The inaugural Women in Sailing Mentee project is now finished and Pamela Lee gives us her final update.
It’s with a fantastic mix of pride, affinity and enthusiasm for the future, that I look back on our pilot Irish Sailing Mentorship program. We welcomed three extremely different women into the program, Aideen Kilkelly from Sligo, Robyn Lynch from Cork and Carla Fagan from Dublin.
These assertive women were different from each other not only due to their locations, but also their stages in life - from working mum, to new graduate and high-powered career goer. Their differences also applied to their sailing background, their sailing ambitions and the role that sailing played in their lives.
Looking back, these differences were the key to what became a dynamic, motivated, curious and mutually encouraging group of sailors, brought together through the aim of discovering and sharing their unique sailing pathways over the year long program.
With the title of ‘Mentor’, I aimed to facilitate a space for the mentees to feel encouraged and supported in uncovering and taking the next steps on their sailing pathway. – by me, by Irish sailing, but also by each other.
Through a mixture of continuous progress, evolving projects and specific experiences, it’s been incredibly enriching to speak to each of the mentees about their experience over the past 12 months.
Robyn, along with many other ambitions, had a specific goal of building her navigation skills and experience. Her focus and hard-work are admiral, as a result she and I now share ‘Gin and Adrena’* chats and I’d mark her as 'one-to-watch' for the future of Irish Offshore Sailing.
Robyn shared “I got so much out of everything I did but one delivery in particular stands out to me. Learning to navigate was a goal of mine for the year and during a delivery to France, I felt the skill finally start to click and it was a big turning point for me.”
Aideen, is a powerhouse of multi-tasking and passion. While running her Galway hooker, her objectives included building her confidence in helming, watch leading and gaining offshore miles. When we caught up, she had just finished her second trip navigating the trade winds of the West Indies in “lovely squally weather.” It takes a certain level of confidence and on-the-water experience to consider squalls 'lovely'!
“I sailed with and received offshore mentorship from such inspiring professional sailors over the course of the year. I hope this year to do some offshore racing and also complete my Instructor training for Hooker Sailing.” said Aideen.
Aideen is soon undertaking her Irish Sailing Keelboat Instructor Course, and alongside building her own sailing skills she continues making a crucial contribution to sailing in Ireland with her dedication to the magnificent Galway Hooker Sailing Club fleet.
Carla’s aim was to progress to the ‘back of the boat’ and also consider her options in becoming a boat owner. An experienced 'bowie' already and a Laser sailor, in August she helmed to victory in Squib Easterns. “The mentorship gave me greater confidence in my own ability to catalyse & create opportunities"
Through a series of one-to-ones, group chats, meet-ups and sailing adventures shared, I’m confident that we achieved what we set out to do – build community and network, discover pathway opportunities, open doors and provide support and encouragement. I’m looking forward to expanding on this solid foundation and expanding the mentorship program for the years to come.
A special thank you to those who contributed directly to making this pilot project a success,
Michael Boyd, Laura Dillon and Lisa O’Carroll Coaching. Your openness and enthusiasm were instrumental in the achievements and progress of the mentees.
*Adrena is a high-powered, extremely technical, navigation software built in France and used by top offshore skippers.
Photograph: Natasha Gonzalez