Women Who Sail Australia
Gathering on the Bay

So there we were – 70-odd sailors, not counting partners and presenters – at the first Women Who Sail Australia ‘Gathering’ at Nelson Bay in New South Wales on April 2-3, 2016.

Many of us had met before over sundowners in tranquil anchorages and for coffee up the road from marinas; or had forged friendships online as we made passage through seas that dwarfed us under clouds whipped by fierce wind.

The weekend, structured to inform and entertain us, also served to strengthen those earlier bonds and to form fresh alliances.

Intrepid sailors Jill Henry, Ruth Boydell, Barbara Cole and Linda Frylink Anderson talked about their cruising experiences and passed on the tips and gadgets their experience had demonstrated useful. Record-breaking racer Kristi Foster shared her skill in sail trim and man-overboard procedures. Port Stephens Marine Rescue volunteer Sue Freeman talked about taking boats out in bad weather when things have gone awry.

A few men were invited for presentations – Cruising Helmsman editor Phillip Ross on writing for sailing magazines, Yanmar’s James Bradshaw on maintaining diesel engines, John Hembrow on cruising Pacific islands and NSW Roads and Maritime Services representative Gavin Beck to demonstrate how to choose and service life jackets.

There were presentations for Small Yacht Cruising Club of Pittwater and Caraboat, a caravan-boat hybrid.

Dinner was an opportunity for socialising – as one Dear Husband commented, like sundowners with shoes on. It was followed by a panel discussion, led by circumnavigator Jessica Watson and featuring Linda Frylink Anderson, Kristi Foster and Lisa Blair.

The 70 of us at the Gathering are connected to more than 1,000 women sailors around Australia through the group Women Who Sail Australia.

We are racers and cruisers, day sailors and circumnavigators, fair-weather novices and storm riders. We carry the legacy of those women sailors who inspired us or disappeared without trace into the histories that preceded us, and we look out for the women who will follow us – the young adventurers with salt on their tongue and a free wind stirring in their hearts.

Two young women at the Gathering – Lisa Blair, who plans to be the first woman to sail alone and unassisted around Antarctica (and hopes to break the existing record for the voyage in the process); and Jessica Watson, who sailed herself into Australia’s history by becoming the youngest sailor to circumnavigate solo and unassisted when she was 16 – demonstrated that the future of women and sailing is in good hands.

The Gathering raised $2,536.00 to be shared between Sailors with disAbilities and Marine Rescue Port Stephens.

More from «All Articles»

Salt sisters gather <br />to hone skills

Salt sisters gather
to hone skills

The third Gathering on the Bay - the annual meeting of Women Who Sail Australia – kicks off on Friday, 5 April 2018, in Nelson Bay with workshops in navigation and splicing. Intrepid women who spend the rest of the year sailing and communing whenever they have the chance, and meeting up in small groups…

Smallest cetacean <br/ >critically endangered

Smallest cetacean
critically endangered

This story starts in China. It starts in a restaurant kitchen, where the chef is making a soup that is said to help with fertility. The magic ingredient is the swim bladder of a totoaba. That it has no effect does little to diminish demand. The price for a single swim bladder is fantastic, reportedly…

An eye for detail<br />and colour

An eye for detail
and colour

The fish lying on ice at the market might shimmer silver or sport a dull red but a fish hauled from the cool ocean loses most of its colour – its washes of yellow or its blue stripes – about ten minutes after it has gasped in the searing air. Not only do fish give…

… there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

- Ratty to Mole in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame