Last week, we gave you an overview of the State Championships. This week, we focus on our women sailors.
At a time when women in sport is a major social and political focus, it was encouraging, but not sufficient, that 30% of the Radial and 4.7 sailors at the State Championships were women.
Notably, it was women who featured at the top of both fleets, with the top 10% of the fleet comprising 50% women in the Radials and 75% women in the 4.7s. 59% of the 29 cubes in those fleets went to women (and 47% of those to women from Team DBSC)!
Of particular note was DBSC’s Marlena Berzins, member of the Australian Sailing Team, and 1st overall, 1st female and 1st U19 in the Radials.
Just like the tussle we wrote about last week at the front of the Standard fleet, Marlena also had a close contest in her fleet, ending the first day equal with Jacinta Ainsworth. However, after dropping a 10 from the first day, and with an impressive 1, 1, 2, 2, 9 for the remainder, Marlena took the title by a comfortable 5 points in the end.
Marlena was excited by the large fleet of women, stating, “It was amazing competing with so many strong female sailors.”
Also worthy of mention were DBSC’s Brooke Wilson and Mina Ferguson, who were 2nd and 3rd overall in the 4.7s, and 1st and 2nd U16 in that fleet. Well done to you all.
Marlena is thrilled to see so many girls coming up in the 4.7s. She explains, “Now that there is such a strong support network, it’s much more comfortable for girls to move into a Laser. There is so much talent out there. Before sailing a Laser meant just sailing with the guys. Not anymore.”
But this is not where this topic ends. DBSC is committed to promoting women in sailing and women in our club. We are proposing next year to hold what will be billed as “the inaugural Women’s Laser Regatta hosted by Double Bay Sailing Club”.
The plan is to promote the regatta throughout Australia, and we have strong support to do so from Australian Sailing and the Laser Association.
Clare Alexander is leading the Regatta Committee, and we have some exciting plans. On the Saturday, participants will be offered a coaching session in the morning and will then be invited to sail in our normal racing program, before returning to the club for champagne and gourmet delights on the deck. On the Sunday, there will be a scrumptious breakfast before the regatta, which will comprise a series of sprint-style races, with sponsored prizes for the various race winners and the overall winners.
So, what about the men? Well, it’s our turn to give back. For the State Championships, most of the volunteers were women, but for the Women’s Laser Regatta, this will be reversed. And we will also be asking people not sailing that weekend to provide their boats to visiting women who need a vessel.
This will be a first for Laser sailing, and we think that is a big deal. It’s very exciting, so watch this space.