Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta 2024: Day 1 underway

A sunny morning in Melbourne heralded the start of the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (AWKR), Australia’s longest running women’s keelboat competition, which has attracted 33 entries from Victoria, South Australia, NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

A unique event hosted by women for women at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, inclusive of race officer Lou Hutton, who was forced to put up the AP flag this morning as breeze was almost non-existent on Port Phillip.

However, the flag came down and Hutton announced: “Aiming for an 11am start – no promises though, ” she said of Race 1, sponsored by Rothwell Lawyers which specialises in commercial law, litigation, insolvency, property law, and family law.

Traditionally run over the three days of the Kings Birthday weekend, the 32nd AWKR is chaired by Monica Jones, who is also a competitor with her Adams 10, Salamander III.

“We’re pleased that our regatta continues to attract a high entry level from across Australia,” Jones said.

“We encourage females from the most experienced to total novices, from teenagers to the more mature aged, and I think that is one of the many appeals of the regatta.”    

And there are prizes to reflect the variety of entries from Novice Helm; Most Improved Over the Series; Sportsmanship; Rohan Brownlee Leadership and Endeavour Award and Best Performed Owner/Skipper.

Making her first appearance at the AWKR is NSW sailor Kathy Veel who will sail on Spartan with another first timer, Wendy Tuck, who needs no introduction. Veel has five Sydney Hobarts behind her. She is a proponent of women in sailing and her Hobarts have been in all women crews and her last two with Bridget Canham as the only two-handed entry in either race.

Veel is one of those at the regatta in her 70s and at the other end of the spectrum are 15 year-olds and 17 year-old Tyndelle Bleakley, on her third AWKR, this time on the bow of Sunshine.

“I love the sailing here and meeting new people,” the Adelaide university student said.

One of the other unique aspects of the AWKR are the people who loan their yachts to those competitors who cannot afford the time to deliver their own to Melbourne. There is no other regatta making this generous offering. We thank them all.

Then there are the Boat Buoys, this year sponsored by local rigger, Janet Wilks, courtesy of her business Wilksie Marine Yacht Rigging.

The Boat Buoys are an all-male support group who happily volunteer their time to take up any repairs that need doing after racing each day. 

For full results and all information, please visit: https://www.awkr.com.au/    

If you are looking for crew or would like to crew, please go to: www.awkr.com.au/crew-noticeboard or email: awkr@rmys.com.au  or phone (03) 9534-0227.

By Di Pearson/AWKR media

Follow the regatta on our social media channels

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AustralianWomensKeelboatRegatta   

Instagram: www.instagram.com/awkr.rmys   

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