SATURDAY sailing is a long standing tradition for the members of the Port Stephens Yacht Club, however the Summer Pointscore Series is being sailed alongside the inaugural Marineoutlet.com.au Womens Series & Boatyard Club Championship.
The point score races are being hotly contended, with the first race attracting 22 female sailors.
Some are new to the sport and “giving it a go” while others are seasoned veteran sailors, having crossed the Atlantic or others having circumnavigated Australia, either of which are no mean feats.
The First Division racers were off at 1:00pm sharp under the watchful eye of the starters, followed five minutes later by Second Division.
Port Stephens Yacht Club Shesails representative and Skipper of the Catamaran Subzero Cherylle Stone is keen to provide opportunities to women who would like to sail.
She often has a crew of inexperienced women on board for races where she teaches and inspires women to enjoy the sport.
For Stone, having a woman on the crew is all about having women doing the work.
At times that means her (quite often) all female crew not only handle the lines, helm and winch, it sometimes sees them up the mast, doing repairs or maintenance as well.
As a Shesails Representative she liaises between the club and Sailing Australia on issues relating to women’s sailing.
Stone told News Of The Area, “In the past the club held a token helms-woman’s race, this series goes right across the summer.”
Alongside Stone there are four other female skippers in the club, and the vessels that race are anything from 15 foot to 51 foot long, with monohulls and multihull vessels in the mix making for plenty of variety.
The club also has junior members making sailing a sport for the whole family an option.
“Sailing is a great sport for women, you get to have fun, enjoy good company in the great environment of the Bay and get a good workout during the race,” she said.
Stone’s Subzero and crew of four women and one man took out the win on Division 2 on Saturday.
You can try sailing with the Port Stephens Yacht Club for free crewing on a members vessel and women in particular are invited to come along and give it a go during the Marineoutlet.com.au Women’s Series.
You can find out more at www.psyc.com.au.
For others that may like to enjoy spectating there are several vantage points around the Port for both the Wednesday afternoon races and Saturday races which include the car park at Soldiers Point Boat Ramp at around 1pm on Saturdays and 2pm on Wednesdays for the start.
George Reserve and Salamander Bay and Corlette Beach new the Anchorage also offer good viewing points for the races which generally take 2-4 hours to complete.
By Marian SAMPSON