Vanessa Twigg wins 2017 Local Hero Award

by WGIS Committee

Vanessa Twigg (r) receiving her Local Hero Award from WGIS Chair Deb Parker
Vanessa Twigg (r) receiving her Local Hero Award from WGIS Chair Deb Parker

Congratulations to Vanessa Twigg from Royal Brighton Yacht Club (RBYC) and Cowes Yacht Club (CYC), on taking out the 2017 Women & Girls in Sailing (WGIS) ‘Local Hero’ award at the recent Victorian Sailing Awards - a well deserved accolade for her outstanding efforts at both her home clubs.

The Local Hero award recognizes those actively involved in the coordination, promotion and administration of activities that raise the profile of and increase participation of women and girls in sailing and provide ongoing mentorship and support to female sailors.

At both her home clubs, Vanessa has been widely involved in both leadership and mentorship roles.

In her role as WGIS Club Representative, she provides a link from Australian Sailing Victoria (ASV) staff and the WGIS Committee, to  her clubs to support them in working with their committees, fellow members, new members and volunteers to positively promote female friendliness, inclusiveness and participation.

Vanessa has taken on several leadership roles at RBYC, being elected to General Committee in 2014 where her professional legal skills have been highly valued and formally recognised with a Commodore’s Award. In 2016, Vanessa was a driving force behind the establishment of the W&G@RBYC committee, becoming the inaugural chair and overseeing the bringing together of female members of all ages and from all sectors sailing to social, to enhance their membership experience. Vanessa has also taken a particular interest in providing support and mentorship to young female sailors and staff at the club.

Additionally, Vanessa is a member of the BLiSS (Brighton Lady Skippers Series) committee, RBYC’s signature annual keelboat event for female helms, which aims to encourage more female sailors to develop their skills and step up to lead roles in running their crews.

On the water, Vanessa shares in boat owner of Adams 10 Serious Yahoo and is a regular competitor and supporter of both mixed and all female crew events. Vanessa won the Women Skippers & Navigators Race, the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria’s (ORCV) annual passage race from Geelong to Melbourne in September 2016 and still found time to be a roving reporter for the day with her race report ‘No Flies on Us’. Additionally, she recently penned an article about female boat ownership ‘Boat Ownership an ‘Etchellente’ idea’ which has received an outstanding response on several social media platforms.

Regular crew member Sue Neales comments ‘ She is always gracious and generous, encouraging fellow female sailors to achieve their best, and always insisting younger girl sailors new to keelboats or less experienced female crew are placed on her boat as equal members of her crew, even sometimes to the detriment of her chances of winning. But that is so typical of Vanessa – she fervently believes that it is just as important to have a great crew camaraderie and a spirit of learning and mentoring onboard, as it is to win the silverware.’

‘A typical example of this was in the recent SYC Commodores Challenge last year between six Bay clubs using their One Design match racing boats, with Vanessa insisting two promising young female Cadet sailors were included as part of RBYC’s all-women’s crew of six as a fantastic learning experience, in stark contrast to some other Clubs that ruthlessly selected all their best female racers.’

Vanessa has also been extremely successful in her own right as a skipper and female helm, winning awards at the Port Phillip Womens Championship Series, taking out the best performed all female crew for BLISS 2017 and a regular attendee at Australian Women’s Keelboat Regattas, where she has often handed the helm to other female sailors for this prestigious event.

Congratulations to Vanessa who has demonstrated outstanding qualities at her clubs - ‘Always friendly, approachable and welcoming to all. A great role model and a great source of wisdom. A generous and competitive boat owner who is always inclusive and supportive to all comers.’

The WGIS Committee is committed to encouraging more females to consider taking up lead roles in their club. Leadership Training courses are run each year. The 2017 course is fully booked with 40 females with 20 each participants in the over-18yrs and under-18yrs groups. If you missed out this year, keep up to date with information about more opportunities by following our Women & Girls in Sailing website and Facebook


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