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Sailing is a way of life for former Milton Academy, BC captain

Martha Fortin is a sailing coach and New York Yacht Club executive.
Martha Fortin is a sailing coach and New York Yacht Club executive.Will Ricketson

Martha Fortin, who learned to sail at age 6 at the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, may find herself at the America’s Cup Races in New Zealand next year.

The former Milton Academy and Boston College sailing captain is now engagement director for the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team, which hopes to compete at the America’s Cup Challenge series in January.

In her position, Fortin is responsible for managing public events, holding fund-raisers, overseeing donor relations, and working with sponsors.

``Sailing is a very tight community and growing up and competing in that community has allowed me to continue in the sailing industry and create a career in the sport,’’ said Fortin, who grew up in Milton as Martha Pitt.

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She helped Milton Academy win the Interscholastic Sailing Association Team Racing National Championships her freshman year as crew on the 420 class boat.

She was also field hockey captain and a volleyball player at the academy.

At BC, Fortin was skipper for four years. She was part of the Eagles’ 2008 Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s Women’s National Championship team and a two-time Honorable Mention Women’s All-American.

In 2013, she was on the winning team at the US Sailing Women’s Match Racing Championship.

``Sailing and competing has taught me to be adaptable and to take things as they come,’’ Fortin said, adding that the people and teammates she has met along the way have enriched her life.

After graduating from BC as a history major, Fortin was a coach and sailing school director at the Chicago Yacht Club. She subsequently moved to Newport, R.I., where she was commercial manager for sponsorships for the US Sailing team and where she still sails.

``I actually started coaching at Vineyard Haven Yacht Club and also with Sail Caribbean, a summer camp for kids, and at Chilmark Community Sailing,’’ added Fortin, who stresses that sailing is a lifetime sport and should be enjoyed.

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Fortin, whose work with the US Sailing Team brought her to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro supporting team operations, currently resides in Middletown, R.I., with her husband Chris Fortin, a professional sailor and boat builder.

"When we’re not sailing,’’ said the 33-year-old Fortin, ``we love to play golf, paddleboard, and spend time with our dogs, a beagle mix, Vicky, and a border collie, Cora. We also snowboard in New Hampshire and try to stay as active as possible.’’

Who should we catch up with? Contact Marvin Pave with suggestions at marvin.pave@rcn.com.