Port Phillip Women's Championship Series wraps up in style

Consistent performers throughout the series, Nouannie seals AMS and PHS
Steb Fisher
The Port Phillip Women's Championship Series (PPWCS) wrapped up in fine style with the final race being part of last Sunday's rather glamorous Brighton Ladies Skipper Series (BLiSS).

The Sunday race was the last of five races, each held by one of the keelboat clubs at the top of the bay between February and May. Each of the races attracted more than 20 boats skippered by women - with many also crewed by mainly women. Overall, fifty five female skippers competed in at least one race in this brand new series.

Team Nouannie held their heads high in each of the five races, eventually winning the series on PHS and AMS. Well-known as consistently good performers, the (nearly) all-girl team certainly did themselves proud. The core team of four - skipper Cath Beaufort, boat owner Tanya Stanford, Lynda Christophersen and Louise Gardner - were supported by new sailor Ru Ying Cai and several other old and new faces to Nouannie who hopped in for one of the races.

Cath was thrilled. 'This is a great competition. There's so much support from all the clubs and the comaradarie is great - it's been fantastic to see so many women out there competing at this level.'

The Footloose team stay focused and clinch IRC from Nouannie on countback
Steb Fisher
Second on PHS and AMS - and clinching IRC from Nouannie on countback - was Footloose. Skipper Lennie Beattie, who cut her racing teeth with the Nouannie girls, said: 'Robyn, Kerry and I have had quite a journey. We've had the opportunity to try new things for ourselves, laugh at our (many!) mistakes, and learn from guest gurus like David Ellis and David LeRoy. The curve has been steep, very steep - but we are becoming far better sailors because of it!'

David LeRoy, principal race officer for the Club Marine Series and for RYCV's Val Hodge Trophy Race added: 'There was opportunity for everyone involved in this series. Competitors gained exposure to an environment which attracted skilled sailors, professional race officials and great event management by the clubs. It's an initiative with a lot of potential to grow.'

RBYC's Louise Cotter on Unami took third on IRC, while third on performance was secured by Maureen Dickens and her team on Outlaw. A deserving winner, Maureen trained hard with her HBYC crew, through a program put together by the girls at the club. Another HBYC boat, Le Cascadeur came in third on AMS, with first time helm Michelle Hemsley performing consistently across three races - a future winner in the making?

Rosie Colahan, member of the Women and Girls in Sailing Committee and a driving force behind the series said she was thrilled with the event. 'For its first year, we could not have asked for more. The level of participation, the support from the clubs and from Yachting Victoria, the comaradarie of the teams... it's been fabulous. A new series has now been born and next year we will aim for more boats and more women competing in more races.'

Trophies will be presented at a presentation to be held this Friday 31st May at six pm at RMYS.

Full results here