Women across the country jumped onboard for World Sailing’s Steering the Course initiative. With the programme setting a new record for the number of participants taking part worldwide, SA Sailing’s Gabriella Flynn reports on how ladies across South Africa took to the concept.
The aim of the Steering the Course initiative is to introduce newbies to the sport of sailing by profiling and sharing stories of female sailors, engaging with women making a difference in the sailing community, and encouraging dialogue within the sailing community.
313 women participated in events across the country over three months. Regattas, training sessions, inspirational talks and much more took place from north to south, and east to west. From dinghies, to catamarans, and even racing boats, women had to the chance to develop their skills.
Royal Cape Yacht Club | Ladies Race | Learn to Sail program
110 ladies participated in the Ladies Race, with 20 boats entering on the day. The theme centred around giving women and girls the opportunity to get involved in sailing.
Extending the official Steering the Course timeframe, the Club hosted a Ladies Keelboat Learn-to-Sail programme on 30 October. Accomplished sailors shared their experiences and knowledge.
RCYC’s Power of Africa Ladies Sailing Team competed in the Lady Liberty Regatta held in New York. These women had previously never sailed together before but were determined to learn fast. They placed sixth overall.
Theewater Sports Club | Hobie and keelboat “Learn to Sail” weekend
15 women took part, braving strong winds and rain on the first day. Yet, they still came back for more on a balmy, light-wind Sunday.
The Stadt 23 champs saw a great turn out and great conditions. Olympian sailor, Dominique Provoyeur shared her story and gave some advice to young girls eager to learn more about sailing. Dominique competed in the Yngling event at the 2008 Summer Olympics and placed 12th with her all-ladies team – Isigungu.
“The challenge ahead of us is nothing compared to the power within us.”- Dominique Provoyeur.
Photo credit: Matt Du Toit Photography
Milnerton Aquatic Club | “Ladies Learn to Sail”
Seven women participated in this event as the Milnerton Aquatic Club welcomed all ladies to try sailing.
The Skipper Foundation – Mossel Bay | Learn to sail week
35 women took part in the Mossel Bay Learn to Sail week hosted by Elfie Holden.
Gordons Bay Sailing Academy:
“The Sailing Academy Gordons Bay provided two fully- subscribed weekend courses for women, run out of Gordons Bay Yacht Club on their L26 keelboat. They were blessed with good weather on both weekends with 4 to 15 knots of breeze.
On the Saturday they learnt about the wind and how sails work, different knots, the different parts of the boat, and they were put through a series of dry drills on the boat to prepare them for the next day’s sailing.
Both Sundays saw an early start to make the most of the tide. After a safety briefing they headed out of the harbour. They sailed a triangular course, which showed the students how to use their new knowledge out on the water in False Bay” – Neil Ashton.
Lake Deneys Yacht Club |Women on Water Weekend at Learn to Sail & Ladies Round the Island Race
33 women, from 15 years and up, and from diverse cultural backgrounds, took part in the Learn to Sail weekend. They were introduced to the theoretical and practical basics of sailing. They also participated in the ’42nd annual LDYC Ladies’ Round-the-Island Race’. A total of 56 ladies competed in the Round the Island Race.
Sail Africa – Durban KZN | Taste of Sailing programme
The Learn to Sail Programme attracted 13 girls, and the Girls Inter-schools regatta saw 35 girls from 5 different schools compete at Sail Africa. “It’s okay to try something different and to challenge yourself- you must be hands-on. Sailing is fun, it can take you places, and you will need to prepare yourself physically and mentally”- Vuyisile Jaca- sailor, assistant sailing and swimming instructor at Sail Africa.