Ca­reer break

Yachting World - - Practical -

Women un­der­tak­ing pro­fes­sional train­ing as part of a ca­reer break is also a growth area. Women only sail­ing oper­a­tor Girls for Sail re­ports that its pro­fes­sional cour­ses are par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar with women re­train­ing. “We’ve started to get three or four women a year who are tak­ing a ca­reer break and say­ing ‘I want to do some­thing for me, I want to change my life’,” says Karen Har­ris of Girls for Sail. “They feel that by com­ing to us they are talk­ing to women who have al­ready done it.”

Five-times round the world rac­ing sailor Dee Caf­fari went from work­ing as a PE teacher to the Volvo Ocean Race thanks to her ca­reer break. Caf­fari ini­tially trained as a wa­ter­sports in­struc­tor at UKSA be­fore com­pet­ing the Pro Crew and Skip­per course (now the equiv­a­lent of men have, and they tend to in­ter­act far bet­ter with the own­ers. Some of our fe­male for­mer Cadets have made very im­pres­sive progress.”

Susie Goodall pre­vi­ously worked on both mo­tor and sail­ing su­pery­achts and says women deck crew ex­pect to be in the mi­nor­ity. “Not once did I ever work with an­other fe­male on deck, al­though all the in­te­rior apart from the chef were fe­male,” she re­calls. “It is very lad­dish on deck, and you just be­come part of that. I think they al­ways try and tone it down, but if there were more of a 50:50 mix on deck it would be dif­fer­ent.” Pro­fes­sional Yacht­mas­ter). She launched the Women into Sail­ing ini­tia­tive in Cowes, say­ing: “We are mas­sively the mi­nor­ity. Peo­ple’s per­cep­tions are chang­ing, but it’s such a slow process. Things like the Ma­genta Project are great at the elite level, but you need some­one push­ing at grass roots level, so the fact that UKSA is recog­nis­ing this gap is huge.

“From afar it looks like a very male dom­i­nated sport, but in sail­ing, when you’re on the same boat, the same water, the same weather, it just doesn’t mat­ter. What’s im­por­tant is that we show women the op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Above: Dee Caf­fari is a for­mer UKSA student, who qual­i­fied as a wa­ter­sports in­struc­tor be­fore mov­ing into yacht­ing and pro­fes­sional ocean rac­ing

Above: Fe­male skip­pers with ad­di­tional skills, such as rac­ing and coach­ing, are highly sought af­ter

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