Hear from the Women at the Helm

Hear from the Women at the Helm

If you haven’t registered for the 2021 Irish Sailing Women at the Helm and still need some encouragement, you might be interested to hear from some of the women who took part in the last event.


Rosemary O’Connell was both a competitor and on the organising committee for the inaugural Women at the Helm. “To say I enjoyed it is an understatement ! It was great to see women of all abilities empower and support each other to take on different types of leadership roles on and off the water. I was with four others that I hadn’t sailed with before in very challenging conditions. It was fantastic to see what all of us could do as a team by pulling together all of our various skills. I burned through a pair of gloves that day. “Mainsheet-Traveller-Backstay” – that was my routine for the day – it was huge buzz”.


Likewise, Charlotte O’Kelly competed on ‘Sneaky B’ and said “I thought it was a great event and got everyone on the water. It was interesting meeting new people and great to see all the dinghy and keelboat sailors mix. Everyone I met made the decision to do something different and bring in new people”.


Rosemary looks back at the first event as being a milestone for her personally too: “I got a lot out of the organisation of the event. It gave me the feeling that I can take on much more responsible roles in sailing, or even in my own work. I think it showed us all our abilities and capabilities. There is absolutely no doubt that organising that event and others has given me the confidence to take on more – one of the results being that I’m now Rear Commodore in the National YC. When you look back and reassess all the people you met [at the event], and who you think are amazing and much more skilled either in sailing or otherwise and you realise that on the day, we all did the same – we all pulled together, we all sailed together and your own self-worth increases – you realise you can do it”.

Description image of Hear from the Women at the Helm

Suzanne McGarry was asked to be Race Officer and agreed to do it because it was innovative, there was a great organising team, and it was a great opportunity to put an event like that together. It showed that there are plenty of female race officials out there and that we’re not afraid to step up to the plate. There was no “sure it will be all right on the day” attitude – nothing was taken for granted and it was run very well. I like that”.


A lasting impression for Suzanne was that “all the people on the committee boat were women bar one. For the participants, it was important for them to see that women were running the event entirely. And this was a national event which has a high level of status and needs a very detailed approach. It’s important for women to get involved in race management and this is changing, and I think part of the reason is because of events like Women at the Helm – women saw women organising and running it and thought “I can do that”.


To register for the 2021 Women at the Helm, 18-19 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 !

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