Over the weekend a team from RPAYC entered the NCYC She Sails Development Regatta. The team of: Millie Stevenson, Pru Clearwater, Joanna Munchenberg and Michel Schuhmacher are all current participants in the RPAYC Shesails Keelboat Training Program. The Newcastle event is designed to promote and develop women’s sailing and is held annually to assist emerging sailing academy graduates make the transition into racing. The aim of the event was fun whilst learning.
Sailed in Newcastle’s fleet of Force 24’s, the crews are encouraged to swap roles, including skippering, during the weekend to ensure everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills in the different crew positions on a boat. Each boat is supported by a qualified instructor who joins them onboard.
Teams entered from Gosford, Kirribilli, Lake Macquarie and NCYC. Most with far more experience than our team.
Saturday afternoon we hit the water to learn the strategy of racing. Each member was given the opportunity to experience the different crew positions including helming and flying a spinnaker.
The shifty wind conditions on Newcastle harbour were challenging and tested our skills to adapt.
It was our first experience at racing having just completed the crewing and helming courses with RPAYC.
Sunday saw us participate in 4 windward/leeward races. As we completed each race our confidence and skill grew. We managed to get the spinnaker up, not all the teams even attempted the spinnaker.
It was a baptism of fire but we rose to the occasion and learnt so much working as a team.
While the focus of this regatta is on having fun while developing skills we did get caught up in the good-natured competitive side of things with our team of novice racers thrilled to place 3rd in the final race of the day. At this regatta they don’t award prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, but they do award for improvement, achievement and entertainment, and we were pleased to receive the award for ‘Best Boat Handling Skills’.
All the competitors and organisers were welcoming and there was a sense of camaraderie throughout the weekend. We look forward to doing more sailing and hope to start racing with the RPAYC Yachting fleet.
Report by Jo Munchenberg