The second Women on Water festival had been planned at Carrickfergus Sailing Club but due to Covid-19 it was moved online.
Thefestival brings together like-minded women who have been involved in sailingfrom a young age or as part of the recent Women on Water programmes. The lowcost programme runs each year in clubs right across Northern Ireland and isopen to women of all abilities. A four-week programme, it teaches the basics ofsailing and there are lots of social opportunities.
RYANorthern Ireland’s Active Clubs co-ordinator, Lisa McCaffrey explained: “Womenon Water is a fantastic programme and this year was to be the second year ofour Festival. Our plans had to change but we were still able to hold a veryenjoyable online festival and it was a lovely opportunity for everyone to catchup and share insights and information, as well as having a good chat in whathas been difficult times for many.”
Duringthe online festival, RYA Northern Ireland’s Development Officer, Mary Martin,delivered an interactive workshop. This included a discussion on the Women onWater programme and how it could be developed going forward.
RYANorthern Ireland also provided valuable information on RYA qualifications,including instructor and official qualifications. The participants were able tofind out about the benefits of the qualifications, such as delivering sessionsat their local club which would allow more people to learn to sail, developingtheir own boating knowledge and also the potential career opportunities.
TheWomen on Water Leadership Group then hosted a quiz, with Jennifer Bryce, agraduate from the very first Women on Water programme in 2016, winning a freeticket to next year’s festival which will take place at Carrickfergus SailingClub.
Speakingafter the festival, Jennifer commented: “The talk was veryinformative and has encouraged me to work towards the Dinghy Instructorqualification. It would be wonderful to be able to teach other women, as Istarted with the Women on Water course acouple of years ago and have been slightly obsessed with sailing ever since!
“Just before lockdown I bought a GP14, with the excitingplans to compete in the GP14 Worlds event in the summer but that has beenpostponed. My crew, Lara Sunday, also completed the Women on Water course lastsummer and we got to know each other at the first festival. I can’t wait totake my boat out on the water as I haven’t even sailed it yet. This time lastyear I was out sailing four or five times a week, I am getting seriouswithdrawal symptoms!”
RYANorthern Ireland reminds all sailors to Be Considerate, Be Conservative andStay Safe when taking to the water. More information and guidance is availablehere