Not very long ago, sailors feared the edge, the place just past known seas, where ships would fall from the edge of the earth. In their minds the earth was flat. Sailors believed wrongly pushing their craft past known limits was folly, which could end with free falling for an eternity. There was also the belief a woman on a boat would bring bad luck.
The National Women’s Sailing Association (NWSA) promotes its mission: to enrich the lives of women and girls through education and access to the sport of sailing. We push beyond the perceived edge, sailing past the familiar boat run by men and away from the notion women bring woe onto a boat. In the past half century, women have continually strove against exclusion from the sport of sailing while more and more women have found their way into the winner’s circle or arriving at a distant port. We are waving good bye to men, not from the shore, but more often from our boats.
This year over 100 women attended our Women’s Sailing Conference in Marblehead. Some took the helm for the first time. Others already owned boats and are experience offshore sailors who sought out specialized skills. Some are licensed captains. All were eager to learn and share the expertise they already had.
National Women’s Sailing Association also hosted series of workshops, a diesel workshop, our first Coastal Safety@Sea, and we hosted AdventureSails® from the Gulf Coast to New York.
While NWSA was offering programs to members, women sailors around the globe were setting impressive records. For the first time the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race required women to be included on each of the sailing teams. Two women, Australian Wendy Tuck and 25 year-old Nikki Henderson battled for the win in the Clipper Round the World race. Tuck became the first female skipper to win the 40,000 nautical mile race. And the 750 mile adventure race, the R2AK, was won by the all female crew Sail Like a Girl lead by Jeanne Goussev. We are all inspired and encouraged by their successes.
On our smaller scale, members continued to sail forward, piling up proof there is only a cliff in the imagination. We know our earth is round. We reject any notion we are bad luck. Realizing these things requires women to show grit and courage each time we sail beyond personal horizons. As an organization, we are proudly cheering all women sailors along.
Debbie Huntsman would like to hear from NWSA members regarding ideas for member benefits, workshop requests and information on women’s sailing events or news. Contact Huntsman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration from Dreamstime. ID 24300435 © Jeffrey Thompson | Dreamstime.com