The top of the pack, the pick of the stack, fair winds, and smiling faces filled into Alameda Marina as Island Yacht Club's 26th annual Women's Sailing Seminar got underway. In anticipation, IYC volunteers were in the club house at 6:00am cooking home-made foods, putting last minute touches on the venue, and preparing for registering the 78 female participants. Meeting the supporting owners, was a pleasure in itself. Can you imagine what it must be like to hand-over your vessel to someone unknown? It was a luxury to have the opportunity to discuss the idiosyncrasies of each vessel, and in so doing, move confidently into two days of on the water, women-only, instruction.
For some, this first hands-on experience in a supportive environment gave them the "Peter Pan syndrom"; they entered a whole new world full of endless possibilities. Appetites were wetted, and as each took a turn at the helm directing her crew to tack and jibe, each person found she was stronger and more powerful than she initially thought. Others, with a bit more experience, started the day with specific goals in mind. Tara shares, "There is something really sweet about having other women as role models in our lives. You really lit me up around leaping into this next era of my life with joy. On the water is a place I feel so in myself and open."
How do you fit all these women in one cockpit and give each the opportunity to sail the boat? I've never been so grateful for my education background! Practicing a "station" rotation gave each person the opportunity to observe a woman working a position and then rotate into filling that position herself. Port jib sheet, helm, starboard jib sheet, main, and 360 degree observation built skill, confidence, and comradeship. We were a finely tuned team tacking up the channel and then tacking back down to practice controlling a jibe. "I wanted to thank you again for a fun and informative day on the water and in class yesterday as a part of the Women’s Sailing Seminar," wrote Tracey. Marilyn adds, "I do think that the volunteers who gave of their time, expertise and boats to enable the Women’s Sailing Seminar to be offered deserve a “boatload” of thanks for putting together a varied and challenging program."
On day two, participants split into two main on the water groups: sailing in San Fransisco Bay and participating in a regatta. Of course, we were all competitive, even those who had never before sailed were at the helm doing their best to time a start and round close to the marks. How did we place? We all won of course! What did it really matter. We were out there sailing, harnessing Mother Nature's forces, skippering a boat, and commanding our crew. We are women; strong, sensitive, supportive, and courages. Willing to confront our fears, take command, and sail into the unknown. What a fabulous event!!