By Jenny Spearman
Who would have thought that RFBYC’s initiative to promote women in sailing would have led to the BW8 Vitalstatistix Team of 6 ladies, racing in the Thursday mid – week A division fleet?
Caroline Gibson and I started sailing with the twilight program, efficiently run by Trish Ford and Sandy Anderson; Deb Henderson and Christine Hunt joined in as sailing Mum’s – kids now off their hands, then Lyn Micha, a friend from the tennis club came along. Our common goal was to learn how to sail and to keep learning. We were then very fortunate to have Sue Parker join Team VS as she has lots of experience and expertise.
I started to learn to skipper last year with Sandy Anderson coaching me and making sure I knew the rules and this is my first winter season on the helm without her. I have been scared by many boats and have surely confused others – there should be “L” Plates for new skippers!
With the club’s support, assistance and Sandy’s coaching and mentorship, I have gained both courage and confidence to take responsibility for my boat and crew as skipper. I would like to thank my crew for putting up with my anxious moments and for sticking with me, and training on a regular basis so we all improve and improve we have. Thanks to the club’s handicap system of encouraging new skippers, Team Vitalstatistix has even been fortunate enough to end up on the podium from time to time.
Ladies, the club offers amazing free programs – in summer you can go twilight sailing on a BW8, learn how to sail effectively and enjoy socialising at the club while meeting new friends. Then the competitive amongst you can continue with Friday evening training, run by Grant Alderson, in the build up to the Women’s State Championships. This year RFBYC entered a team of 14 sailors in total, rotating the crew and achieving 3rd overall.
Sandy also sails on Larrikin, a BW8 on Thursdays and once you know the basics, crew are welcome to join her to race. You don’t need a boat, just lots of enthusiasm and the willingness to learn and desire to have lots of fun.
The photos have been donated by John Carlson of JPC Photography. Debbie Blaauw kindly arranged for John to be taken out on a rib to capture the on water shots. Many thanks to Tom Blaauw who gave up his time to drive the rib, to RFBYC for again supporting us ladies and to John Carlson for his amazing photography. He can be contacted on Facebook: JCP photography.