Strength of female sailing at RNZYS continues

The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have been breaking ground in women’s sailing in recent years and this has seen an increase in the number of females entering the Mastercard Youth Training Programme to the point it is close to a 50 percent gender split.

The RNZYS have also looked to support these sailors with entries into the New Zealand Women’s Match Racing National Championships, along with encouragement to enter other women’s events.

There is a strong women’s racing fleet on alternate Tuesday evenings throughout the summer, which is sponsored by Barfoot & Thompson.

This runs into the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Women’s Keelboat National Championships at the end of November (after being rescheduled from March due to Covid-19). Next year’s event will return to the end of the season at the start of May. 

The Women’s 5050 Regatta is another event run to encourage female participation, especially in main positions on the boat such as helm. The 5050 Regatta crews can be all-female crews consisting of four or five sailors or, alternatively, two males and two females, one of whom has to helm.

In the past this has seen dads and daughters, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters and boyfriends and girlfriends out there giving it a go.

The RNZYS also run learn to sail courses for females, run by female coaches and designed to be fun and engaging. They often utilise the MRX fleet, which is the perfect platform to then transition into crew for the Barfoot & Thompson Ladies Series.

The New Zealand Women’s Match Racing National Championships are planned to go ahead on September 10-13 – all things going well.

Normally this event is run in February but it was shifted this year to September to be a preliminary event for the Women’s Match Racing World Championships due to be held start of November 2020. The world championships have been cancelled due to Covid-19, although the RNZYS are now set to host it in 2021.

The current lineup for the national championships include defending champion and RNZYS Performance Programme skipper Celia Willison with her Edge Racing Team who are currently ranked ninth on the World Sailing match racing women’s rankings.

Megan Thomson, another RNZYS PP skipper, has worked hard to improve her ranking to 22nd. These two are joined by two more RNZYS Youth Training Programme teams helmed by Holly McNiell and Maive White.

Christchurch’s Ella Wilcox from Naval Point Club Lyttelton is competing, following on from her participation in this year’s Harken New Zealand Secondary School Keelboat National Championships. 

Youth Training Programme graduate Claudia Pierce, who is currently based in Wellington, is also throwing her hat in the ring.

A Kawau Boating Club boat skippered by Samantha Norman will also compete and contain a powerful team including Polly and Miranda Powrie, Bex Costello and Hana Hielkema.

Entries are still open for a number of events and more information can be found below.

Sept 10-13: New Zealand Women’s Match Racing National Championships 
Oct 31-Nov 1: Auckland Women’s 5050 Regatta
Nov 28-29 & May 1-2, 2021: New Zealand Women’s Keelboat National Championships 
Ladies learn to sail courses

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