After their first try-out, a succesful participation in the Bay Regatta, Lady Sevenstar aims to get two women's Firefly teams into the regular ACYC yacht races starting in March and the next regatta, the Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Race Week in July. Sevenstar Yacht Transport, keen to support women's sailing, has already agreed to continuing sponsorship.
Lady Sevenstar line up: (l to r) Meike Lange, Marieke Derks, Lies Sol, Maureen Ezendam, Liz Schoch
The first all-women's team to join the 2013 Bay Regatta sailed under a lucky star from the beginning. 'From the very first moment we had the idea to join the regatta with an all women's team,
everything came together smoothly and almost effortlessly,' says initiator Marieke Derks, marketing representative of Sevenstar Yacht Transport. 'Everyone I asked said 'yes' without hesitation. We learned so much in the regatta and the practice sails we had beforehand, it is proof creating a constructive, positive atmosphere
is the way to go.'
Helmswoman Liz Schoch agrees: 'different from sailing with a mixed crew I thought this was so much more empowering. The crew did great! These Fireflys can be quite tricky to sail. Challenging and daily changing wind conditions made for interesting racing. Considering it was our first regatta, we can be proud; this was a good start for the women's team. Next I would like to see our team inspiring other women to follow suit.'
Maureen Ezendam, rechristened 'Daggerboard Queen Maureen', loved the excitement of the races, especially the starts. 'Fear and excitement are different sides of the same coin. We can choose to be scared or exhilirated, it's up to us. I have not stopped learning these past days and feel much more comfortable and confident onboard. I love these fast and fiery Fireflys and hope five of them will be in the regatta next time.'
Although she did not have a fixed idea about sailing in a regatta, newbie in the race circuit Meike Lange thought racing was better than she could ever have expected. 'I do like to go fast and Lady Sevenstar did not disappoint. One day in the regatta we had a speed gauge and clocked over 17 knots. The crew was very supportive and sailing and staying together for these past days has brought us closer. I loved it and look forward to go sailing again soon!'
Lies Sol was not as much focused on winning as on sailing well and having a good time with the girls. 'In that sense we were winners every day! It all went smoothly and I kept my cool during the races. Many of the other sailors commented we had more than held our own, even in the more challenging winds. I hadn't expected such support and positive comments from our competitors, that was great.'
Lady Sevenstar will continue to practice regularly, sailing out from Andaman Sea Club's base in Ao Yon. They invite more women to join them as there are still a few places available in the two teams. A little or a lot of sailing experience doesn't matter; a positive attitude, team spirit and willingness to learn are more important.