There’s still time to enter Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta 2024

Australia’s longest running women’s keelboat competition, the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (AWKR), has so far attracted 26 entries, with organisers at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron expecting up to 35 boats for their annual event, traditionally sailed over the Kings Birthday weekend on Port Phillip.   

The 32nd running of the regatta will be held from 7-10 June and this year, with multiple entries received from Tasmania, Queensland, NSW, South Australia and the Northern Territory, along with a large contingent from Victoria so far.  

Apart from the general divisions, there will be separate divisions for the S80 and J24 classes this year.

Thanks must go to those Victorian yacht owners who have made their boats available to interstate entrants.

Jenny Simondson (Outlaw) and Fiona McManus (Mood Indigo) and their crews return all the way from Darwin Sailing Club in the Northern Territory to sail S80s. In 2023, Simondson’s crew placed second in Division 2 and in the S80 division. They will arrive with visions of taking out both divisions this year. 

Others who are coming back after making the podium last year include Clare Olding (Vertigo, Vic) whose crew missed first place by one point to Jungle Juice (NSW), which this time will be skippered by Justine Ella in place of Claire Heenan.

Having not raced at the AWKR since 2019, Mary Ann Harvey returns from South Australia with Clockwork, the Sydney 38 she co-owns and sailed to 38th overall in the difficult 2023 Rolex Sydney Hobart. Pictures of Clockwork in harsh conditions during the race were well documented.

Harvey will be a guest speaker at the dinner on Saturday night of the AWKR, when she will share her story of the Hobart and other sailing highlights.

Friday is opening night of the regatta when the Briefing will be held (dinner is available at the Club). And the popular post-race free BBQs with beverages return following racing each day.

In the meantime, AWKR Chair, Monica Jones says, “Please join us on Friday 24 May in the Harbour Room at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron for inspiration from some of Australia’s most prominent sailors, Wendy Tuck and Alice Parker, speaking at the AWKR Women’s Sailing Panel, to be chaired by Dee Mason.

Competing at the AWKR for the first time this year, Tuck was the first woman to win an around the world race has 16 Sydney Hobarts under her belt and was a skipper on Maiden, which sailed around the world to raise the awareness of the 130 million girls globally who do not have access to an education.

Tuck now works for the Making Waves Foundation, a charity that takes children who are living with disabilities or social disadvantages sailing.

Parker grew up sailing on NSW’s Pittwater, has competed on the International Women’s Match Racing circuit, as well as sailing Etchells, MC38’s and Farr 40’s before developing her offshore skills and becoming a specialised navigator.

Parker navigated URM (a Reichel/Pugh 72) to second overall and third over the line in the 2023 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. She has also successfully navigated the TP52’s Ichi Ban, Celestial and Matador at a variety of Australian and overseas events.

“It will be a fun and interactive night,” Jones promises, “so don’t miss out. Dinner will be available at the Club from 6pm, with the panel underway from 7pm. There will be a band after for those who would like to kick on.”

This is a free event and open to anyone who would like to come along. No booking required.

There is a place for everyone from novices up to professionals at the AWKR, but you need to enter before entries close this Friday 24 May at 1700 hours. Enter online where you can also find the Notice of Race:    

If you are looking for crew or would like to crew, please go to: or email:  or phone (03) 9534-0227.

By Di Pearson/AWKR media

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