were several direct hits and a disproportionate amount of near and complete misses, but we had succeeded in slowing the competition. As we entered the home stretch of our journey, the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song turned into my 50’s music playlist as we glided into a smooth victory with the forever stunning view of the New York skyline to our left. I will always hold this memory dear to me as one of the many times sailing has acted as a pleasing cumulation of what it means to improve and grow through passion and commitment.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
How has American Sailing played a part in your growth as a sailor?

Gabriele Grant:
American Sailing has played a part in growth as a sailor through the opportunity it gives me to be methodical in my improvement. After completing my first couple of weeks as a J24 sailor, I took the test to gain my Basic Keelboat Sailing Stand Certification. A significant part of earning this certification was looking beyond the simplicities of being a good recreational sailor and understanding what it means to make decisions for specific results. In order to make these decisions, I learned that I had to know every single part of the J24, what each part influences, and how I utilize those parts for my own improvement as a sailor looking to become more competitive. By putting what I had to learn for the test into practice, I was making a direct impact on the type of sailor that I was maturing into. This might not have been possible had I not been given the chance to study this topic more in depth, and it’s one of the reasons why American Sailing has played such a large part in my growth as a sailor.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
What is your favorite aspect of American Sailing membership?

Gabriele Grant:
I love that I’m able to sail with friends and professionals alike while acquiring tangible records of my development as a sailor through my American Sailing membership and certifications.


American Sailing

American Sailing:
Why should people become an ASA member?

Gabriele Grant:
There are so many learning opportunities being offered to members. Whether it’s getting certified in a certain area of sailing, or traveling more about sailing in a different country, there are countless instances where members can leave their comfort zone and better themselves by making the decision to improve. Being an ASA member also allows members to enjoy becoming a part of a unique community. The ASA community is one where we celebrate the successes of others and offer resources to give people a chance at reaching those successes.

Gabriele out on the water in New York Harbor doing what she loves most!

Keep up with Gabriele on Linked In and Instagram.