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24 Enjoy East Down Yacht Club Ladies Cruise in Company

29th June 2023
The Ladies Cruise in Company  with (right back) Keith Carr, Commodore, EDYC and right front, Margie Crawford, Event organiser
The Ladies Cruise in Company with (right back) Keith Carr, Commodore, EDYC and right front, Margie Crawford, Event organiser

If you could bottle the energy, enthusiasm and excitement of the 24 ladies who took advantage of East Down Yacht Club’s day set aside for women to learn how to handle a big boat, then a fortune is to be made.

Ferrying out to the moorings for theFerrying out to the moorings for the East Down Yacht Club Ladies Cruise in Company

On last Sunday (25th), with its unpredictable weather, ladies from the club, some visitors, and some women who had never sailed before took to the waters of Strangford Lough on a Cruise in Company. The club is fortunate to lie on a sheltered passage between Island Taggart and the west coast of the Lough.

The Impala Mypaal ladies crewThe Impala Mypaal ladies crew

Through driving rain, glorious sunshine and finally huge thunderclouds, the Cruise in Company, on eight boats of varying sizes, had an exciting day’s sailing in winds of up to 20 knots before easing down to three knots and a gentle reach home. Fortunately, all boats were back on their moorings before a huge thunderstorm with lightning surged overhead.

Each boat had the owner on board and the ladies took turns to helm, crew and practice their radio skills in communication. There was a range of sailing experience on each boat, from complete beginners to those used to cruising and racing. The enthusiasm and willingness to ‘have a go’ was very apparent, and there was an overwhelmingly positive response when a repeat performance was suggested. It is hoped that this may then become an annual event.

The Impala Alcyone crew Rachel Bevan, Karen McGough & Noella Hampton with owner Peter ThompsonThe Impala Alcyone crew Rachel Bevan, Karen McGough & Noella Hampton with owner Peter Thompson

Keith Carr, EDYC Commodore, was delighted that the event was such a success.” It was great to see so many ladies arrive at the club on Sunday morning, keen to get out on the water. The weather was inclement, with gusty winds and rain, but it didn’t dampen the experienced or new sailors’ enthusiasm. After a very enjoyable sail with the sunshine breaking through in time to enable lunch on board, everyone, including the cruiser skippers and crew had had a great day out. When asked if the event should be run again, there was a resounding “YES”, a great testament to the effort and organisation by club members”.

Pamela Wood helming the Nicholson 43 Magdalyene.jpgPamela Wood helming the Nicholson 43 Magdalyene

And RYA Northern Ireland commented, “A big shout out to the EDYC committee and volunteer team for supporting women and girls on the water”. And Margie Crawford, who organised the event said, “I had tremendous help from two EDYC ladies – Gina Lyttle, the club Sailing Captain and Han Stolcova. Great ladies’ teamwork!”

These women may be interested in a Webinar hosted by RYA Northern Ireland on 26th July featuring its Women and Girls Survey Results. RYANI strongly recommends this webinar to those who wish to create an impactful change for women and girls within the sport of sailing, your local club, understanding barriers, challenges, and what steps to take next to create a more inclusive environment. To sign up, use the Eventbrite link on the RYA Northern Ireland Facebook page.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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