LOTS of fun at the Coaching Regatta

Despite many challenges leading into the event, our Ladies of the Sea Coaching Regatta was a success, writes Rear Commodore Karyn Gojnich.

Fifteen boats and more than 80 participants from nine clubs were involved. The weather once again did not match the forecast, which enabled us to hold our on-land briefings outside in the fresh air and also provided a mix of challenges on the race course.

Sandy Lawson, Rapunzel

Amanda Hicks, Xena

Alice Walker, Zig Zag2

Here’s what some of our participants said about the weekend:

“I wanted to thank you all for a fantastic regatta. This is only my second season back to sailing after a long break, and I am enjoying it so much. I found the regatta very informative and helpful in improving my skills as a crew member.”

“Thank you for organising a fabulous regatta. It was my first, and now I am bursting with enthusiasm to participate in more.”

“Just a quick word to say how amazing your efforts were, and what an incredibly steep learning curve it was. The coaching and instruction were amazing, and the friendly, fun atmosphere was second to none.”

The ethos of this event has always been a hybrid of coaching and competition. Our participants learned valuable lessons from our experts both in the classroom and on the water. This year we were fortunate to welcome as our coaches: RSYS Members Rear Commodore Karyn Gojnich, Julie Clarke, Claudia Thackray, David Chapman and Maddie O’Shea, and guest coaches: Lindy Hardcastle, Lisa Darmanin and Greta Quealy.

Elliotts in full flight

Photo finish for the Ynglings

Congratulations to our division winners:

Keel Boat – All Female Crew
1  Enigma                  Anna Connery
2  Genovefa             Genevieve Slattery
3  Zig Zag 2              Alice Walker

Keelboat – Female helm, mixed crew
1  Euphoria              Peggy Sniffin
2  Rapunzel              Sandy Lawson
3  Whistling Kite   Nicola Wakefield Evans

One Design – All Female Crew
1  Black Adder      Lauren Wall
2  Elliott 2               Kim Ketelbey
3  Elliott 3               Rhian Hughes

One Design – Female helm Mixed crew
1  Holly                   Jenna Searle
2  Mojo                   Kirstin Reblin
3  Troika                Leah Suters

A great collection of photos and videos from the weekend can be found through the following links:

Adventures of a Sailor Girl (Nic Douglass)

Marg’s Yacht Photos

RSYS Ladies of the Sea Regatta web page

RSYS Ladies of the Sea Regatta Image Gallery

Nic Douglass
We were very fortunate over the weekend to be joined by Sailor Girl Nic Douglass.  Nic is a three-time World Champion in the Tasar dinghy, over ten-time Australian National Champion in fleet and match racing, and won two Grade One gold medals in the Olympic class of Women’s Match Racing for the Australian Sailing Team in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games. We are grateful to Nic for acting as MC at our presentation dinner on Sunday evening. Nic is producing a video of the regatta which we will share with you as soon as possible.

Nic Douglass at the Sunday presentation

2022 marks the tenth year that Nic has been working in sailing communications full-time, following her passion for the sport. Nic is the person behind Adventures of a Sailor Girl, which as a business, produces content and promotes sailing events, brands and sailors.  Her skills include commentator, presenter, public relations professional and audio-visual all-rounder.  She has covered events from all around the world including the Middle Sea Race, Hamilton Island Race week, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Sydney to Hobart Yacht race and now the RSYS Ladies of the Sea Coaching Regatta.

LOTS of new experiences

The LOTS Coaching Regatta is not just about nurturing female talent on the water, it is also an opportunity for women to try their hand and learn the fine art of race management. Here’s what RSYS Member Jocelyn Webb said about her experience:

‘I have been a Member of RSYS for a while, always focused on sailing. This season I decided to take a break from Saturday sailing, however the opportunity to volunteer for the LOTS Regatta and support our Club in a volunteer capacity was too good to pass up.  I was privileged to be given a chance to join the race committee team on the fabulous start boat Mischief. Although I have participated in many race starts from the water and have a basic knowledge of rules and sequences, it was an eye-opener to gain a different perspective.

Under the expert tutelage of Trish Stanley and Rob Ridley, and with fellow newbie Emma Harvey, we had a busy introduction to line setting, mark positions, flags – in particular the criticality of the timing of reaching the top on raising and lowering the flags, watching for boats that may cross early, and for the finish, ensuring all the times were correct to the second. as this can be the difference between taking home the silverware, or not. And I can confirm the myth that all the race committee do during the race is lay back, sip wine and take in the harbour views is well and truly busted! During the race, discussion centres around courses, mark positions, likely finish time and order, and for regattas, ensuring fair races in terms of length and courses. We also watch hoists and drops, and with the benefit of viewing from the top deck, we become armchair tacticians!

I loved the day so much that I have decided to undertake a race management and umpire course, and have put up my hand to join the race management crew roster! PS We did indulge in a sip of wine or two at the end of the day ….  over a debrief of course …’

Words of thanks

This regatta would not have happened without the dedication of the Squadron Member volunteers who worked on the Regatta Committee and Race Management team. Thank you to: Amanda Hicks, Jonathan McCray, Jane McCullough, Jan Newland, Sara Ladd, Kirstin Reblin, Trish Stanley, Jocelyn Webb, Emma Harvey, Sophie Hunt, and our honorary handicapper John Maclurcan.  Also to Rob Ridley, Marg Carney, Will Imlay from the Sailing Department and Zac Quinlan from Marketing and Communications. A special mention must also go to staff in the clubhouse who, like most hospitality venues, have been managing major staff shortages with the rising COVID-19 infections.

Supporters of our event

The Ladies of the Sea Coaching Regatta would not have been possible without the help of our supporters who outfitted our coaches and volunteers, provided competitor regatta packs as well as prizes for the event.

Sail Racing provided shirts for our coaches and volunteers as well as 4 x $500 vouchers for each of our division winners.

Peggy Sniffin from Euphoria, overall winner in the Keelboat Female helm mixed crew division.

Pantaenius provided dry bags for each skipper, caps or visors for competitors, as well as beach bags and coolers which were awarded randomly to participants. The mystery prize of a Pantaenius SUP was won by LOTS graduate Emma Duval.  All competitors went into the draw and had an opportunity to win.

Above & Beyond Boating awarded seven online skipper courses valued at $200 each.  These were awarded on merit to competitors – Vicki Kornman, the Laser sailor, for taking on spinnakers on the Yngling, Genevieve Slattery for continuously encouraging her all girl crew to embrace new skills and try each other’s roles on the boat.

Adam Tran made his boat Troika available for novice sailors Sawza Lipscombe and Leah Suters (Newcastle Yacht Club).

Chamber Russell Lawyers contributed to the backstay flags identifying boats in the fleet and also contributed to the cost of coaches, volunteers and race management for the weekend.

Coaches for Ladies of the Sea (LOTS) Regatta

We were very fortunate to have a great line up of coaches for the regatta.  Supporting the One design Division was Lisa Darmanin, two-time Olympic sailor, competing in the Nacra 17 class at the Rio 2016 (Silver Medal) and Tokyo 2020 (5th) Games, and recipient of the Australian Female Sailor of the Year 2021 award.  RSYS member and professional sailor David Chapman, who has multiple World Championships, National titles and the Sayonara Cup in his list of achievements, was also part of the coaching team.  Onboard the Club’s Elliots supporting our keelboat program graduates were Maddie O’Shea, Claudia Thackray and Greta Quealy.

Supporting the Keelboat Division was triple Olympian and Rear Commodore Karyn Gojnich, offshore sailor Lindy Hardcastle and RSYS Member Julie Clarke.  As well as setting up starting drills to help boats practise their approach to racing, both Julie and Lindy were hopping on and off boats to share their experience.

Lindy onboard Xena coaching Helena through judging distance to the start line


LOTS more LOTS fun!

Save the date: Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 October 2022

Our next Ladies of the Sea Coaching Regatta will be held over the October Long Weekend, Saturday 1 and Sunday October 2022.

To stay in touch and receive notifications about the event, please complete our Expression of Interest form.