Largest Local SAIL Loft on East Coast!

latell ailsworth sails deltaville, VA 
evolution sails New Zealand

Take a look inside the magic that happens when community, career, passion, and a conscious approach to capitalism collide! Meet the literal sailmakers of Latell Ailsworth Sails, a trade that employs both traditional sailing skills and the latest yachting industry technology. In a marine industry moving more and more toward globalization and remote consulting–Latell Ailsworth is a brand and business that prides itself on it’s partnership overseas, as well as a strong local and regional East Coast presence. Is it any wonder Latell Ailsworth Sails, of Deltaville, VA–a small yachting center on the southern Chesapeake Bay–is a division of a Kiwi Company?

The kiwi’s may be a small island country but has a strong yachting history, along with modern democratic socialist practices. It’s capital, Auckland–is known as the City of Sails. In fact, its the first place I ever sailed and where I got into this whole sailing mess to begin with! My first day sail ever was in NZ (fun fact: the letter “Z” is pronounced “Zed” in N Zed). Latell Ailsworth overseas partner is Evolution Sails, a New Zealand sailmaking parent company.

I loved New Zealand and have pretty much just been trying to get back there ever since. By yacht of course. I told Latell I’d get the Evolution logo tattooed on me (which he did not endorse…yet) as a testament to my commitment endorsing this opportunity to low key partner Evolution Sails–I mean maybe the parent company wants to sponsor my return to Aoteaora (New Zealand in Maouri, literally translated to Land of the Long White Cloud).

Now I’m day dreaming again.

Sometimes it feels like I have a goal, I chase it, I get the opportunity, and then I have to do the actual work and the entire time I’m just dreaming of the next thing to chase. So before I get back to New Zealand I’ve got to just get back to my boat eight hours east of my current locale, and well, go finish my new Genoa furling headsail a few hours south of my boat, and then bring it to my boat, bend it on, photograph it and send it in on time for the deadline to SAIL Magazine to meet my contract for the October 2022 Issue and the Annapolis International Sailboat show.

Ha, and then sail my boat down of course. To where I have to finish refitting her and launch some entrepreneurial endeavors.

Can I pull it off? I usually do, in some way or another. It always works out in the end.

If you enjoy this video please check out @dinghydreams on YOUTUBE + Instagram! Help keep this site afloat please consider a donation.

Boat Girl Code

This post was written by Melanie Neale. Melanie is a published author, one of the leading yacht broker’s on the East Coast, and holds an MFA in creative writing. Her book, Boat Girl: A Memoir of Youth, Love, and Fiberglass, is about coming of age while living aboard and sailing full time on her family’s sailboat. Boat Girl takes you to the Bahamas every season with her family and eventually to life as a young woman living on her own boat. Melanie’s work has also appeared in Cruising World, Practical Sailor, and more! Melanie has gone on to own several boats including a Columbia, a C&C, and a Morgan. She also holds her 100 Ton USCG Captain’s License and the title of conch blowing champion on more than one Bahamian Island. She is basically royalty in the marine industry, and best of all is she endorses ME!  

Neale Editorial, Boat Girl,

There are some bad bitches out there. Once a boy referred to me as “the baddest bitch in the sea,” which I took as a tremendous compliment. Whether we’re bad or good, I kind of feel like we have an obligation to each other. I’ve tried to promote women working in the marine industry as much as I can, and I believe very much in the “collaborate don’t compete” mantra. My Facebook group, Women Working in the Marine Industry, joined Women Who Sail and other female-only groups about a year ago in the social media world, and the stories and profiles of the women on there are crazy-inspiring to me.

Boat Girl, by Melanie Neale

So when Emily passed through my home-town earlier in the year, blogging about this dinghy she built with Kourtney Patterson, another local badass boat girl, I took notice. Then my daughter and I ran into them while they were launching the dinghy, and things went from there. I sent her a book, she reached out on her way back through town, and then we became roommates.

Melanie Neale, Mealnie Neal Edwards Yacht Sales, Boat Girl
Melanie Neale, Boat Kid Extraordinaire

The roommate thing was kind of funny. Like I do with all my cruising friends, I offered her a place to do laundry, my truck for provisioning, warm showers, and a meal. “So, um, I’m looking for a place to stay for a little while,” she said when my daughter and I picked her up from the City Marina for laundry and a meal. That was months ago. Now she’s got her boat out of the water at a local boat yard and she’s killing it on the repairs and refit so that she can head for the Bahamas when she’s ready.

Melanie currently lives on land, but is no stranger to boat life.

In a lot of ways, I envy her. I went through a pivotal time in my life in my late teens during which I could have gone in one of two directions: get the little sailboat and start a life cruising or do what my parents wanted me to do and get a college education. I chose the latter, thinking that the education would earn me money to buy a bigger boat sometime down the road. We all know where that kind of thinking got my generation (oh, how I admire millennials and their hesitation to join the rat race!). So now, I pay my mortgage and send my kid to elementary school and pay my student loans (as little as I can…) and live vicariously through the girls like Emily who are doing what I wish I had done.

The original Boat Girl

But maybe my role as a Boat Girl is a little different than Emily’s. She earned my respect even more with her recent response to Sailing Anarchy’s sexist photo SCOTW (Sailing Chick of the Week) photo. I studied creative writing; she studied journalism. I admire ballsy writing. What if my role is to support and champion other boat girls?

Some of the smartest people I know are millennials. Watching them take over the marine industry is immensely satisfying. If my role is to help launch them or help just one or two get on their feet and achieve their dreams, then I am doing what I was meant to do. It’s code. Boat Girl Code. It’s a beautiful thing.

Keep collaborating, friends. We’re all in this together.


Melanie Neale