Nathan R Cowan Memorial Award - Clara Gravely

Nathan R Cowan Memorial Award - Clara Gravely

Sunday, February 24th, 2019 - Kingston, ON


Clara Gravely has quickly climbed up the sailing ranks having only gotten into sailing in the summer of 2012 when she started in the 420 learn to sail program at Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club. She continued to sail in the 420’s until she joined the racing program, where she learned to sail the Radial. After a successful season in the Radial, she successfully qualified for the Ontario Sailing Team which she has now been a part of for three seasons. In 2017 she represented Canada at her first major international event, the Youth Worlds in China.


As a result of her passion, hard work and dedication, the results continue to pile up for Clara including winning the 2018 CORK Olympic Classes regatta and finishing 4th at the Canadian Championships. Clara has also moved into the international women’s fleet consistently posting strong events while competing at Kiel Week in Germany, the U21 World Championships in Poland, and the Senior World Championships in Denmark.


  1. How does it feel to be the recipient of the Nathan R Cowan Memorial Award?
    It is such a huge honour to be the recipient of the Nathan R Cowan Memorial Award! I've heard positive stories about Nathan throughout my sailing career and it's inspiring to receive an award in his honour. I feel incredibly lucky to be recognized for my efforts in the early stages of my career and look forward to many more challenges and successes to come!
  2. What would you say has been the largest contributing factor to your level of success?
    My growth as an athlete has come from my many amazing mentors and coaches along the way. When I started sailing, I didn't know anything about the boat but I already had an athlete's mindset, all thanks to my youth soccer coach who taught me toughness, sportsmanship and "the love of the game". I then have had a series of amazing sailing coaches who have made their impact on me, from my first club coach's enthusiasm and hard-working attitude to my current coaches who have inspired me to persevere through challenges and love the sport every step of the way. Not only do I have this incredible support system, I also have my parents, who are my biggest lifelong mentors in everything I do! 
  3. What are your interests outside of sailing?
    One of my favourite hobbies is trying out new sports. In high school, I played volleyball, soccer, field hockey, and even a little table tennis! I'm currently learning to speed skate and I like to mix up my workouts with running, cycling, and swimming.
  4. What is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring High Performance sailors?
    As an athlete, sometimes you'll be on top of your game and sometimes you'll be fighting for every inch. Try to embrace all the challenges that come your way, remember your love for the sport, and know that every obstacle you overcome will make you a better sailor! 


Join us in celebrating this award on Friday, March 1st, 2019 at 6.30pm at The Carlu in Toronto, ON. Tickets are available here!  




Friends and family of Nathan Cowan donated this award to the CYA in 2002 to honour the memory of Nathan Cowan, a Canadian Sailing Team member, who died tragically in a car accident on February 16, 2002. In 2002, after years of determination and persistence, Nathan finally achieved his goal of making the National Team. Nathan’s friends and family have designed the criteria of this award in order to support athletes like Nathan, and help them through these years of hard work. In order to be eligible, the candidate must:

a) Have a record of outstanding achievement in national and international competition, have followed a committed training program during the award year and brought recognition to  Canadian competitive sailing.

b) Have demonstrated an effort in fundraising through sponsorship and private contributions.

c) Be 19 or over as of December 31st in the year of nomination.

d) Must not be a member of

the Canadian Sailing Team, or be a carded athlete during the award year.

e) Have demonstrated leadership and sportsmanship.

f) Be a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident of Canada.