Ladies take to the challenge with passion and creativity

Steering the Course, the global women’s sailing festival kicked off over the long weekend with our Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron’s Ladies of the Sea Challenge!

Still under stay at home orders, Friday night was a virtual refresher Preparing Your Body for Sailing Fitness’.  Joining members from RSYS were sailors from Middle Harbour YC, Royal Prince Alfred YC, Manly YC, Woollahra SC, Lane Cove 12ft SSC, Gosford SC, Port Stephens YC, New England SC, Jervis Bay SC and Canberra YC.

From the comfort of our homes, Sue Crafer, sailor and a physiotherapist specialising in the prevention and management of sailing injuries, introduced us to FABS (Functional Analysis of the Biomechanics of Sailing).  There were some great tips to keep our bodies in balance, warming up while rigging the boat and basically a reminder to train smarter not harder.  Improving our ‘sailing fitness’ will reduce the opportunity for performance limiting injuries.

Next, Vanessa Dudley, accomplished Laser and offshore sailor, passed on her top five tips to be a valuable crew member:

  • Be prepared
  • Recognise that every crew role counts
  • Focus on the things that matter
  • Communicate carefully
  • Extend your experience.

We were very fortunate to have ‘Sailor Girl’ Nic Douglass join us to facilitate the session.  If you missed it, you can catch up and watch the recording here.

From 0000hrs Saturday October 2 through until 1159hrs Sunday October 3, the challenge was to get active, get creative and have a laugh, while preparing in isolation for the 2021-22 sailing season.  Any activity counted: walking, running, swimming, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding.  The challenge included recording the activity to share with the group.  Some used Strava (a GPS tracker app), others posted photographs, and talented Club Member Robyn Coleman sketched with pencils and crayons.  There were many less successful attempts at Strava art too, but also lots of laughs.

‘It was really good fun, it really made me get out there and it was amazing to see Sydney Harbour so empty. I loved seeing all of the other participants’ art, I am in awe of people who do strava art, it is definitely not my forte, I can walk long distances – that’s it.’  said Vicki Kornman, winner of the ‘greatest length of time exercising’ who clocked up 25 kilometres. See Vicki’s track and photos below:

Close runner up was Gill Shearman with her morning swim from Little Manly to Collins Beach and return followed by a walk, a kayak and another walk.

Winner of best photo was Margery Hertzberg: 

Margery posted, ‘Hope physio is impressed with the ankle weights to indicate both upper and lower strengthening workout 😂.  And BTW, sail on the bath toy boat (courtesy of young neighbors) was made by ‘north, south, east and west sails (NSEW sails™️). Competitive quotes! Contact me through STRAVA.’

Next challenge category was the creative GPS art with a sailing theme.  Our winner Robyn Coleman not only produced her winch and handle with a bike ride and a walk, she also submitted ‘Innisfallen’, below.

Robyn commented, ‘During lockdown we’ve been doing “Isolation Walks” in our local area in Willoughby with the aid of the Willoughby Walks app. We’ve discovered all sorts of treasures we never knew existed although we’ve lived here for 40 years. Harold Reid Reserve provides a wonderful view of our very own castle “Innisfallen” in Castlecove. After some sketches and photos I completed this painting of the castle in hand made earth pastels.’

‘Sailor Girl’ Nic Douglass also participated: ‘It was a really cool activity, I drew a few boats by Paddle Board on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.  It was fun practising – there is my pin, there is my boat, I am going to sail the line, when I get to this point I am going to turn and go to that bearing.’

View a collection of entries received here.

Next on the Steering the Course program is the SheSails Inaugural Australian Conference, on Wednesday night, to discuss the future of women in our sport.  Find out more and register here

Save the date, the Ladies of the Sea Coaching Regatta will now be run January 8-9, 2022.  This two day event will provide opportunities for all women to explore, participate in and thrive at competitive keelboat sailing. For all participants, across all aspects of sailing and racing we will aim to challenge, nurture and mentor to allow all to enhance their capabilities, build confidence and develop skills on the water.

Both Saturday and Sunday will start with yoga on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour. After breakfast the morning session will be led by some of Australia’s leading female coaches. The afternoon will be a series of short course races putting new skills into action.  Both a female helm with a mixed crew and all-girl crews are encouraged to join us.