One-Designs welcome women

Published on May 26th, 2023

Molly Wilmer provides this update for SpinSheet magazine on how one-design classes are welcoming women in Annapolis, MD:

Using a variety of different formats, several local one- design fleets are recognizing the inclusion of women as the formula for fueling growth. From women’s regattas to mentoring women’s teams to encouraging mixed teams, more women are being recruited to race. Here on the Chesapeake Bay, J/105, Snipe, Melges 15, J/70, and ILCA classes are among the leaders in welcoming women.

On the class level, J/105s are encouraging local fleets to develop female talent. Toronto had the first women’s regatta in 2021, joined by San Francisco and Annapolis in 2022.

“We encouraged each fleet to come up with their own way to celebrate women that race on J/105s, and if they have other agenda items, like encouraging more female owner/drivers, and fleet/class leadership, that was up to them,” said Nicole Breault, vice president of the J/105 Class.

In Annapolis, the inaugural J/105 Women’s Regatta was held in May 2022, with 13 boats. With most of the boats sailing with all-women crews, the decision was made for the 2023 edition to limit the number of men onboard to one optional owner’s representative. As of press time, 12 boats are already pulling together crews for the September 3 event.

Longtime skipper and organizer in the Snipe Fleet, Lisa Foulke Pline reflects, “Do we *need* separate women’s events? No. The Snipe Class has a long history of being accessible to women skippers and crews.” Pline continues, “Do we benefit from hosting them? Absolutely. They are a different species of events: very fun, very inclusive, and a great way to promote the sport!” – Full report

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