Developing a deeper talent pool
Published on November 14th, 2023
by Molly Hughes Wilmer, Sailing World
At a recent coed Grandmasters Team Race Regatta, a teammate told me he didn’t understand why there were women-only sailboat races—as if to say, what’s the point? His comment was a brave one in today’s “woke” world, but it’s something that men and women alike probably think about a lot more than they talk about. Yet it raises a valid conundrum as our predominantly male sport pushes toward wider female inclusion: Why isolate women to their own sideshows when the long-term goal is organic integration across the sport?
As I listened to his comments, many of which I’ve heard before, I thought about the fact that several signature women’s events, like the International Women’s Keelboat Regatta and the Santa Maria Cup, are either dead or not as popular as they once were. And later, as I reflected on our discussion, I took stock of our competitors at the Newport Harbor YC Palmer Trophy. Eight of the 54 sailors—15 percent—were women.
“It’s important to have this dialogue,” says Nicole Breault, the first woman to earn St. Francis YC’s Yachtsman of the Year. Breault is a one-design champion and currently competing in the revived Women’s World Match Racing Tour. “Segregation,” she says, “is part of the process of developing a deeper talent pool among women.” – Full report