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Waikawa Women's Keelboat Regatta

Women sailors called to join the evolution

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It's hoped women from around New Zealand and even from Australia will compete at September's annual Evolution Sails Women's Regatta in Picton.

The Waikawa Boating Club will host the popular event over the weekend of September 18-19 and in the past it's drawn a variety of sailors from Olympians and Ocean Race sailors to newcomers and those who have never raced before.

Accommodation in Waikawa and Picton is already being booked up by crews planning to compete, and organisers Juliet expect at least 60 Auckland-based women to be there.

It's possible there could be some from Australia, especially after a trans-Tasman bubble was announced to open later this month.

“Anyone is welcome to sign up for the event and, as long as we have enough boats, we’ll get them a spot on a crew that suits their level of sailing experience,” Waikawa Boating Club development officer David Hancock said.

While anyone can bring their own boat to the regatta, the yachts are mostly provided by members of the Waikawa Boating Club.

Some long-time racers in the event have a permanent booking on a particular boat and the owners keep that in their calendar for them.

“I’ve got regular skipper, Wendy Walker from Christchurch, and she’ll pull a crew together and be here again," said David Paul, who owns Sirrah. "I used to go on the boat with them until they became better at sailing it than I am. Wendy ended up sacking me.”

The programme starts on the Friday afternoon with a cruise out to a bay in Queen Charlotte Sound for drinks and a BBQ. Racing starts on Saturday with two longer-distance races up and down Queen Charlotte Sound and concludes with two shorter races around the cans on Sunday.

Saturday night is particularly popular with dinner and a guest speaker who will generally be an inspirational woman sailor.

See here for more information, including the notice of race and entry form.

  • Photo: Karmyn Ingram