The 2021 Helly Hansen Women’s Challenge was hosted by Manly Yacht Club over 27-28 March. Keelboat Division 1 was won by Club Member Nicola Wakefield Evans on Whistling Kite, pictured below.
Nicola writes, ‘I skippered our Seaquest RP36 Whistling Kite in almost perfect 10kt SE conditions that showed off Sydney Harbour at its best. This race was also the fourth and final race of the inaugural 2020/21 Sydney Harbour Women’s Keelboat Series hosted by MHYC, MYC and the CYCA. My crew on Sunday included my sons Thomas and Mitch, husband Kym Evans, RSYS Members Katherine Shannon, Michael Bellingham, Maddie Clancy and Hugh Allen.
As the race was hosted by MYC, the course was an unfamiliar one to me, starting and finishing off 40 Baskets Beach deep inside the north end of North Harbour. After five works and five kite sets, including one around the Edwards mark just off Balmoral Beach, I crossed the line in 3rd position on scratch behind the TP52 Smuggler (skippered by Justine Anson) and the 46’ Kayimai, (skippered by Liz Charles) to a handicap and overall series win. Next year, the women’s series will include RSYS and RPEYC as hosting clubs.
Enigma and Pendragon
The race took approximately 2 1/2 hours. I then had to get back to Kirribilli for the final Sunday twilight race where I had a start time of 1619hrs! I managed to get back with 10 minutes to spare, giving enough time for a crew change to include another son, Riley. This time we crossed the line in 4th place, putting us in equal 1st place for the series with Howard Elliott’s Viva La Vita and an overall win on countback.
I have thoroughly enjoyed sailing in the 2020/21 Sydney Harbour Women’s Keelboat Series and RSYS Sunday twilights. The SHWKS was particularly enjoyable and I am sure that participation by female skippers and crew will increase next season, especially from RSYS female sailors! I also want to thank RSYS Sailing Captain Karyn Gojnich for her support and encouragement, and to say how much I enjoyed sailing in a series with both Karyn and Alex Murray as we all grew up sailing together on the Lane Cove River.
Also competing from RSYS were: Emma Harvey – Emma Jean (pictured top) , Sandy Lawson – Rapunzel, Kirstin Reblin – Pendragon, Sara Ladd – The Jackal , Charlotte Holliday – Zig Zag , Isabel Wartho – Enigma.
Photo credit: Marg Fraser-Martin