I was thrilled to take part for the first time in this year’s Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (AWKR). Gathering a group of talented Sydney-based sailors, we were kindly lent an Elliot 9.6 called ‘Phantom’ from one of the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron’s generous owners.
After only one day to practice together in Sydney and no opportunity to practice ahead of the regatta on the Elliot 9.6, we weren’t expecting a fantastic result. Our goal was to sail safe and have fun, while being as competitive as possible.
The majority of the regatta was light. So light, we were only able to get in 1 race on the first day, and were lucky to see more than 3-4 knots at any time.
Day 2, after getting in one race, the race course glassed out and it was AP up again as we waited for more wind to fill in. Eventually it did, and the race committee managed to get in two more races, although still under very light conditions.
After two and a half days of very light-wind sailing, Hughie decided to make an appearance on day 3 for the last race of this year’s Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta.
For most of the regatta we were lucky to see 5 knots of wind, and with that increasing to gusts of over 20 knots, there was a little carnage in the last two legs of race 6.
I’m happy to say, the worst we did was dump a spinnaker in the water on the final drop; after light wind drops for the whole regatta, we weren’t quite prepared for a drop in 20 knots of breeze. However, it was quickly retrieved with no harm done, except a very wet spinnaker and crew member.
The end results for team MySail on Phantom were a 9th, 8th, 3rd, 4th, 11th and 4th. With one drop, we ended up a respectable 5th overall out of 13 yachts in division 1. There was definite improvement throughout the regatta, no damage or injury and a great time had by all. Objectives achieved!
The team included 8 talented ladies, and it was fabulous to see everyone take control of their role and the improvements throughout the 6 races, as we figured out what worked, what didn’t and how best to work together.
The key to this improvement was good communication – if something wasn’t clear, we talked it through and agreed on a process that worked for our team. We also did a pre-race brief at the start of each day and post-race brief after every race and at the end of each day. These briefs provided a way to talk through anything that didn’t work and how we could improve for the next race, and were also a way to keep everyone motivated.
After a great regatta, we’re all looking forward to attending again next year!