Entries in Mooloolaba Yacht Club’s newest event, the Women’s Elliott 6 Regatta, have filled quickly with only two spaces left for June 1st and 2nd event.
The Women’s Elliott 6 Regatta is limited to six teams as the club currently owns only two Elliott 6ms, those boats originally being the 2012 Olympic Games training vessels for the Australian Sailing Team’s match racing squad.
Racing will be on Mooloolah River in front of the Wharf Mooloolaba, with competitors and spectators being afforded a close-up view of the action on short-race windward/leeward course. Each race is planned to last between 15 and 20 minutes.
The MYC’s Rear Commodore Sailing, Gary McCarthy, is a strong advocate of this event. 'The club has had women’s series in past years, but always with the women steering different sized and aged boats. For the first time they get to compete on level playing field.
'We started this project with a four month race training program under the coaching direction of Rob Lea from the Academy of Sailing. He has worked with a group of 14 sailors giving them more confidence to steer and trim the Elliott 6s and to become familar with racing boats of this size and nature.
'The next step is to get the women in the real racing environment to test out what they have been learning. Rob will be onshore for the whole event providing feedback to the crews so when the women get back out for their next race in the round robin series they will be able to continue to improve on their race skills.
'The event is quite compact this year as we only have two Elliott 6s to work with. Later this year we will have another four of those boats. So we are starting the event concept off small and by next year it will be much bigger event with hopefully inter-state crews coming to Mooloolaba in June where it is loads warmer and the river racing intense.'
The first three confirmed regatta entries are skippers Lauren Calder, Kerrie Glen and Jen Tooth. The fourth entry is likely to come from Brisbane’s Stacey Jackson.
Calder is a strong contender for the regatta trophy as she will bring to the start line her dinghy sailing background place several years training and racing in the SB3 class. She competed in the 2009 SB3 World Championship in Portugal finishing in a very respectful 37th place. 'I can't claim we won the women's division there as we damaged a crew and had to replace her with a bloke,' Calder said.
Calder then backed up in the SB3 class for the 2010 and 2011 Sydney Harbour Regatta finishing sixth and 11th respectively, while also holding down a full-time job as a pilot and raising two young children.
'I think it's great having a sailing program available for women on the Sunshine Coast. The Elliot's are really fun boats to sail and it’s a great bunch of ladies to be involved with. I really enjoy seeing women develop their skills and confidence in the sport I love.
'It's going to be a lot of fun on and off the water. It's a good chance for the ladies to put into practice what they have been learning in the race training program,' Calder said.
Calder’s crew will be 23-year old Casey Sutherland and 59-year-old Gaye Hoole.
Kerrie Glen is another skipper who has come from the dinghy ranks and into SB3s. She has made a smooth transition to the Elliott 6s and is approaching the Women’s Regatta with a great deal of seriousness, recruiting her old SB3 crew of Razz Smith and Sharee McBlane to join in her campaign.
Jen Tooth is from Brisbane. Her comfort zone is steering her 10.6m yacht Soothsayer either single-handed across the Tasman in the Trans-Tasman Race or around Moreton Bay with her friends. Moving onto an Elliott 6m is definitely foreign territory for this accomplished helm.
She will be racing with two of her regular Soothsayer team mates – Angie Hadwen and Susie Rasmussen.
'We are all keen for a new challenge which is why we entered the regatta. Angie and I don’t have experience in small boats. Susie has some, but we won’t get to spend much time together on them before regatta, so being unfamiliar with the boat will be the biggest challenge,' Tooth said.
For more information on the event, go www.mooloolaba.yachting.org.au
by Tracey Johnstone
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4:02 PM Mon 6 May 2013GMT
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