NEISA Annual Awards 2018

MacArthur Service Award

Alden Reid '08 Boston College

Alden Reid BC ‘08 has been awarded the MacArthur Service Award for his diligence as treasurer of NEISA. While at Boston College, Alden led his team to its first-ever National Championships as team captain in 2008, winning the Women’s Nationals, the Team Racing Nationals and the Fowle Trophy that year. As an assistant coach and eventually a volunteer assistant coach, Alden has given back to his alma mater and has helped lead the Eagles to an additional 18 National titles. A former undergraduate NEISA president, Alden stepped up to serve as treasurer and was able to give clear-eyed and realistic assessment of NEISA's financial standing. Notably, Alden revised the NEISA dues and payment structure to significantly reduce the accounting fees required to administrate the conference while also billing teams proportionately to their actual participation in the conference. We thank Alden Reid for his effort and service to NEISA. 

2018 NEISA Honor Roll 

Erica Beck Spencer '96 University of New Hampshire & Pearson Potts ’16 Brown University & Bryce Kopp ’16 Connecticut College

Skipper Pearson Potts ’16 Brown University and tactician Bryce Kopp ’16 Connecticut College were named to the 2018 NEISA Honor Roll for their post college success on the United States Match Racing circuit. They won the 2018 U.S. Sailing Prince of Wales Trophy for the U.S. Match Racing Championship in Chicago, IL. Potts and Kopp’s Yankee Creole Racing team also won the trophy in 2017. Pearson Potts is currently ranked 3rd in the Open U.S. Match Race Rankings and 18th in the World Match Race Rankings. Pearson was an ICSA All-American Coed Skipper for the Brown Bears in 2016 and an ICSA Honorable-Mention All-American Skipper in 2015. 


Erica Beck Spencer taught herself how to race sailboats messing about on a Sunfish on Pawtuckaway Lake in NH. Starting at age 6 she crewed for her father but at age ten she kicked him off the sunfish and has loved skippering ever since. She joined the University of New Hampshire club student-run sailing team as a freshman and despite her lack of formal training, started racing competitively in the top coed events, women’s events, and women’s single-handed events. She was nominated to be the captain of the team as a freshman and served in this role for two years and Commodore for a half year. Erica led the UNH women's team to become nationally ranked for her junior and senior years (highest ranking 7th). In 1995, she finished 2ndat the New England Women’s Single-Handed Championship qualifying for Nationals in Portland, Oregon, where she finished 7th. Her senior year she came in first in B division for the Women’s New England double-handed.

Post college she became a teacher and couldn’t afford to buy a boat of her own so she crewed on top Lightnings, Etchells, and J24 teams. In 2002, she finished 13that the Lightning North Americans, with over 100 boats qualifying for her first world championship in Miami. After moving to Portland, ME she started crewing on an Etchells doing well in the local fleet, but decided a J24 would be a better boat to own with a young family and switched to learn everything she could about the J24 with hopes of owning one someday. This team dominated in local events but rarely traveled. In 2014 this team qualified for and attended the J24 Worlds in Newport in 2014 with Erica on the bow. Out of 72 teams there were two all-female teams. Erica vowed to change this ratio and was determined to skipper a J24.

Post Newport Worlds, in the fall of 2014, Jess Harris and Erica teamed up to start an all-women’s J24 team with a goal of qualifying for the 2017 Worlds in Ontario, Canada. Jess bought the boat and asked Erica to skipper, a dream come true, one that couldn’t have happened financially without Jess’s help. Within this first year they became sponsored by Sea Bags, a company turning old beloved sails into fancy bags. Not only did the team reach this goal of starting a team and qualifying for and attending worlds, they finished as the top female team, winning the Jaeger Women's Trophy for all-women crews at the Sept. 15-23 2017 J/24 World Championship in Mississauga, Canada and Erica won the top female skipper award. 

Notable Sea Bags Women’s Sailing Team Accomplishments

Date                Event                                                   Place               Fleet size

Oct 2018         J24 East Coast Champs                       7th                    26

Sept 2018        J24 US Nationals                                 17th                  48

June 2018       J24 District 1 Champs                         3rd                    12

Sept 2017        J24 Worlds, Ontario CA                      39th                63

July 2016         Marblehead NOOD                             2nd (tied for first)    11

Aug. 2015        ONE PHRF Regatta, Marblehead        1st                    12

The team’s 3rdplace finish at the 2018 District Champs qualified them for the World Championship in Miami in Sept 2019.  In 2019 the Sea Bags Women’s Sailing Team will travel to Mexico to race in the North American Championship, to Rochester, NY for the US Nationals, and then to Worlds in Miami.  It will be a big year for the team and they hope to continue to make steady progress getting closer and closer to the pros who dominate the fleet. 

In addition to racing Erica tries to give back to the sailing community by writing about her lessons learned in the Sea Bags Blog “Dock Talk”. In 2019 her team hopes to give back in other ways including running a clinic for girls at Sail Maine. She is certified by US Sailing to teach Level 1 Sailing Instructors and tries to find time to do this annually. 

She truly hopes to continue to support and encourage other females to stay in the sport post college and to compete at the highest levels. 

She can be reached at 


and you can follow along with the team on Facebook, Twitter, or at the Sea Bags Sailing Team website