Women at the helm of new sailing program in Sag Harbor

A new initiative coming to the Breakwater Sailing Center this summer will offer classes and lessons for female sailors of all skill levels, with the goal of bringing more women into sailboats.

The Breakwater Sailing Center, aka the Breakwater Yacht Club, in Sag Harbor will host an open house on Tuesday to showcase a women’s sailing initiative and new programs for the summer.

“Historically, women are pretty much underrepresented as adult sailors,” said Joan Butler, sailor, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife and member of Breakwater.

His compatriot Sara Nightingale, who owns the eponymous art gallery in Sag Harbor, agreed wholeheartedly. “When women get on boats with men, they just don’t give us credit. It’s like life – women have to be twice as good to get respect,” she said.

Sarah Alford, software designer and writer, and experienced browser, explained in more detail. “Boats are expected to require more brute force. But boats are physics, and physics is brain activity. So, yes, there are limits to the human body, but in terms of understanding operation of a boat, men and women are equally capable of knowing how to manage it,” said Ms. Alford, who has sailed from Maine to Mexico, Greece, Monaco and the Caribbean. a wonderful way to travel,” she said.

But it was yet another friend and sailor – Darr Reilly – who sparked the idea of ​​introducing a dedicated, women-friendly sailing program at Breakwater. Plus, she thought it would be a great way to “have some outdoor fun on the water with vivacious and adventurous women, young and old, skilled and beginners, while cruising our local waters within the community of our local public yacht club, Breakwater,” she wrote in an email.

Ms Reilly said the response to her idea had been overwhelming, so she then steered it through Ms Nightingale, who in turn brought the idea back to her clan of female sailors. No one needed convincing.

“Sara, Joan and Sarah have worked their magic,” wrote Ms Reilly, who is in her 60s and co-founder of the Carbon Crew Project and Drawdown East End, two climate change organisations. “And the rest is history. Or, really, his story!”

According to a recent article in Sailing World magazine, adult female sailors are perpetually neglected as part of a crew, rarely expected to contribute more than just providing the right weight for human ballast, and have limited opportunities to develop skills for other jobs on a sailboat. This, according to the article, had the effect of reinforcing “the misperception of the limited roles of women in the boat”.

Ms Alford hopes this initiative will attract more women to Breakwater and get them sailing, whether as a team to run or just to cruise around the harbour. All women agreed that this will provide a great opportunity for women to connect and enjoy kinship and companionship in a supportive environment.

“It’s really a chance for women to navigate with other women. Coming together as a group and not having the men mansplaining,” Ms Nightingale explained, before adding, “And we also want to support Breakwater. C “It’s a non-profit and really great organization. The goal is really to make accessible and affordable this sport that has always been the business of super rich white men,” she said.

Tuesday’s free information session will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Sailors of all levels will be able to meet and learn about the initiative which aims to develop the skills and esprit de corps of female sailors. Clinics for beginners and intermediate women will begin in June, with more programs planned for the summer. You do not need to be a Breakwater member to enroll in the program.

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