Australia. Royal Yacht Club of Victoria’s all girl Williamstown crew makes sailing history
L-R Kathy McLean, Marilyn O’Brien, Tanya Stanford, Sophie Tarney and rookie Kate Brown: © Tony Spencer
Photo: L-R Kathy McLean, Marilyn O’Brien, Tanya Stanford, Sophie Tarney and rookie Kate Brown: © Tony Spencer - click picture to enlarge
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Tuesday, 11 April 2006
Mike Sabey:

For the first time in the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria’s proud one hundred and fifty three year history an all women’s crew has entered the Club record books by bringing home a major sailing trophy.

For over six months, five women whose racing experience ranged from rank amateur to seasoned, bonded brilliantly together to race the RYCV based S80 designed Serious Yahoo II to a stirring, come from behind, win in the final race, to take out the Women in Sailing Challenge on Sunday 9 April at Sandringham Yacht Club.

Inspired by skipper Kathy McLean, her never say die crew of Marilyn O’Brien, Tanya Stanford, Sophie Tarney and rookie Kate Brown notched up outright first place on a 19 points scoreline that included a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and four 4ths to out gun the sixteen boat fleet in the nine race series, which began last November.

After a count back was applied, two Sandringham boats, Alibi (Kirsty Harris) and Wavelength (Denise Evans) shared equal second place some four places astern on 22 points.

Over the moon at winning

Kathy McLean said afterwards, “We are over the moon at winning such a major trophy against the best women keelboat sailors in Victoria.

“We were really pleased Serious Yahoo II owners had faith in our ability as we were the only boat not to have an “owners representative” on board to keep an eye on things!

“There’s no doubt the major prize of a five day Queensland Yacht Charters cruise was never far from our minds although at the outset we only ever dreamt about winning it. Now all five of us are packing our bags for a tropical holiday afloat of a lifetime,” she concluded.

Royals Rear Commodore Tony Spencer says, “Our women have done Royals proud! They showed great skill across various types of course and conditions that included long passage races around the bay and short sharp heats sailed around the buoys off Sandringham and to win the regatta they had to win the last heat.”

Novice in series victory

For novice Kate Brown the series was the first time she had stepped onto a race yacht yet together with Tanya Stanford she worked without fear on Serious Yahoo II’s pitching foredeck, hoisting spinnakers and changing sails.

Tanya Stanford spent three years crewing on a yacht from Australia to Sweden has recently taken up competitive sailing. She says, “Racing is so exciting compared to cruising which gets a bit boring at times.”

Call for women to ‘come sailing’

The next major event at Royals will be the Women’s Elliott design regatta, which is scheduled to be staged over the weekend of Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April.

Rear Commodore Spencer says, “The Club is keen to encourage women of all ages to try out for crewing places in this two day fun Hobsons Bay series.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 April 2006 )
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