If you haven’t registered for the 2021 Irish Sailing Women at the Helm and still need a push, you might be interested to hear from some of the women who took part at the last event.
Rosemary Tyrell (21) believes Women At The Helm is an important event because it “encourages women to feel more confident on a boat and have the courage to speak up, especially on keelboats, which can still be quite a male-dominated and intimidating environment.”
As one of the first female keelboat officers in Trinity Sailing (Trinity College Dublin’s sailing club), Rosemary is passionate about keelboat sailing and wants to encourage more people, male and female, to give it a try. She feels strongly that the crew match system set up for Women At The Helm, which matches individual entries to a boat, is a really great opportunity for people to try keelboat sailing and get out on the water in a fun, relaxed environment.
Rosemary brought together a team of six competent female keelboat sailors for the 2019 event. She says this felt like a real “power move”, and proof that “you actually can run a keelboat with all girls, no doubt about it”.
She now wants to encourage as many Trinity sailors, and others, to get to Cork to sail, volunteer or just experience a “great craic” event and ensure that it becomes “a hallmark in the sailing calendar”. She also wants to demonstrate to women that the boat isn’t too big or intimidating for them – “she’s 5 foot 3, if she can do it I can”!
Similarly, Niamh Henry (22), entered a U25 J80 in the 2019 Women At The Helm and thought it was a “great weekend which [she] thoroughly enjoyed!”
Not only did she love seeing so many women behind the helm but said; “I definitely gained more confidence helming as I had no other choice when the wind picked up at the event. I definitely think that has stood to me since.”
Aside from helming, Niamh also feels that the Women At The Helm “is a very important event in the calendar as it gives more responsibility to the rest of the women on the boat. For example, some women may have never trimmed a kite before, but are often given the opportunity in this event.” So, it is a “great event for both men and women to learn from each other.”
Overall, she thought that the Women At The Helm 2019 “shone a light on women’s sailing, which has encouraged a number of women’s teams to form since”, and she would “definitely recommend others to take part this year!”
To register for the 1-day Keelboat 2021 Women at the Helm, 18 September at the Royal Cork YC, go to https://www.sailing.ie/Events/Irish-Sailing-Women-at-the-Helm and remember that Under 25 Keelboat Teams have FREE ENTRY !
Picture: Niamh Henry