sail-world.com -- TP52 women grinding smarter not faster
TP52 women grinding smarter not faster
Sun, 10 Feb 2013
The muscle factor comes into play in the TP class, one of the reasons these hard core racing machines are handled predominantly by men. At the inaugural TP52 Southern Cross Cup being held on Port Phillip in Victoria this weekend there is a handful of women among the 100 crew contesting the grand prix series opener.
John Williams and Graeme Ainley’s Calm, Michael Martin’s Frantic from Newcastle and Jason Van Der Slot’s Calm 2 all have a woman on the team, and all bring different expertise to the campaign.
Jade Mackay’s role is mid bow on Sandringham Yacht Club boat, Calm 2, managing sails and sail changes. She believes she’s completed the most Rolex Sydney Hobarts on a TP for a woman – five – and has been on the Calm program for the past three years, sailing the original TP Calm and now Van Der Slot’s new toy.
'Mid-bow is pretty challenging when the breeze is up,' she admits. A regular weekly gym session with the crew is part of the commitment to racing a boat of this pedigree.
'The more these boats develop the more muscle they take,' Mackay reckons.
At this regatta the owners introduced a crew limit as well as a cap on the number of professionals each of the eight boats could carry.
For Elizabeth Williams, navigator on Calm, this means as well as running the computers and stepping in to call tactics when her dad, John, takes a break from the wheel, Williams is down inside the boat in the ‘sewer’ pulling the enormous kite back into the boat at each drop.
Navigating is less physical than Mackay’s role, but long days on the water and the mental drain of hours of concentration take their toll.
'Dad and my brothers have always sailed big boats and when they needed a fill in they could rely on me to turn up, even in foul weather, because I’m family,' said Liz dockside at SYC.
Her advice for women wanting to enter this league of sailing is, 'know what you can offer and put yourself out there. These are not the sort of boats you get a ride on randomly.'
Emma Wilson does ‘strings’ on Frantic, the 2004 model TP, which means she pulls the halyards that hoist the sails. Going into day three Wilson says the energy level is still high. 'It’s great being so active. We have found the level of competition here really exciting; we are picking up new things every day.'
Gavin Brady, helmsman on Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste from Hong Kong, has plenty of Northern Hemisphere experience in the TP52 class and says the United States is where women are chiefly racing TPs.
'It’s technique more than grunt. These boats are about finesse and on our boat we say ‘grind smarter not faster’', says Brady from his perch at the top of the pointscore going into today’s final races. 'It’s great to see a few women getting in the mix at this regatta.'
Mackay hopes to see a few more at the next stage of this exciting new series, 'I’m all for supporting more women in sailing.'
A new Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series endorsed by Yachting Victoria and created by the Women and Girls in Sailing Committee is receiving great support from the major clubs. The umbrella pointscore is designed to develop participation and more skilled women who could very well find themselves part of a TP52 crew down the track.
Burke Marine, suppliers of international quality marine clothing and equipment, was founded by Martin Burke on the shores of Sydney Harbour in 1971. Visit our website for your nearest stockist. [More info]
Ensign Ship Brokers
Ensign Ship Brokers was established in 1980 and has spent the last 28 years expanding our marine knowledge and developing our reputation! We strive to provide the very best service! [More info]
GME Standard Communications Pty Ltd
Leaders in communications and navigation. Their goal has always been to make products whose innovation, convenience and peace of mind can help improve the lives of their customers. [More info]
Hamilton Island Luxury Accommodation
Full range of private apartments, villas and houses on Hamilton Island. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 bedroom options available. All include buggy and island airport or marina transfers. [More info]
Multihull Solutions is Australia and New Zealand’s premier offshore and cruising catamaran and trimaran specialist, offering sales and servicing of the world’s finest multihull brands.
Navionics is proud of its superb cartographic database comprising more than 25,000 charts and port plans; the largest privately owned database of its kind, the only one using full seamless technology [More info]
OziOpti is all about 'getting kids in boats' and the Australian company supporting the introduction to of the world’s most popular junior sailing yacht, the 'International Optimist Dinghy' [More info]
Performance Sailcraft Australia (Asia Pacific)
Laser builder Performance Sailcraft Australia has taken on the successful RS Sailboat range from Britain, and is now licensed to build and distribute all of the RS range in the Asia Pacific region. [More info]
Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week
Entries for the fourth annual Sealink Magnetic Island Race Week have opened! 4 days of racing, 5 days of fun – that is what you can look forward to from 3-7 September at Magnetic Island. [More info]
Vicsail Sydney Pty Ltd, launched into the Australian sailing fraternity in 1983 and has been sailing strong ever since. At Vicsail, “We Sail the Boats We Sell”. [More info]