Etchells Worlds Creeps


I had a fantastic time sailing at the 2023 Etchells Worlds in Miami, FL. The level of talent is unmatched, and as a woman, it was also equally fantastic to see so many fellow ladies competing at an elite level. The story of women’s involvement in highly-competitive sailing has been told – there are too few of us. But the numbers are improving and that brings me so much joy!

But let me tell you about what happened as soon as the regatta was over. It’s quite the opposite of joyful. As soon as I wasn’t seen as an equal competitor anymore – no more deckbeaters, team shirts, zinc-white face – I apparently became an object.

I rarely dress up, because I’m just not that kind of girl, but I certainly like to on occasion. And I figured a World Championship awards party was such an occasion. I traded my Patagonia shorts for a skirt and sunblock for mascara. It’s fun to look pretty! But apparently that meant I was no longer your equal, but your prey.

No less than half a dozen men harassed me, beginning at the awards dinner and continually throughout the evening up until I had to fight past one just to get home. I knew some of them, but not well. We certainly weren’t friends. Others I didn’t know at all.

One picked me up – literally. Because yes, as a petite woman, it’s amusing to lift me up like Simba, I guess? And yes, I played along, even pretended to enjoy it, because as a petite woman, saying no to a man three times my size is infinitely scarier than anything I could ever encounter on the racecourse, and I’ve been on the bow in some gnarly breeze.

But this particular antic happens to me at least once a year. It’s sad that I’m so blasé about it at this point. I shouldn’t be. I should hold firmer when they blatantly grab my chest or butt while “testing their strength”. But that was just the beginning.

Later in the evening, one man said to my face, “I wish I could bang you right now.” I said I had a boyfriend and walked away.

We all made our way to the bar where a sailor was DJing. I loved the chance to dance in a circle of my friends and teammates, enjoying the end to a hard two weeks. I was just minding myself, having a great time. But every few songs, a man would creep closer to me. I’d glide away.

Then one put his hand around my waist and tried to pull me toward him (the same one who asked to bang me earlier). I pulled his hand off of me and pushed it back toward him. He looked offended, sad, defeated. I repeated that ‘dance’ with two other men who grabbed my waist and tried to pull our bodies together.

All who gave me these incredulous looks when I pushed them off – how dare I deny their advances! What made them think I wanted to dance with them? I didn’t even make eye contact with them. No, I was just a warm pretty body; that’s all the invitation they needed.

The crowd moved to a house party. I hung out and chatted, wound down the evening with friends. Gratefully, no one there really bothered me. Until I tried to leave.

A man walked up to the house as I was leaving – my Airbnb was a block and a half away so I felt it was safe to walk myself out of there alone. I was wrong.

“Where are you going?” he asks. “I’m going home.” He stands blocking my way. “No you’re not, give me your hand.” I step aside. “I’m going home.” He reaches for me. “Give me your hand.” I pull away. “I’m. Going. Home.” He steps toward me and reaches for my hand again. “Aw come on, give me your hand!!” His friend finally calls him over into the party.

I take out my house key and place it between my knuckles. Just in case. I walk the block and a half home, looking over my shoulder, making sure no one is following me.

I’m f#cking tired of this. My outfit change gives you no license to be a creep. Regatta after regatta, I have to put up with the same sh#t. You men know exactly who you are and I’m f#cking sick of you. I have no respect for you. I will never be on a boat with you.

I have half a mind to name you right here so everyone else can know what disgusting sh#ts you are. But the sad thing is, a lot of people already know who you are, and they allow you to continue on, and I will just be called out as a drama-starter. Because ‘boys will be boys.’ And I was ‘dressed like I wanted it.’

If you really cared about increasing women’s participation in sailing, then you would actually respect us. As people. Not just as sailors. And I truly appreciate all the men who do respect us and support us – you are thankfully the majority.

To the good guys – please help us put the creeps in their places. Because no matter how many times I said no, walked away, pushed them off me, it still didn’t matter.
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Alameda, CA
It's worth pointing out that the 2021-2024 RRS started using the term "event" rather than "race", because the rules apply to onshore behavior, not just behavior during a race. Those rules also apply to support people, not just competitors and owners. So if someone commits misconduct at an awards party, you do have the option to throw the book at them.
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I know this community knows who some or all of the offenders are. Will they be protected so that they can continue to assault or will they be outed?


Thank you for bringing attention to this. Hopefully at least a few people will think before they act badly or maybe they'll call out a fellow sailor acting as such, making our sport more accommodating to women. That could be my daughter next time. Thankfully, not all classes (e.g. sailing communities) tolerate this behavior.

Sadly, the behavior described here is reflected in many posts on SA via objectifying comments and photos. But, you know, "anarchy" justifies anything goes for some.
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It's worth pointing out that the 2021-2024 RRS started using the term "event" rather than "race", because the rules apply to onshore behavior, not just behavior during a race. Those rules also apply to support people, not just competitors and owners. So if someone commits misconduct at an awards party, you do have the option to throw the book at them.

Interesting. The mere fact of a documented protest, win or lose, would probably have the desired effect.


Super Anarchist
So sorry to hear about this. Nobody dresses up to be assaulted.

I think you should name names if you can do safely. Too often women don't for fear of causing trouble. Or because they fear future reprisals.

To those men sailors who act like total assholes:

Don't fucking pick up people. Why do you think this is acceptable?

Don't touch their breasts or butt unless clearly invited. Have you fucking heard of consent?

Don't grab them while dancing. Dancing nearby is OK but when somebody is clearly moving away from you, maybe you are not the fucking god's gift to women you think you are.

Don't reach for or grab their hands and say they are coming with you. Fucking kidnappers do that. Assholes do that. Women have been killed and raped for resisting such advances. Women know this and still you do this?


Super Anarchist
First of all, I’m really sorry that this happened (and has happened before) to you. It’s gross, and one of the main reasons we unfortunately don’t see enough women competing. Regattas are dick swinging contests by design, so unfortunately you get a fair number of assholes. One of my biggest goals for the next twenty odd years is to have my daughters become competent sailors and high level racers. This type of story makes my blood boil.

As to people here knowing offenders…. Absolutely. I’m pretty sure some of the people you mentioned are in fact forum members, and I hope they read this and realize how fucked up they are. Now expecting them to cop to it is another story. Also, I don’t think any others that know these people would know who you are talking about without naming names, as all we have to go by is your account without any names. So, unless someone witnessed some of what you’re describing and is also a forum member, then perhaps they could reach out and corroborate your story to whoever you would report this to.

I hope this doesn’t turn you off from racing. I’m genuinely ashamed as a guy sailor to hear your story.


Not to distract from the overall topic, but is this first person report? Later posts under same post name seem kind of third person. The link in opening post goes to a general recap of event on another site. Haven’t dug around there to see if there is another story/link. I opened this on a phone which doesn’t show user history/location shown on desktop.
Once again, not trying to deflect the issue and know there are bad actors. But kind of confusing so far.


Sounds like a truly awful experience - shocking, but perhaps not surprising. There is no excuse for the behavior you describe - and there's no excuse for the sailors who watched it and did nothing to intervene. Thanks for reporting here and I hope you share the report with the Etchells class leadership and the leadership of CRYC.

Bad behavior off the water can and should have consequences. Threatening behavior and groping seem a much worse infractions than disconnecting lifelines on J105. In the event there were witnesses - perhaps such steps could be taken on this case. Without any witnesses, I could understand your reluctance to confront the perpetrators. Ina any event, I would hope that the class and club leaders might address the code of conduct generally and take steps to try to ensure that nothing like this happens in the future.

For those of us who are working hard to grow the sport of sailing by opening the doors to segments of the population beyond white males, we know that change never happens without friction. And some of that friction can look like the violence that you were threaten with.

Please hang in there and keep sailing and thank you very much for posting.