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Sydney 38 class steps up to support women in sailing

by Di Pearson/Sydney 38 media 7 Feb 21:28 PST 12-13 February 2022
The Sydney 38 Association has chartered Calibre for an all-female crew to use © Warwick Crossman

The Sydney 38 Association has gone all out, chartering a Sydney 38 for an all-female crew to race at the 2022 Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship, to be held in conjunction with the Pittwater Regatta in NSW this weekend.

"We've taken this step to encourage women to sail in this Championship and other Sydney 38 events," Class President, David Hudson, said.

"The Sydney 38 Association has chartered Calibre and we've sponsored an all-female crew to be led by Liz Charles," said Hudson, who has been president of the Association since end of October 2021.

"I think it's brilliant and we have the support and the interest of women in our class," he said.

Charles has performed well as a skipper of the Azuree 46, Kayimai in women's keelboat events, due to the generosity of the boat's owners, Rob Aldis and Peter Byford.

Hudson said It was resolved at the Association's AGM that the Executive Committee be tasked with finding initiatives to increase female participation in Sydney 38 sailing.

"This happened after being encouraged by Victorian Sydney 38 owner, Sal Balharrie," Hudson explained.

Balharrie bought Bruce Taylor's Sydney 38, Chutzpah, in 2020 with one thing on her mind. After cleverly renaming the boat No Man's Land, Balharrie sent an email to a broad range of women, asking if they would like to learn how to sail. Within 24 hours, the yachtswoman had a core of one dozen women prepared to commit to learning how to sail.

At the time, Balharrie said, "I'm not setting out primarily to win trophies, I'm setting out to build a culture, to encourage and train women into sailing," although the Melburnian does admit to a competitive streak.

Hudson says, "It was a profound discussion and we've done something about it. One of the things we are looking to do is to give women the confidence that they can own and run their own boats.

"For our efforts, we have two boats with female skippers for the NSW Championship."

Mondo is the other, jointly owned by Lisa Callaghan, who habitually campaigns the Sydney 38 out of Manly Yacht Club, where she is President.

Seven Sydney 38's are entered for the Sydney 38 One-Design NSW Championship, which will entail six offshore windward/leeward races over the two days.

Hudson and Peter Byford's Conspiracy is the boat to beat, as the defending champion of the both the Australian and NSW titles. And there is one boat in particular that is up to the job: Peter Sorensen and crew on Advanced Philosophy. 'Sorro' is renowned for his competitiveness in a range of boats from 16 footers to sports boats, one design yachts and in open yacht events, both inshore and offshore.

"We both have had pros on our boat up to now, but for this regatta neither of us do. All seven boats will sail with Corinthian crews," Hudson said.

The quickly improving Phil Herscovics and crew on Shine On - Team Callendina may surprise. The remaining entries are Kaizen (Bradley Newton) and Thirlmere (Mike Logan).

"Although we have only seven boats competing at this Championship in this challenging environment, we have 19 Sydney 38's regularly sailing at regattas and in blue water events throughout NSW," Hudson ended.

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