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Inaugural Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta

by Treasa Cox, Irish Sailing 18 Aug 2019 19:39 BST 17-18 August 2019
Inaugural Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta © David Branigan / Oceansport

Sligo Yacht Club wins All Women Team prize at the inaugural Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta.

The event was designed to reverse the trend of women leaving sailing when careers and family take over. The first Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm finished in Dun Laoghaire today with 61 boats and well over 200 people taking part.

The "All Female Crew" prize was won by The Lady Caroline, a J24 boat from Sligo Yacht Club. The team was helmed by Rachael O'Dwyer who said "we entered because we've all been sailing with mixed teams and we never get a chance to helm. We wanted to show everyone, and ourselves, what we can do".

All the racing was completed on Saturday which saw choppy waters and gusts up to 35 knots in Dublin Bay, making the courses challenging and blustery for the boats. Racing on Day 2 (today) was cancelled due to the weather conditions.

Amongst the prizewinners were Louise McKenna who won the "Silver Sailor" prize for helms over 60. The Roy Family Club Perpetual Trophy for the most successful club was won by the Royal St George Yacht Club (Dun Laoghaire).

Women have been sailing with and against each other for decades, but this is the first regatta to be held at a national level. This was a truly unique event where women were actively encouraged to develop their leadership skills by only allowing women helms. (Men also sailed but women had to make up 50% of the crew, and all boats were required to be helmed by women).

Irish Sailing event organiser Gail MacAllister said "while there is already equality in sailing with boys and girls competing against each other from an early age, the regatta was designed to reverse the trend of women leaving sailing when careers and family take over - and to show to younger or less experienced sailors that women helming and being a leader can become the norm".

For all the results go to www.sailing.ie/Events/Irish-Sailing-Pathfinder-Women-at-the-Helm/Entries-and-Results

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