• Katrina Hartman at the helm of Take One - Bruno Cocozza pic
    Katrina Hartman at the helm of Take One - Bruno Cocozza pic
  • Salamander III crew skippered by Monica Jones - Bruno Cocozza pic
    Salamander III crew skippered by Monica Jones - Bruno Cocozza pic
  • Amanda Irving skippered Cavarlo at the AWKR - Bruno Cocozza pic
    Amanda Irving skippered Cavarlo at the AWKR - Bruno Cocozza pic
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Expected big winds and squalls on Port Phillip have forced organisers at Hobsons Bay Yacht Club to abandon racing in the opening round of Victoria’s Port Phillip Women’s Championship in Melbourne today.

Racing in Division 1 was expected to get underway at 11am, with Division 2 starting 10 minutes later on a shorter course. However, a predicted westerly of 25 knots with big gusts has already come to fruition, with winds already at 23 knots at 10am.

Spokesperson and competitor for the event, Katrina Hartman said, “Of course it’s disappointing, but safety has to come first. We’ll at least still have our planned afternoon tea.”

Eighteen crews were ready to contest the HBYC hosted race for Shirley Freeman Memorial Trophy in Division 1 and the La Mademoiselle Cup for Division 2 Non-Spinnaker. It was to be the first race of the seventh edition of the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series (PPWCS) for 2018-19. It will now be sailed at a later date.

However, it is not all about the winning, but more about taking part, learning, making new friends and most importantly, having fun. It is a wonderful sport, enjoyed by women of all ages, from pre-teens to the ‘sky is the limit’.

Crews will discuss the possibilities over afternoon tea at the Club later today, when the more experienced sailors mixed it with those newer and new to sailing.

A popular five-race series, ending with the final race on 28 April 2019, it is organised by Australian Sailing’s Victorian region and the Women and Girls in Sailing (WGIS) committee.

Progressively over the years, the event has attracted a growing number of female sailors, spawning a new pool of talented sailors for both inshore and offshore racing.

Many familiar races from the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta hosted by Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron in June will also be taking part in the series, including Monica Jones (Salamander III), who finished runner-up at that event, missing top place by one point, along with Amanda Irving, Vanessa Twigg, Clare Olding and Katrina Hartman.

An increasing number of women and girls are entering the sailing arena, so will be inspiring for competitors to hear from mother and daughter duo, Kate Wylie and 14 year-old Molly Grimes who are to speak on their sailing journeys.

In 2013, at nine years of age, Molly sailed the Port Phillip Women’s Championship with her mum on Ariel. She was by far the youngest competitor, and at the time commented: “I really enjoyed it. I got to let go of the jib and do some winching.” The young sailor has come a long way since then.

Race 2 of the series for the Jennifer Goldsmith Trophy will be held on Sunday 3 February at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron. Register now at: https://www.topyacht.com.au/db/kb/1017

For all information, please visit: http://www.womenandgirlsinsailing.com.au/keelboats/portphilip2018-2019/

Di Pearson/PPWC media

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