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A City of Sails - Fostering sailing fun and female participation

by Jarka Kluth 29 Sep 22:45 PDT 10-11 September 2022
City Sail Regatta © Darren McNamara

Tucked between the mirrored towering landscape in the middle of Melbourne, Albert Park Yacht Club has seen its share of regattas, sailors, boats, capsizes and all manner of sailing connected goings on over its 150 years.

On September 10th and 11th, the normally shifty breeze, took on an air of energetic turbulence as approximately 70 women and 50 boats from around the state of Victoria, descended on the club for the annual City Sail regatta.

Spearheaded by Norma Watt, the Club's champion of Women's development and long-time City Sail Coordinator; the regatta's "Why" clearly extends to encouraging participation, confidence development, and community building amongst the female sailing fraternity.

Spanning a wide range of ages, the lake saw a flutter of Optimist, Laser, Sabre, Pacer, Open Skiff, Minnow, Impulse and other coloured sails across the weekend. With Jarka Kluth as Head Coach and a predominantly female coaching crew, aided by Glenys Hitchen as the Regatta Race Officer, two days were spent learning new skills, building on existing strengths, charting the waters of growth, (and lake weed), and making new connections.

The safety of lake sailing was offset by the fluctuating breeze, making tough work for the most enthusiastic of heart. Spirits were not to be dampened by capsizes or mud-stained sails. Spinnakers were mastered, whistles kept sailors sweating it during tacking drills, and the mastery of attacking and defending brought a hustle to racecourse.

Lou Hollis, attending the regatta with a group of women from Southwest Victoria was enthusiastic, "Seeing the skills and confidence grow in the sailors was so good, and the grins at presentations said it all. Jarka's three priorities of learn something new, have fun and make friends, were achieved by the bucketload."

As a premier Australian Sailing supported Victorian SheSails event, coach Lena Kluth noted that, "It was wonderful to see so many women attend City Sail over the weekend. Everyone who came along carried such a positive energy, a drive to have fun and an eagerness to learn new skills. Coaching at the regatta was a great experience, all the women who attended brought such an enthusiastic attitude. "

Aligning themselves closely with Australian Sailing's goal to increase female participation in the sport, Commodore Peter Naismith confirms the club's commitment to, "The ongoing ambitions to build on the inclusive club culture which has existed for 150 years." Welcoming everyone back again next year.

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