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Welcome to the Board Room


Founder/Crew Captain
Erica Lichty


Erica was born and raised in the PNW.  Her father is a boat captain and her mother a designer,  in turn, she is a bit of both... sailing the San Juans as a family and working alongside her mother on job sites. After graduating from the California State Maritime Academy and working on oil rigs and supply boats she applied her skills in the yachting world.


She has spent 22 years as a self-made interior yacht and residential designer. During that time she has maintained a very healthy involvement in the outdoor community in the Pacific Northwest. She would like to nurture that growth and hopefully leave a legacy for her family and others. 


Maggie King


Maggie King aka Sister Mary Margaret Christopher is SEASTR's general counsel.  She is also a rowing coach at Pocock in Seattle WA, a technical scuba diver, sailor, lawyer and above all else a relentless advocate for others.

Rachel Byrne


The ocean has been and continues to be a healing place for me and I want to share that. I’ve never experienced more sexism than during the process of surveying, looking for and purchasing a boat as a single woman. It’s not equal, so creating an opportunity to help other women heal on the water is a ‘no brainer’!


Rachel weaves her passion for outdoor adventure into her holistic approach to therapy. 


Rachel utilizes creative and realistic interventions, environmental modifications, and family caregiver trainer to treat the complex neurofascial system. She enjoys helping patients live their lives to the fullest.

Vice Chairs/Boat Captains
Molly Howe & Jake Newton


Molly grew up sailing the coast of Maine aboard her parents 32’ cruising boat and sailing with friends.


After graduating from Maine Maritime in 2015 she moved to Seattle with her now husband Jake Newton. They live aboard a Farr 50 and sail competitively 3 days a week and almost every weekend from spring to late winter on their Melges 24, Tasar or friends’ keel boats.


Most recently she successfully competed in the Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Hawaii on an Aerodyne 43. They finished 4th in class and 15th overall.

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Karie Lynn Downing RN

Having been born and raised in the Central Cascades, to adventurous parents who met scuba diving, it was obvious that Karie would be interested in all things outdoors from the Mountains to the Sound. She has lived on Snoqualmie Pass, guiding Summer, Winter and Mountain Bike camps for kids in North Bend, became an International Road Bike Tour Guide for adults and was a deckhand in the Caribbean on a derelict Choy Lee. Karie is a Yoga & Meditation Instructor, Certified Doula, and a

Registered Nurse.


Merging human advocacy, environmental awareness, and healing into adventures Karie had the incredible opportunity to exercise her leadership skills by serving on the 2023-24 Board of SEASTR. 

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Vice Treasurer/Purser
Ivan Storck

Ivan Storck is a multifaceted individual whose passions span the realms of water sports, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. Based in Seattle, Ivan is renowned as a stand-up paddleboard and surfski racer, showcasing his athleticism and love for the Salish sea.


Professionally, Ivan thrives as a Senior Software Engineer at lululemon. During a hiatus from his career in tech, Ivan dedicated himself to raising his children as a stay-at-home dad, demonstrating his commitment to family and nurturing.


Ivan holds an MBA from the Leeds School of Business in Boulder, Colorado. He is also a certified FAA Part 107 Drone Operator and Photographer.

Kim Merrikin

Kim is a fat, autistic, PNW-raised woman with a love for communications, storytelling, and playing in and on the water. She has always wanted to be involved in water-based activities, but has faced the anti-fat biases and excluding practices of related industries—but in her mid-30s finally decided to do it anyways, despite the barriers, taking up swimming, paddle boarding, and surfing. As a relatively new water woman, she is excited to be on the 2023 board with Seastr PNW to be able to lend her voice to foster a safe and inclusive waterborne environment for ALL women, regardless of size or ability—or any other factor that has historically compounded the already harsh exclusion that women experience in those spaces.


Vice Communications/2nd Engineer
Danielle Julien Trice


Danielle Julien Trice is an aspiring sailor, having started getting on the water during the pandemic in an effort to build community and learn new skills. With over a decade of human resources management experience, she looks forward to assisting SEASTR grow and evolve.

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Natalie Mo


Natalie Mo is a passionate sailor, scuba diver, snowboarder, and stereotype-destroyer. She thrives on exhilarating adventures and exploring the depths of the sea. 


As a PNW transplant, she began her sailing journey at the Center for Wooden Boats and is currently a volunteer instructor. She's driven to push boundaries in outdoor sports, especially maritime activities, for women and underrepresented groups. 


Additionally, she's a daytime stats genius, aka actuarial specialist, quantifying risks for insurance companies. Whether navigating the seas with Valkyrie or delving into SEASTR's insurance forms, she embraces every opportunity to learn, grow, and make a splash.

Vice Strategist/Navigator
Amy Larsen

Amy found the world of sailing through the University of Washington’s student sailing club She found a group of like minded peers and boats that were accessible for learning. At the same time she was further developing her connection to the ocean by studying oceanography. 


She now works for the UW Applied Physics Lab, deploying and recovering oceanographic moorings to measure the health of the Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean. 


 She is extremely excited to be part of Project Valkyrie and SEASTR, to not only share her knowledge but also to continue to help make racing and the maritime community in Seattle accessible for women of all walks of life and backgrounds. 

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Advisor/1st Mate
Stephanie Best MA AMFT

Stephanie's work as a Mental Health Therapist allows her the opportunity to guide adolescent males in Adventure Therapy and regularly facilitate Surf Therapy for grief and loss.  She is the mother of sons and a lover of life. I lived through my greatest fear, I lost my oldest son to Leukemia at the age of 10. Through the navigation of grief, I have come out with a deeper love, an unshakeable faith, a greater awareness of self and of the world around me…and mostly, a sense of peace.

 I am committed to providing ethical and accessible services for all humans of all ages, body types, abilities, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations.

Advisor/2nd Mate
Sarah Craig

Sarah moved to Marina del Rey from Oregon and was introduced to the magical sport of Outrigger Canoe, whose Hawaiian culture emphasizes respect for the environment and harmony within the canoe and among people.   

Sarah is active in the paddle community as a budding long distance paddler and Chair of the SCORA Environmental Committee founded in 2020 to help the Organization go Zero Waste. Sarah, (Trash Tramp Inc.) has been a sponsor, speaker, coach and advocate at camps, clinics, and races, leading beach cleans and Trash Talks about our current trash crisis. Through Trash Tramp Inc. and while paddling, Sarah hopes that her time on the water can have a positive

impact for future generations of paddlers and non-paddlers alike.  

Alexa Carr

Alexa is a practical artist who is passionate about connection, expression, and growth through Sport. She is a high school Cross Country and Track and Field Coach, and recreational racer herself. She first came to the Olympic Peninsula as a transplanted Navy kid but her love for the Puget Sound has only grown; she is an enthusiastic open water swimmer, paddler, and two-time Seventy48 participant. She is currently a Captain-in-Training for the vintage wooden boat, MV TOPAZ. By day she is an Analyst in the Aerospace Industry where she gets to support the manufacturing of airplanes and systems that bring the world together. 


Systems/Shipwright's Assistant
Tim Balzer

Tim grew up fishing on the Great Lakes and open ocean around Florida aboard his family’s boats and paddling through Michigan’s interior waterways with the Boy Scouts.


While pursuing his BS in Wildlife Biology, Tim collaborated with Jean-Michel Cousteau on Catalina Island and the Big Island of Hawai’i to lead undergrad volunteers supporting youth-focused marine environmental education programs. His environmental community service continued in reef rehab in the Caribbean and numerous projects in the Rocky Mountains.


Tim’s boating experience spans a broad swath of vessels. He currently lives aboard a vintage Chris-Craft Constellation motor yacht. 


Volunteers & Collaborators

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