Sailors to step out­side com­fort zone at Air­lie Beach Race Week

Whitsunday Times - - ON THE WATER -

A TEAM of nine women will step out­side their com­fort zones when they con­test the Vi­sion Sur­veys 25th an­nual Air­lie Beach Race Week from Au­gust 8-15.

Schouten Pas­sage’s skip­per Jan Howard has en­tered the New­cas­tle Cruis­ing Yacht Club boat in the IRC Cruis­ing di­vi­sion of this year’s cel­e­bra­tory event.

The crew of the Ben­teau 40.7 all have ex­ten­sive off­shore ex­pe­ri­ence with about 39 Syd­neyHo­bart yacht races be­tween them. Nonethe­less, re­gatta rac­ing is a new dis­ci­pline for this team.

Howard also knows the team will face fierce com­pe­ti­tion in their re­spec­tive di­vi­sion as they bat­tle the wind­ward-lee­ward cour­ses and pas­sage races.

As a re­sult, the team is par­tic­i­pat­ing in an in­ten­sive train­ing pro­gram in the lead up to race week.

Hav­ing an all-women crew is a pas­sion for Howard and her friend Mary Hol­ley.

To­gether these women have de­vel­oped an in­for­mal women’s men­tor­ing and train­ing pro­gram at their home club, tak­ing women out on their boats and teach­ing them the ba­sics of sail­ing.

“Mary hung up her Syd­ney-Ho­bart boots last year af­ter 16 Ho­bart races. Since she and I are not go­ing to do Syd­ney-Ho­barts any­more we wanted to do some­thing at our lo­cal club level to try and en­cour­age more women into sail­ing,” Howard said.

The Schouten Pas­sage crew, which has an aver­age age of mid-50’s, is made up of Jane Wood­ward, Anika Gon­i­nan, Jan Howard, Sa- rah Howard, Mary Hol­ley, Sharon Lovell, Kris An­der­son, Tracey Han­son and Mau­reen Rae.

On the side­lines for the re­gatta will be Howard’s most staunch sup­porter and hus­band Rob. The ex­pe­ri­enced helms­man is now look­ing for a po­si­tion on an IRC rac­ing boat.

The No­tice of Race and on­line en­try for this year’s nine di­vi­sions can be found at www.air­lier­ace­week.com.au.

GIRL POWER: The Schouten Pas­sage crew, which has an aver­age age of mid-50’s, is made up of Jane Wood­ward, Anika Gon­i­nan, Jan Howard, Sarah Howard, Mary Hol­ley, Sharon Lovell, Kris An­der­son, Tracey Han­son, Mau­reen Rae. Photo by Liam Fau­dree

CON­TENDER: Schouten Pas­sage will be con­tend­ing the Vi­sion Sur­veys 25th an­nual Air­lie Beach Race Week from Au­gust 8-15.

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