The first festival was held in September 2019 and was a huge
success. Around 50 women gathered at Strangford Lough Yacht Club, from first
timers to lifelong sailors.
The festival is open to like-minded women who have been involved
in sailing from a young age, as part of the recent Women on Water programmes or completely new.
The Women on Water programme runs at clubs across Northern Ireland
and sees women taking part in a four-week programme to learn the basics of
sailing, as well as making new friends along the way. It is a low cost
programme and is open to women of all abilities.
RYA Northern Ireland’s Active Clubs co-ordinator Lisa McCaffrey
explains: “It is exciting to now have the date for the next Women on Water
Festival marked firmly in the diary. Last year was an uplifting and
inspirational day with women coming together to share memories of their times
on the water, and to make new ones.
“It is a fantastic way for women to try out sailing and to get
involved in something which is not only good for physical health but also for
mental health and for creating a new social circle with like-minded people.”
Feedback from last year’s festival was positive, with one
participant stating: “Women on Water has been a changing point for me and is an
amazing project. I’m heading out today with another Women on Water participant
and I’m handing my membership papers into my club. I’m definitely at the start
of something new.”
Lisa McCaffrey comments: “Following the feedback from last year’s
festival, there was no option but to run another festival this year and we are
looking forward to welcoming new and returning participants. We have
decided to run it over summer so that the participants can return to their
local club and get some more sailing done before winter.
“This programme breaks down many barriers and it is so good to
learn about our participant’s stories, we are so glad that Women on Water has been an avenue for them to
accomplish their goals.”
Debbie Nelson from Carrickfergus Sailing Club comments: "
and BLS are absolutely delighted to be hosting the 2nd WOW festival. We
have always thoroughly enjoyed past WOW sessions. This will be a fantastic
opportunity for like minded women to get together, experience sailing, meet new
friends and most importantly laugh until our tummy’s ache!!"
The Women on Water programme is the first step of the sailing
pathway for females in Northern Ireland. Previous graduates are now part of
their club committees and some are on the pathway to competing at national and
There are a number of clubs running Women on Water programmes. For
more information contact Lisa.email@example.com