A celebration of women’s sailing on Sydney Harbour

More than 60 sailors from across Sydney Harbour gathered last night at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron to celebrate the conclusion of the 2021-22 Sydney Harbour Women’s Keelboat Series (SHWKS).

The evening started in the Carabella Room with a Q&A session with two of the fleet’s participants, Wendy Tuck and Kathy Veel.  Wendy raced in Division 2 on a J/24. In July 2018 she became the first female skipper to win the Clipper Round the World race, skippering the 70-foot yacht Sanya Serenity Coast over 40,000 nautical miles and six oceans.

Wendy Tuck and Kathy Veel. Pic – Marg Fraser-Martin

Kathy was on board Xena for the RSYS race in January. In 1989, Kathy, together with three other women, co-founded Women on Water. They competed as an all-female crew in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race aboard Belles Long Ranger (formerly Ragamuffin) a Petersen 46; Kathy co-skippered the yacht and they finished 89th IOR.

Hands in the air on Zig Zag 2.
Zig Zag 2. Pic – Marg Fraser-Martin

Wendy and Kathy are each embarking on two-handed campaigns for the 2022 Sydney Hobart. The audience were afforded a rare insight into some of the challenges this entails. RSYS Member Elyse Guevara-Rattray, navigator on Wings which also competed in the SHWKS and raced in last year’s Sydney Hobart, facilitated the session.

Winners: Tracy Richardson and the crew of Artemis, Catherine Rofe (Kaotic), Alexandra Conroy Star Ferry, Liz Charles (Kayimai), Wendy Tuck and her crew from Pacatack, Katy MacDonald and Dinah Eagle (Wilde Rush).

Following the presentation, guests enjoyed a casual dinner in the RSYS Careening Cove Anchorage.

For the full results, see: https://app.sailsys.com.au/club/27/results/series/1227/pointscore?handicap=s

For more photos of the SHWKS and presentation, see: https://www.rsys.com.au/news/image-galleries/

About the Sydney Harbour Women’s Keelboat Series

The aim of SHWKS is to grow female participation in competitive sailing and bring together boats from all clubs on Sydney Harbour. The series comprised five races over the 2021-22 summer sailing series.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia kicked off the series with race one in October 2021; Middle Harbour Yacht Club hosted race two in November 2021. At the end of January 2022, the Royal Sydney Yacht Club hosted race three; Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club ran race four in February 2022 and the final race in the series coincided with Manly Yacht Club’s Women’s Challenge in March 2022.

Boats nominated to sail with a female helm, or all female crew, spinnaker or non-spinnaker.  Some boats signed up for the series, others just for individual races.

Forthcoming female sailing opportunities

  • MHYC will run their Women’s Regatta on Saturday 7 May.  The 2019 event was a great success, with 23 entries from eight clubs and a combination of sprint and harbour passage races on offer. The 2020 regatta was abandoned due to Covid. This event is a great lead-in for teams planning to compete in the annual Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (see below).
    Online entry click here and NOR here.
  • Entries are now open for the Australian Women’s Keelboat Series hosted by Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, St Kilda, Victoria, on the Queen’s Birthday weekend. For more information see: www.awkr.com.au

By RSYS Rear Commodore Karyn Gojnich

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