Steering the Course at Queen Mary SC

Queen Mary Sailing Club has been celebrating the Steering the Course Festival 2022 by World Sailing this month, which aims to promote women in sailing and encourage them to progress further in our sport.
27 May 22
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THe club planned a full schedule to celebrate: a social media takeover for the duration of the festival, a ‘women at the helm’ club race for members and, as the main event, a Women’s Keelboating day in RS21s.

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The keelboat event took off with 20 women initially signing up to take part. Due to its popularity, RS Sailing kindly offered two extra boats to allow a total of 27 women to enjoy the day. It was led by Queen Mary Sailing Club’s Chief Dinghy Instructor, Hannah Golton, and supported by three other female instructors, Julie Harrison, Annabel Sumeray and Ellie Tapper.

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The group was welcomed together on the day and initially separated by ability for the morning. This allowed beginners to learn more about sailing in general and to do so in a friendly and welcoming situation. The more experienced sailors were challenged with some RS21 spinnaker runs making great use of the boats and the weather.

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After a well-earned BBQ, the group came back together for some light-hearted informal racing which turned out to have fierce competition throughout the fleet. The day ended with a victory lap of all seven boats around the reservoir to celebrate how far many had come through the day and for being able to get this many women together for one sail.

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Hannah said of the day: "The atmosphere was incredible. For many women there, learning from female instructors wasn’t something that had happened before, and it created a very encouraging environment with many women taking the helm for the first time.

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"The momentum from such a day will hopefully carry forward into many of these women’s sailing careers. As the disparity between men and women in sailing is highlighted further, Queen Mary Sailing Club is very proud to be addressing this and will continue to support women in the sport wherever possible."

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Julia Quigley, one of the participants, summed up: "I had an amazing day, thank you Hannah and Annabelle. It was a brilliant intro to keelboat sailing”.  

Find out more about Steering the Course and Queen Mary Sailing Club.

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With thanks to Hannah for the report and Simon Winkley for the photographs.