A number of new features will be introduced at January's Tanner and Tauranga Cup regattas to encourage greater female participation and engagement.
The Tanner and Tauranga Cups are this country's top regattas for the P Class, dating back to the 1940s, and the Murrays Bay Sailing Club will host both events on January 4-9, 2022.
The club have been working on a bunch of fresh initiatives they hope will help reinvigorate the class and see greater female participation. They come on the back of a survey of a number of P Class sailors and include:
- A gun for crossing the line for the first girl and first boy in each race
- A daily bullet trophy presentation to the first girl and first boy in each race
- An overall results page and also a girl's only results page and a boy's only results page
On top of that, a host of New Zealand's top female sailors, including Alex Maloney, Molly Meech, Erica Dawson and Liv Mackay, have been invited to attend various P Class regattas over the summer to help inspire young females.
"Recent research has shown that our young female sailors are more inspired by the achievements of our top women sailors of New Zealand, like Erica Dawson, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech who competed in the recent Tokyo Olympics and Liv MacKay who is a member of the New Zealand SailGP team, than some of the top New Zealand male sailors," organising committee chairman Scott Leith said. "Our women sailors are heroes to many of our young female sailors and we need to show these girls that the same pathways and opportunities are available to them.
"We are hopeful that the introduction of these innovations – the encouragement and acknowledgment of performances from both boys and girls and connecting our female P Class sailors directly with the current top women sailors they see on TV and through social media - will result in some strong performances over the summer and will continue for years to come."
It was recently announced both youth and women's racing will be included in the next America's Cup and SailGP have moved to include females in the event this year.
Yachting New Zealand national sport development director Raynor Haagh applauded the Murrays Bay Sailing Club for embracing a more inclusive approach. Yachting New Zealand have been working hard to bring about positive change since implementing their Women and Girls in Sailing Strategy in 2019.
"Yachting New Zealand support the piloting of these ideas and will work with regatta organisers to conduct a follow-up survey with participants, race officials, event organisers and parents," Haagh said. "Our Women and Girls in Sailing Strategy encourages programmes that enable greater participation and engagement and that's what we're seeing with the 2022 Tanner and Tauranga Cups."
In another positive move, organisers have been able to secure Osbournes Ltd as sponsors of the girl's trophies at the Tanner and Tauranga Cups.
A host of P Class events are scheduled for the summer, culminating in the national events:
Oct 23-24: North Island championships, Wakatere Boating Club
Nov 13-14: Auckland Championships, Howick Sailing Club
Dec 4-5: Sir Peter Blake Regatta, Torbay Sailing Club
Dec 11-12: Most provinces hold Tanner Cup trials
Jan 4-9: Tanner and Tauranga Cups, Murrays Bay Sailing Club
- Photo: Yachting New Zealand