Oklahoma City commodore to weigh anchor

By Helen Ford Wallace Published: September 28, 2009
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Ann Kilpatrick has been at the helm of Lake Hefner’s Oklahoma City Boat Club all year as the commodore, and she’s been on the board of directors for five years. But when she first petitioned to join the boat club about 30 years ago, it wasn’t open to women.

Her term of office as commodore, which ends in October, caps a long history with the OKC Boat Club and a lifelong love affair with boats. She has been sailing since she was a child. As an infant, her parents took her with them when they sailed. Boat lore has it that she was carried onboard the boat in a picnic basket.

Kilpatrick is the second female commodore ever, and she is one of two who broke the barrier for women in the club. When she was first asked to join, the application and interview process took 14 months. When it was over, she became a dues-paying member in 1982; today, there are 20 women among the 200 members.

She owns a 22-foot F2 keelboat and a Sunfish sailboat once sailed by Paul McCartney. Her dad, the late Bill Kilpatrick, a commodore in the 1950s, introduced her to sailing and gave her access to his boats while she was learning.

Her mother, the late Joann Kilpatrick, was a crew member on the boats for her husband, and her brother, Mac Kilpatrick, is a championship sailor.

Ann Kilpatrick can be found at the boat docks at least five days a week. She organizes races, is chairman of the monthly board and membership meetings, and uses her lawyer skills to remind club members about her pet projects — one of which is the annual charity regatta in June that began in 2001. That Lighthouse Charity Regatta raises funds that are distributed to two Oklahoma City-based charity events a year.

"About 30 years ago, they added the Wednesday night races that are really the most popular races today. They start in May and end in September. It is a great way to break up the week, like a mini-vacation and destressor in the middle of the week,” she said.

Another project that she loves is the youth sailing program for club members’ children and their friends.