Despite there being only one J 24 entered at the 2016 Women in sailing regatta, our girls took out the major placings. On a perfect day for racing on Port Phillip Bay Melbourne, 18 boats varying from 50 feet down to the smallest boat a J24, sailed four heats in ten knots, 28 degrees and smooth seas.
Taking out the major prizes were Kirsty Harris, winner in PHF and Steph Strong winner on a count back in AMS (and also came 3rd on PHF Wisc), both these girls are local J 24 skippers and they and their crews sailing much larger boats just held off Pauliina Matilla and her team in J24 ‘Bruschetta VI’ who came second in both divisions.
Our girls have a pedigree like no other, Paullina’s crew of Sonja Schalin, Madeleine Linton and Maria Vasardani, recently crewed on J’s that came 3, 4 & 5 in the 2016 J 24 Australian Championships, whilst Kirsty and her crew came 6th in the Nationals. Steph and her team sail the J24 Youth boat ‘Sidetracked’ supported by our local fleet and regularly get podium finishes.
The best women’s teams come together from the major clubs around the bay and to see our J 24 girls in first and second, over two divisions is a feather in the cap for the efforts that have been made in encouraging women in our sport. Amongst our local J fleet of 20 boats we have a participation ratio of 40% female skippers or crew.
Well done girls…. a great result. Story by Hugo Ottaway.