The Great Gender Shift
Published on October 31st, 2023
Decades of efforts to provide female sailors greater opportunities in the sport are finally coming to fruition. The shift is happening and it’s persistent, says Dave Reed for Sailing World:
On the first day of the 2023 J/24 US National Championship on Lake George, New York, whitecaps cover the racecourse frothed by gusting winds tumbling down steep green mountainsides. My mates and I are sailing upwind before the start of the morning’s first race, and the mainsail flogs with each angry gust, the boat heeling and sliding sideways despite our crew being right at maximum weight. We’re at the blurry crossover between using the genoa or the jib, and obviously we’re struggling with the big sail.
After we turn downwind and return to the starting area, we agree that we’re big boys and we’ve been sailing the boat for the better part of three decades, so we should be able to handle the genoa. Yet as we reach back and forth across the starting line, waiting for signals and looking up the course for any sign of the wind abating, we take stock of the rest of the fleet. Who here is confident or skilled enough to go with the genoa? Who already has the blade on deck? – Full report