Women in Sailing Challenge back for Round 2 PPWCS 2017-18

by Rosie Colahan and Cate Parsons

Cate Parsons spinnaker trimming aboard Cavarlo for ORCV Women's Skippers and Navigators Race 2017
Cate Parsons spinnaker trimming aboard Cavarlo for ORCV Women's Skippers and Navigators Race 2017
Cate at the helm of Hartbreaker
Cate at the helm of Hartbreaker

The Women in Sailing Challenge (WISC) is back again in 2018 at the Sandringham Yacht Club (SYC) this Sunday. Join in the fun and sign up to race today!

The regatta constitutes the second race of the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series (PPWCS), and will be held on Sunday, 11 February 2018. The WISC event has now been running for over twenty years and from its inception, has strongly mandated the predominance of female sailors in the crews to take up key positions on the boat including helm, bow, and mainsail trim.

This formula has attracted a broad audience of keen female sailors, from beginners to highly experienced racers including world champions, olympians and even a Volvo Ocean Race veteran in the mix. Last year, a fleet of 18 yachts took to the water, including skipper and Olympian Krystal Weir, along with a stellar cast of Australia’s best and budding female champions, having a Wicked time aboard the Beneteau 40 First of the same name.

This year, newbie sailor Cate Parsons will be joining the event for the first time on board Frenzy skippered by Steph Strong. With no previous sailing experience, the idea of a week in sunny Hamilton Island sailing during Race Week was tempting enough for Cate to sign up and complete Yachtmaster Sailing School’s 5-day live aboard Competent Crew course. After her first experience on board a keelboat, she was swiftly picked up to crew on Cavalier 395 Cavarlo at RBYC, skippered by Marnie Irving in last years Brighton Ladies Skippers Series (BLiSS), and went on to race in the the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta(AWKR).

The Whitsunday’s dream saw Cate racing at both Hamilton Island and Magnetic Island Race Weeks, and on her return to Melbourne, she found a spot onboard the Reichel Puch 46 Hartbreaker at RBYC with Tony and Gaye Walton. Cate has since completed over 1,000 offshore miles from two deliveries and racing in Sydney’s CYCA sailing program with Hartbreaker. Most recently, Cate raced with Hartbreaker at the Festival of Sails in the IRC Rating Div 1 against the likes of Ichi Bahn, Team Hollywood and Primitive Cool in the largest regatta in the southern hemisphere. She continues to enjoy regular Saturday Club racing with Hartbreaker, along with Thursday Twilights at SYC on board J24 Two Dogs with Jack Fullerton, and is always looking out for new and exciting opportunities that Sailing continues to offer!

‘The experiences sailing has provided over the past year have been incredibly rewarding, and somewhat challenging, but that’s what makes it all the more enjoyable. The people I’ve met along the way have been amazing and supportive of my learning, and being part of a crew is always a bit of a fun. The opportunities are out there, it’s just about getting out there and getting your hands on them!’

In the short 9 months that Cate has found her passion for Sailing, she has also completed ORCV’s Beyond the Bay program, the ORCV's Sea Safety and Survival Course (SSSC), obtained her Marine Radio Operator Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP) radio qualification, Senior First Aid certificate, and embraced the opportunity to participate in the Women & Girls in Sailing Committee’s ‘Developing Future Female Leaders’ course, that brought together a vibrant group of female sailors passionate about the sport and ambitious to become leaders and progress the position of women in sailing.

‘The Women in Sailing Challenge is an exciting opportunity to strengthen skills in different roles, and for me it’ll be on board a different boat too. I’m looking forward to joining the SYC crew aboard Frenzy and racing against other females from across the bay.’

Whatever your experience, all female sailors are encouraged to come and join in the WISC one-day regatta which provides some great racing opportunities. If you’re interested in racing, but don’t have a boat, get in touch with the SYC Boating Office. You may be eligible to borrow one of the SYC Beneteau 7.5s or you can add your name to the crew register. Either way, get in touch!

This year’s event will again be run in three divisions, with multi race format for the racing division (IRC, AMS, EHC), one design SYC Beneteau 7.5 fleet racing, and a single longer race for Cruising Division. Everyone is invited to come back and celebrate the regatta achievements at a presentation at SYC after the final race on Sunday 11 February.

Notice of Race and Online Entry is now available on the WISC webpage. Please check the race documents to determine required female-held positions, as well as the ratio of male-to-female crew members required based on total crew numbers.

Entries to WISC close on Wednesday 7 February 2018 at 1700. Late entries may be accepted up to 1600hrs on Saturday 10 February but may be subject to late entry fee. A crew list is also required for each boat to be submitted to boating@syc.com.au by no later than 1700 hrs on Friday 9 February.

For the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series, entry to any one of the five races in the series will automatically include your results in the series at no additional cost to each day’s entry fee for the host club. Further information is available on the Women & Girls in Sailing website.

We encourage you, no matter what your experience, to sign up today. Good luck to all sailors, we look forward to seeing you on the water on Sunday!

Hot on the heels of WISC, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) follows on Sunday, 18 February 2018 with Race 3 of PPWCS with their Jennifer Goldsmith Trophy. Notice or Race out now. 




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