At a packed ceremony last night at Skandia Cowes Week that was attended by top flight sportsmen and women, organisers, sponsors and media, the inaugural Ladies Day Trophy was presented on behalf of the regatta organisers, Cowes Combined Clubs, by Dame Ellen MacArthur to Mrs Betty Moore in recognition of her outstanding contribution and commitment to sailing at this world-famous yachting event. Betty, from Horsham, West Sussex, has raced her Solent Sunbeam, WHY, in every Cowes Week since 1947, but sadly this year she is confined to shore due to a recent operation, however, the 88-year old is determined to be back next year for her 60th year.
Cowes Combined Clubs has introduced a Ladies Day for the first time in the history of the 180-year old Event to celebrate women in sailing and to recognise female sporting prowess as well as to have some fun! The sport of sailing is actually one of the few where men and woman compete equally and is also one where women have competed from the beginning of its history. Of the 8500 competitors now racing at Skandia Cowes Week this year, one third are female.
Also shortlisted for the Trophy were:
Jeanette Critchell - nominated by her daughter who said, “ I know the only reason my mum took up sailing was to conquer her fear of the water, but she realised that she still had a fear of the water, but loved the sailing.” Jeanette has competed successfully in Cowes for a number of years, and although diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1998, she refuses to let that stop her from sailing.
Kerry Gruson - a disabled sailor from Miami, Florida, who is competing in her first Skandia Cowes Week, thanks to an adaptive seating and steering system. Kerry’s condition is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, that has left her with paralysis in the legs and arms.
Dee Caffari – Dee is Britain’s latest sailing “rock star”, having become the first woman to sail single-handed, non-stop around the world against the prevailing winds and currents, establishing a benchmark of 178 days, 3 hours, 5 minutes and 36 seconds. She sailed the 72 foot steel yacht Aviva, arriving back in Southampton in May this year.
Gavia Wilkinson-Cox - was a leading force in the worldwide administration of sailing when she worked for what was then the International Yacht Racing Union - now the International Sailing Federation. She is an accomplished Dragon sailor, who has competed in Cowes Week every year since 1973.