Last night I was privileged to host an event in Sydney with an enthusiastic panel and audience of sailors.
This was MySail’s first networking event, and seconded as the first public presentation for JPK Pacific, with a colourful talk about the new venture from one of its co-founders, Paul Glynn.
Our panel consisted of Olympic and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Nina Curtis, RSYS Instructor and life-long sailor Locky Pryor and Tracy Richardson who has been sailing for almost 5 years and kicking some serious personal and sailing goals with her women’s team on ‘No Friends’.
The atmosphere was fantastic as it is bound to be at any sailing event. One of the key things that was evident through the evening’s discussion is the strength of the sailing community.
Camaraderie between crew members is integral to our enjoyment of sailing, and the strength of the life-long bonds developed during long offshore races or intense campaigns are inevitable.
Discussing the most memorable moments from his two Sydney Hobart Yacht Race experiences, Locky Pryor highlighted not only the camaraderie between team mates, but also amongst the greater sailing community at the end of the race, as one of the key things that keeps bringing him back for more.
Nina repeated the sentiment that the camaraderie and relationships developed with your fellow crew members is a really special part of our sport.
Unlike many sports, sailing is an activity that people can start, or come back to, at any time in their life. Locky was brought up sailing, but with conflicting commitments between his sailing and AFL programs, left the sport for a number of years. Despite the time off, when he decided to give up AFL he was able to get straight back onto the water to continue his successful sailing career. He is now a Sailing Instructor and Training Coordinator at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and is about to start a 3-year campaign in the competitive 16-footer class.
Tracy Richardson is also a great example of coming to sailing later in life. She had done a little bit of sailing as a child, but really started in earnest just under 5 years ago when she joined the team on Adams 10 ‘No Friends’ at Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Tracy aims is to continually challenge herself, which is why, when the opportunity arose, she become a part owner of No Friends. This has provided the ability to put together and skipper a women’s team for monthly racing around Sydney harbour. The next challenge for Tracy and her team will be to pit their sailing prowess against other women’s teams from across Australia and beyond at the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta, held at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron in June.
Nina Curtis has experienced lots of challenges, success and a few set-backs during her sailing career. From winning an Olympic silver medal in 2012 to missing out on a spot in her subsequent attempt at an Olympic campaign, to being passed over for a spot on the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race only to be called up at the last minute to join team Brunel for the Southern Ocean leg of the race. Nina is well versed in challenging herself, and although very modest, her determination to meet those challenges is evident.
But sailing is not all about winning international races. There is always something new to learn and the strength of the sailing community is the same whether you’re racing at the top levels or social sailing at your local yacht club.
For Nina, despite her involvement and success in high level racing, when in Sydney she’s enjoying getting out for some twilight and club sailing at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, on her home waters of Pittwater.
Thanks to everyone who came out last night and to our event sponsor Jimmy Rum. If you weren’t able to make it, stay tuned for news on future events. If you are interested to have an event held in your region or would like to host one, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.