Deceased , Historic




1913 - 1989

Honors and Accomplishments:

  • 5-time winner of Adams Cup – US Women’s National Championship (one as crew, 4 as skipper)
  • Awarded Herreshoff Trophy in 1966 for her accomplishments and leadership – first woman to be so honored
  • Inducted into IOD Hall of Fame
  • 8-time Champion, Syce Trophy, Long Island Sound’s Women’s Championship
  • US Yachtswoman of the Year 1963
  • Chairman of US Women’s National Championship Committee for 24 years
  • Founded Int. Blue Jay Class Association and served as President for 30 years
  • 1962 – Watch Captain of the yacht Pacifica– owner Gabriel Giannini

Interesting fact: Allegra is the sister of Arthur Knapp, Jr. – who was elected to National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2019

The following is excerpted from The New York Times, July 10, 1989:

Allegra K. Mertz, 76, Leading Yacht Figure

Allegra Knapp Mertz, [at the time] the only woman to win yachting’s most prestigious accolade, the Nathanael D. Herreshoff award, died yesterday at the Swedish Hospital in Seattle. She was 76 years old.

Mrs. Mertz sailed for most of her life. For 25 years, she was president of the Blue Jay Class Association, a group representing owners of the 14-foot sailing dinghy. She received the Herreshoff trophy in 1966 from the North American Yacht Racing Union, sailing’s national governing body at the time, for her leadership and accomplishments in the sport. She was also chairman of the union’s women’s division for 24 years.

She competed eight times for the Mrs. Charles Francis Adams Cup, a national sailing championship for women. Mrs. Mertz won the event as skipper four times. She was an eight-time winner of the Syce Cup, a trophy for the women’s sailing champion of Long Island Sound.

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