The girls are out there again! Radiating fun and enthusiasm, they have been learning rapidly since they started FireFly sailing about six months ago. Competing against other FireFly teams, many already sailing for years, the girls are challenged to integrate newly learned skills, all within the boundaries of good seamanship, keeping boat and crew safe.
“It’s empowering to sail with women only. Taking chances and making mistakes is sometimes necessary to learn. We keep the atmosphere fun and supportive; there’s no shouting or cursing on our boat,” says Ozzie skipper Liz Schoch who has been sailing around Phuket and SE Asian seas for several years.
An avid regatta sailor, Liz also competed with an all girls’ team in the 2012 China Cup and in this year’s Phang Nga Bay Regatta with encouraging results.
On the helm is Libby Boyd from the UK, a dinghy sailor since the age of 11. She is a qualified dinghy instructor, certified Yacht Master and Cruising Instructor, teaching courses up to day skipper. Libby would like to see the Lady Sevenstar team inspiring other women, young and old, to follow suit. “Sailing can be a lot of fun and racing together is a great experience! “
Trimmer Meike Lange from Germany joins most Sunday morning practices of the team and graduated from recreational novice to seasoned racing bow woman in the Phang Nga Bay and ACYC regattas. “Fireflys are great boats for learning to sail and racing gave us all a boost of confidence. Even if we might not win races against veteran FireFly crews yet, we will do our best.”
Newbie Jo Rowley works the dagger boards. She hails from London and had been sailing just once on a FireFly during one of Lady Sevenstar’s open days in May. She did sail for a week in Scotland but that was back in 2009. A master swimmer who has never been seasick in her life, Jo gets butterflies in her stomach while racing and is super enthusiastic about the sport and her first ever regatta.
Dutch mast woman Lies Sol is not as much focused on the results as on racing well and keeping it fun at the same time. “We’ve made a lot of progress in the past months and enjoy testing in this Raceweek what we are capable of. We’re already looking ahead to possibly joining the Phuket King’s Cup with the Lady Sevenstar team this year and even the China Cup in 2014, provided we can find more financial support for our team.”
Lady Sevenstar girls Liz, Meike and Lies also sailed on Mamba crewing for skipper George Eddings and his mate Simon a week before the CPH Phuket Raceweek during the ACYC Multihull regatta from 11–14 July.
Lady Sevenstar is on Facebook: Lady Sevenstar Sailing Team Phuket
In Photo (l) from left: Meike Lange, Jo Rowley, Liz Schoch, Chris Jongerius, Lies Sol, Libby Boyd