Waikawa Boating Club's Evolution Sails Women’s Regatta 2022
In the past I have an allergic reaction to these segregation events. Having been around the course a few times with women’s sailing in my life. As a teen I was confused when selected to be on the inaugural Womens National Keelboat team for Wellington, why a separate regatta? I truly didn’t get it. (A team that blended the four main clubs in Wellington and the helms women was Sue Higgins of WBBC nonetheless).
However – more recently I have seen the error in my POV. Yet I continue to find it deeply annoying that we are still having to segregate events.
We have to, and the Waikawa’s regatta proves it.
Attended by ~219 women sailors, two fleets of about 15 boats each, a mix of partially women and fully women crewed. The racing was fierce, and we had to be on the ball. It was brilliant!
There is no other event that facilitates women getting on the water racing, as functioning crew members. Waikawa Boating Club has done a brilliant job with the continued success of the regatta for that purpose.
I was still frustrated to hear the stories of keen and capable sailors who get out regularly yet flick side to side in a race as ‘rail weight’ (a term used in the recent past was rail dolls – charming isn’t it?!), waiting to be asked to do just one job.
I hand it to boat owners, lending their expensive craft out - regardless of the gender sailing, it’s a big ask to let your boat race with unknowns on board, and there were some spectacular crashes and close calls. We even had the wonderful Phill Williams with his own boat and a crew of fine sailors competing. In fact, I think four keel boats sailed from Wellington to race – how good?!
I was super lucky to sail with some fabulous wahine. Hosted by Hurricane Rigging we were skippered by our own Kim Gottard, sailing the mighty Cisco (Mull 9.5) owned by Anna (& Chris) Polson and crew of Emily Riley, Meg Stechmann, Rose Mannering, Annable Kynman-Wilson and yours truly brought us home to a 3rd in Division 2 and 2nd overall fully female crew.
The only smudge was the ridiculous men who wore skirts to sail on one of the boats – the 80s called; they want their misogyny back.
Next year, RPNYC and EBY&MBC and WBBC are going to see how we might get more of our fabulous wahine there and will host an information evening in due course. More information can be found on the Waikawa Boating Club site https://waikawaboatingclub.co.nz/womens-regatta/