Don’t be surprised to see something ‘pearly’ on the prize list of the Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club (HBYC)’s Lady Skippers Trophy Race this Sunday 21st April as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Female members of HBYC attend a training session organised by WOW.
The race is open to all female helms – crew can be of either gender – from any club around the bay. It is also the fourth race in the hotly-contested Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series (PPWCS), which combines five races into one trophy series.
HBYC has a long tradition of encouraging women on the water. The club welcomed its first female member and boat owner – Shirley Freeman - in 1974. The name may sound familiar to many sailors, since the club’s rescue boat - often seen out and about on the race course - is named after her.
In October last year, HBYC formed the ‘Women on Water’ group – fondly known as ‘WOW’ - to encourage more female members from HBYC to compete in the Women in Sailing Challenge (WISC) held by Sandringham Yacht Club every year. The idea hit the right note and is now a popular and growing part of the club’s sailing scene. WOW facilitates boats for female members to race on, and organises training programs, theory sessions and social events.
Maureen Dickens, an active WOW member, said she feared she was suffering burnout from too much fun! 'We are still buzzing from all the full-on sailing activities both on and off the water. It is great for us to get out there in our own right, hone the skills we’ve learnt in the training sessions, and try positions that we haven’t had the opportunity to do before. I am loving being on the helm!'
WOW was inspired by Waikawa Boat Club in New Zealand, who started a similar group five years ago, and Maureen will be presenting a burgee from the Waikawa Boat Club to HBYC after this Sunday’s Lady Skipper Trophy Race.
Last year’s race was won by Julianne Gibson (Kerina), who will be presenting the trophy to this year’s winner at a social event at HBYC after the race. And for those who have never been to a WOW social event – these girls know how to celebrate. Don’t miss it!
More information about the HBYC Lady Skippers Trophy Race
More information about the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series