A rough ride for Women’s Keelboat race

Nicola Wakefield Evans at the helm of Whistling Kite, was the only RSYS boat to brave race two, of the Sydney Harbour Women’s Keelboat Series sailed last Sunday in a fresh, damp and cool southerly.  After a beat from The Sound to Rose Bay and a run down to Grotto Point, Race Officer Robyn Tames shortened the course at Lady Bay.

Nicola writes, ‘Ten brave female skippers fought atrocious conditions, in driving rain, low visibility and a blustery southerly, including my boat and crew on the RP Seaquest 36 Whistling Kite.  We were fortunate to have won Division 1 (Spinnaker Division) in the inaugural series in 2020/2021.

After a good start at Grotto Point we worked down to Rose Bay, having to cross a large incoming swell across the Heads. We saw gusts of up to 28 knots and the low visibility meant that we were on the lookout for Sow & Pigs Reef! Fortunately the swell reduced the ferry traffic as many ferry trips to and from Manly on the new Emerald class ferries were cancelled because of the swell.

Coming into the Rose Bay mark, we also had to navigate a number of moored yachts and motor boats sheltering from the southerly, to round the mark.  We then sailed a course across to the western side of the harbour back to the next mark at Grotto Point. This proved to be a good course to follow as we were also dealing with a strong outgoing tide. Crossing the Heads again across the strong swell to the Lady Bay mark, we noticed as the mark came out of the gloom, that the race had been shortened and the finishing line was at Lady Bay.  We crossed second over the line and came 5th on handicap.

The next race is being hosted by RSYS on 23 January 2022 and it would be great to see more female helmed RSYS boats in the race. ‘
Download the notice of race and enter online.
View the results

Photos by Marg Fraser-Martin