Latest News

Latest News

Blogs (Latest News)

31st Australian Women's Keelboat Regatta

RSYS members again headed south to Melbourne to participate in the 31st Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta held over the Kings Birthday Weekend.  The Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) hosted this premier event that was first sailed in 1991.

Members Karyn Gojnich, Malin Ludwig and Kat Wotherspoon were joined by Alex Murray and Lindy Hardcastle onboard the J/70, Madness.  Member Sara Ladd joined Maria Nash, Sara Pacey, Gabrielle Howard and Kylie Twible onboard the J/70, The Jackal.

This regatta is unique. The racing is serious, but the banter and camaraderie onshore afterwards at the daily BBQs, the crew dinner and the prize giving, is nothing short of hilarious.  The regatta is only possible as many boat owners from clubs around Port Phillip Bay make their boats available for the all girl crews.  Organisers spend a lot of time collecting sailing CVs and matching crews with boat owners. This year’s event had 30 boats with over 200 sailors from Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

Racing over the weekend was in 10-12 knot shifty Northerlies.  Temperatures were also a good, 8-10 degrees warmer than in 2022.  The J/70s were promoted to Division 1 this year after cleaning up in Division 2 last year.

Photographer Andrea Francolini joined the event capturing images both on and off the water.  A highlight was definitely sitting down opposite Andrea who described ‘the bold ladies who fearlessly posed for him. They barely had 30 seconds each to shed any self-consciousness. The resulting collection showcases an abundance of personalities.

Claire Heenan’s Adams 10, Jungle Juice (NSW) claimed the Division 1 overall win. Clare Olding steered Vertigo (Vic) to second overall, the Summit 35 finishing a mere point and a half behind Jungle Juice. Third was the Helen Willmer skippered Bavaria 38 Match, Mrs Overnewton (Vic).

Heenan commented, "Our crew work was fantastic, with good starts and calls. We had a disappointing first day, with breaking gear and we went the wrong way in Race 2. The competition was as fierce as it’s ever been – very hard. Ours wasn’t a very comfortable win. It was very close with Vertigo, which we raced neck-and-neck around the course.  This regatta is the highlight of our sailing calendar and we will be back."

In Division 2, Sophie Davidson’s J24, Vice Versa from South Australia took the overall win.  Sixth place in the final race gave them a buffer of two and a half points over Darwin entry, Outlaw, skippered by Jenny Simondson.  Up N Go, steered by Victoria’s Kath Beaufort, rounded out the top three, finishing just one point adrift of Outlaw in a close series that came down to the final race, which was won by the Stevenson 30, Tom Cat, helmed by Maree Fitzpatrick (Vic).

Click here to view the overall results.

Photo Credit: Andrea Francolini