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Sail like a Girl

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I grew up racing offshore on 40 foot+ sailboats with my parents and my friends as crew, 50% which were girls. I currently race on a 43 footer with 60-70% of the crew being women. While unusual, my experience is that many other boats have more than a token woman aboard.

 

I take exception to the quote "Sometimes, when I hear the old guard chatting, I despair for the future of sailing. Nothing new is good, and women mere ornaments." First, I have never heard this kind of talk or sentiment expressed by anyone I race with or compete against in my 50 years of sailing. This sounds too much like the kind of grievance politics that seems to be running rampant in academia today. While I would agree it would be ideal to see more women participating in sailing today, I cannot believe the reason is that boys or men are bullying girls and women to stay away.

 

I for one know having women aboard improves the overall performance of the boat and and happiness of the crew. All of the women I sail with are accomplished sailors with just as much experience and skills as the men.

 

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In my observations, the boat (whether it be for cruising or racing) seems to be an escape mechanism for the babyboomer-oldboy-generation. Their wives are not involved in the decisions made, with the exception of signing off on expenditures. I believe that this then drives a rift between these women and the sport/leisure. This is notion that the boat is dad's escape/mistress is passed down to daughters. Very few men (even younger) try to get their significant others involved in the boat, or for that matter, have a true say in what they want with/from the boat.

 

Another barrier to women in sailing is club politics. How many yacht clubs have had female commodores? How many yacht clubs impose dress codes that create barriers? If a woman is required to wear a skirt/dress in the club house, how do we expect her to go sailing?

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I've sailed on a couple boats that don't want women for either or both: typically (yeah there are some very notable exceptions, and these are not my reasons) not as strong as the same weight dude, can lead to the crew wanting to get laid rather than wanting to win. Personally, when i've had the chance to set up crews i like to find a couple chicks on the boat - meat toboggans get kind of old after a while.

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Uh... How girl-sailor friendly is SA?

 

 

We might look in the mirror.

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Uh... How girl-sailor friendly is SA?

 

 

We might look in the mirror.

Or the front page!

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Uh... How girl-sailor friendly is SA?

 

 

We might look in the mirror.

My first impression was of a not a very welcoming site in general. Which is interesting in the context of all the

handwringing about participation in the sport...

 

Gender issues come on top of that.

 

post-45444-0-81591500-1493654836_thumb.jpg post-45444-0-24538500-1493654827_thumb.jpeg

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In my observations, the boat (whether it be for cruising or racing) seems to be an escape mechanism for the babyboomer-oldboy-generation.

Their wives are not involved in the decisions made, with the exception of signing off on expenditures. I believe that this then drives a rift between these women and the sport/leisure. This is notion that the boat is dad's escape/mistress is passed down to daughters. Very few men (even younger) try to get their significant others involved in the boat, or for that matter, have a true say in what they want with/from the boat.

Can't say I see this as a universal dynamic, even where one partner says "sailing/boats/being on the water is not something for me." Having different interests is a challenge to be navigated in any relationship, and consider myself fortunate that there aren't any jealousy issues.

 

I also don't observe the interest/non-interest in sailing to be universally passed on along gender lines; quite the opposite, in fact in our case.

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Uh... How girl-sailor friendly is SA?

 

 

We might look in the mirror.

 

Excellent point.

 

Green, that's just my observations, but they could likely be not representative of the masses.

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I grew up racing offshore on 40 foot+ sailboats with my parents and my friends as crew, 50% which were girls. I currently race on a 43 footer with 60-70% of the crew being women. While unusual, my experience is that many other boats have more than a token woman aboard.

 

I take exception to the quote "Sometimes, when I hear the old guard chatting, I despair for the future of sailing. Nothing new is good, and women mere ornaments." First, I have never heard this kind of talk or sentiment expressed by anyone I race with or compete against in my 50 years of sailing. This sounds too much like the kind of grievance politics that seems to be running rampant in academia today. While I would agree it would be ideal to see more women participating in sailing today, I cannot believe the reason is that boys or men are bullying girls and women to stay away.

 

I for one know having women aboard improves the overall performance of the boat and and happiness of the crew. All of the women I sail with are accomplished sailors with just as much experience and skills as the men.

 

 

I have no idea where your sailing turf is, but in this tiny part of the ELIS PHRF fleet, there are quite a few boats where wives, and daughters and other females crew on and often drive the boats. Duck Island YC in Westbrook has a Tuesday night womens series where the driver must be female as well as a majority of the crew, IIRC? And, as I opined on the other thread regarding Women in racing, the local Spring and Fall Frostbite fleet is mostly men. Lasers, JY15's, Ideal 18's and Etchells, but there are some women racing in that fleet, some with serious racing chops going back decades.

 

I remember the stories of old, when the man bought new sails, or upgraded the boat, the non-sailor wife would use that as an excuse for a new wardrobe, bathroom or kitchen, although I don't personally know any instances of this happening. Some wives are happy to have their husbands off on a healthy sport/hobby, with his mates and crew, and she usually has her own hobbies or pastimes. Different strokes for different folks, just like horses for courses. It's all good!!

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My daughter beat me in both races on Sunday. I despair for the future of MY sailing :-(

One might imagine delight as opposed to despair.

Congratulations, Dad

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This must be a very US issue as clubs that I have been a member of in the UK and Hong Kong have had loads of females taking part, many of whom own a boat, and the commodore of the RHKYC was a woman when I was there and I believe she still is several years later.

A couple of the offshore teams I race with always have females on board and many of them hold key positions, often trimmers.

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I wonder if the author has heard of the Chix Only team race, or knows how many female college sailors there are, or knows how many schools recruit women regardless of sailing ability, and how many of those women have gone on to become all-american collegiate sailors...

 

you're either ignorant or blind if you don't see the trend in youth sailing

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On 5/1/2017 at 8:25 AM, Will1073 said:

How many yacht clubs impose dress codes that create barriers? If a woman is required to wear a skirt/dress in the club house, how do we expect her to go sailing?

YC dress codes, and barriers to increased female participation in sailing/racing, are both interesting topics; but conflating the two makes little sense.

If a man is required to wear a jacket and tie in the club house, how do we expect him to go sailing?

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2 hours ago, Svanen said:

YC dress codes, and barriers to increased female participation in sailing/racing, are both interesting topics; but conflating the two makes little sense.

If a man is required to wear a jacket and tie in the club house, how do we expect him to go sailing?

That's easy! My club, for example, is rather conservative: shirt, long trousers, shoes that cover the toes etc... but that's only for the clubhouse! On board everything is allowed as long as you somehow cower your genitals.

 

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11 minutes ago, 10thTonner said:

cower your genitals

 

those must be quite the genitals...to entice cowering...

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46 minutes ago, 10thTonner said:

My club, for example, is rather conservative: shirt, long trousers, shoes that cover the toes etc... but that's only for the clubhouse!

Well yes, exactly. Standards of dress for the club bar or dining room have little to do with sailing and are no real obstacle (for members of either gender).

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2 hours ago, Svanen said:

YC dress codes, and barriers to increased female participation in sailing/racing, are both interesting topics; but conflating the two makes little sense.

If a man is required to wear a jacket and tie in the club house, how do we expect him to go sailing?

Do you mean to say you don't go sailing in jacket and tie?? 

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Just now, Soley said:

Do you mean to say you don't go sailing in jacket and tie?? 

All I wear are  my Speedo Brief solar 1" and a lifejacket no mater what the weather is. 

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I love having the girls on board. And they can hold their own regardless of what I ask them to do.

Love em to bits, and am very thankful that women are into sailing.

I do admit though that it would be nice if met one that can't drink me under the table....

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On 5/2/2017 at 2:09 AM, green03 said:

My first impression was of a not a very welcoming site in general. Which is interesting in the context of all the

handwringing about participation in the sport...

 

Gender issues come on top of that.

 

post-45444-0-81591500-1493654836_thumb.jpg post-45444-0-24538500-1493654827_thumb.jpeg

I note the boat on the right is using a North Sail.

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5 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

I love having the girls on board. And they can hold their own regardless of what I ask them to do.

Love em to bits, and am very thankful that women are into sailing.

Good on you!

In my experience, many women are highly competent, confident, good-natured and helpful on a boat; a few are the exact opposite; and the rest fall somewhere in the middle. That same comment applies equally to male sailors.

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1 hour ago, Svanen said:

In my experience, many women are highly competent, confident, good-natured and helpful on a boat; a few are the exact opposite; and the rest fall somewhere in the middle. That same comment applies equally to male sailors.

Nicely put. .

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17 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

I love having the girls on board. And they can hold their own regardless of what I ask them to do.

Love em to bits, and am very thankful that women are into sailing.

I do admit though that it would be nice if met one that can't drink me under the table....

82052031_Large_WYMC1of138.thumb.JPG.781bdca37188a661f89959a8f984faad.JPG   

IMG_0151.thumb.JPG.293210a1594cb60ba1b10ebf35aa0682.JPG

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strange. 

Don't think i've ever seen the shifter on the left. Must be an ausie thing. 

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4 minutes ago, mustang__1 said:

strange. 

Don't think i've ever seen the shifter on the left. Must be an ausie thing. 

and on a no expense spared race boat sticking out waiting to get snagged 

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Just now, SailBlueH2O said:

and on a no expense spared race boat sticking out waiting to get snagged 

apparently they spared an expense... So, a mostly no expense spared race boat. 

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6 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

and on a no expense spared race boat sticking out waiting to get snagged 

I’m flattered Sail, but I regret to inform you she is definitely NOT a race boat, and there are fuckloads of expenses spared all over the boat. 

And no, not one snag to report, most likely because there is nothing to catch.

You must have me confused with someone of greater financial means than I good sir.

 

 

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The boat I race on in Boston is usually 25-50% woman crew.

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On 5/1/2017 at 7:25 AM, Will1073 said:

In my observations, the boat (whether it be for cruising or racing) seems to be an escape mechanism for the babyboomer-oldboy-generation. Their wives are not involved in the decisions made, with the exception of signing off on expenditures. I believe that this then drives a rift between these women and the sport/leisure. This is notion that the boat is dad's escape/mistress is passed down to daughters. Very few men (even younger) try to get their significant others involved in the boat, or for that matter, have a true say in what they want with/from the boat.

 

Another barrier to women in sailing is club politics. How many yacht clubs have had female commodores? How many yacht clubs impose dress codes that create barriers? If a woman is required to wear a skirt/dress in the club house, how do we expect her to go sailing?
 

we just elected one.. and we've several before her..  

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5 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

And no, not one snag to report, most likely because there is nothing to catch.

the wheel protects the lever from any snags :ph34r:

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6 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

I regret to inform you she is definitely NOT a race boat, and there are fuckloads of expenses spared all over the boat.

Bax, what kind of boat is she?

6 hours ago, MauiPunter said:

The boat I race on in Boston is usually 25-50% woman crew.

My club conducts regular beer-can racing three nights a week, and one of those evenings is expressly reserved for women racers: over half the crew must be female, and no male may helm. This is very popular with our lady members. 

The boat I raced on in last year's Mac was 55% female crew: all of whom were better racers than me (not that that sets the bar terribly high).

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my-life-2015-05-mansplaining-c.jpg

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On 1/28/2019 at 12:13 PM, Svanen said:
On 1/28/2019 at 11:26 AM, 10thTonner said:

That's easy! My club, for example, is rather conservative: shirt, long trousers, shoes that cover the toes etc... but that's only for the clubhouse! On board everything is allowed as long as you somehow cower your genitals.

Well yes, exactly. Standards of dress for the club bar or dining room have little to do with sailing and are no real obstacle (for members of either gender).

What are you talking about. Standards of dress in the clubhouse have much to do about sailing participation.

Here's a male, fresh off the race course. He can waltz right into the clubhouse. Maybe he has to put on shoes. No need to bring a change of clothing.
Here's a female, fresh off the race course, but first she must find someplace to change out of her sailing clothes and put on her pretty pretty dress. And where does she stow her "presentable" clothing whilst racing? Certainly that extra weight is not welcome aboard. By the times she's changed and "presentable" according to the club's fuct up standards, the foredeck guys have already drunk up all the beer! Where's the equality in that?

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53 minutes ago, Somebody Else said:

What are you talking about. Standards of dress in the clubhouse have much to do about sailing participation.

Here's a male, fresh off the race course. He can waltz right into the clubhouse. Maybe he has to put on shoes. No need to bring a change of clothing.
Here's a female, fresh off the race course, but first she must find someplace to change out of her sailing clothes and put on her pretty pretty dress. And where does she stow her "presentable" clothing whilst racing? Certainly that extra weight is not welcome aboard. By the times she's changed and "presentable" according to the club's fuct up standards, the foredeck guys have already drunk up all the beer! Where's the equality in that?

We have lockers. And showers. And we don’t take it that seriously. If you are so thirsty that you snatch a couple of beers  from the bar in your sailing shorts and take them down to the guys (n gals) on the boat, nobody will make a fuzz about it. 

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Both our Winter 62 year old club and Summer  106 year old Sailing club (on the same site) have had Female Commodores. The Summer will have a the next one in 2021, She is in her low 20s and a police officer... Seems only yesterday I was rescuing her from a capsized laser as a junior...

No club I know of, stops sailers  of either sex wearing a dress or trousers  or sailing gear into the premises, one has a carpeted bar and you are not allowed in there if you are soggy, no matter what sex you are.

Some of the  Clubs have formal dinners, but if a woman wishes to wear trousers or me one of my  kilts, there is no problem.

The number of females sailing is increasing, and not just as crew. Some of our best sailors are female, and several are qualified instructors..

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17 hours ago, shaggybaxter said:

I’m flattered Sail, but I regret to inform you she is definitely NOT a race boat, and there are fuckloads of expenses spared all over the boat. 

And no, not one snag to report, most likely because there is nothing to catch.

You must have me confused with someone of greater financial means than I good sir.

 

 

touchy...touchy..touchy....OK so expenses were spared...so nothing has snagged...so it does not race....so you have been confused....still the handle is ugly as fuck

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8 hours ago, SailBlueH2O said:

touchy...touchy..touchy....OK so expenses were spared...so nothing has snagged...so it does not race....so you have been confused....still the handle is ugly as fuck

Heh! Much better. Remember, handles have feelings too....

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17 hours ago, Somebody Else said:

What are you talking about. Standards of dress in the clubhouse have much to do about sailing participation.

Here's a male, fresh off the race course. He can waltz right into the clubhouse. Maybe he has to put on shoes. No need to bring a change of clothing.
Here's a female, fresh off the race course, but first she must find someplace to change out of her sailing clothes and put on her pretty pretty dress. And where does she stow her "presentable" clothing whilst racing? Certainly that extra weight is not welcome aboard. By the times she's changed and "presentable" according to the club's fuct up standards, the foredeck guys have already drunk up all the beer! Where's the equality in that?

Maybe she is the foredeckie (and she doesn't drink beer).  ;)  But I like your point!  Thank you.

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I was lucky enough to be invited on a woman's skippered regatta in the Catalina 37's out of Long Beach Yacht Club. Nothing like a boat load of women to get your level of crewing up.

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I was token male on an all girl J-24 team back in the day.  I did foredeck, and drove the boat on and off the dock or mooring.  When they started talking about me getting a bikini from Fredericks of Hollywood, I moved on.......

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7 minutes ago, billy backstay said:

I was token male on an all girl J-24 team back in the day.  I did foredeck, and drove the boat on and off the dock or mooring.  When they started talking about me getting a bikini from Fredericks of Hollywood, I moved on.......

sexists !....I knew it....

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1 hour ago, billy backstay said:

I was token male on an all girl J-24 team back in the day.  I did foredeck, and drove the boat on and off the dock or mooring.  When they started talking about me getting a bikini from Fredericks of Hollywood, I moved on.......

Sissy.... ;-)

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2 minutes ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:
1 hour ago, billy backstay said:

I was token male on an all girl J-24 team back in the day.  I did foredeck, and drove the boat on and off the dock or mooring.  When they started talking about me getting a bikini from Fredericks of Hollywood, I moved on.......

Sissy.... ;-)

I was part of a group invited to race at the Manhattan YC years back, in J24s (which I don't like but it was a fun bunch)..... more fun that I knew, because we were then invited to do a photo shoot sailing in wedding dresses provided by a bridal boutique around the corner.

I don't think any of the folks back home saw it, or if they did, they almost certainly didn't recognize me. But still, not everybody can say that........

And yes, sailing a J24 in a wedding gown sucks even more than sailing one the normal way. Damn lace gets caught in everything!

FB- Doug

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Please allow me a moment to gloat.  I'm bringing up my daughter to be sailor.  She participated in a sailing summer camp this past summer.

 

 

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Gloat away captain_crunch, and good on you for taking enough interest in your daughters life to get her out and amongst it.

Beats the shit out a lot of alternative activities in my eyes. She's got the look already, her hair pulled back and sunglasses on, it's great to see. 

Go get ém kid, I hope she enjoyed the experience enough to do more of it.

Thanks for sharing CC!

SB

 

 

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Darwin Sailing Club recently appointed its first female Commodore - a very good friend with whom I have sailed many thousands of miles.

When I met my now wife, SHE owned the boat - not me.  We have owned quite a few other boats since then.

I have had the pleasure of sailing with (and against!) many very competent female sailors, to the extent that it is the norm and I don't even think about it.

On a recent charter in Croatia we had 2 boats - ours had 2 men and 4 women, the other had 2 men and 3 women (one of the women was the skipper of that boat - she attained her Yachtmaster certificate at the same time as I did, 30 odd years ago). 

I don't get that it's unusual.

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7 hours ago, billy backstay said:

I was token male on an all girl J-24 team back in the day.  I did foredeck, and drove the boat on and off the dock or mooring.  When they started talking about me getting a bikini from Fredericks of Hollywood, I moved on.......

6 hours ago, A guy in the Chesapeake said:

Sissy.... ;-)

Well, it could gone 1 of any number of ways. It all depends in the Guy

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