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Inspiring Sailors To Come Together On Dublin Bay For Pathfinder Women At The Helm

1st July 2019
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Alison Clarke sailing the 8m classic yacht Falcon, back in her days with Fairlie Yachts in Hamble Alison Clarke sailing the 8m classic yacht Falcon, back in her days with Fairlie Yachts in Hamble

Whitbread Race competitor Angela Heath will join regular Dublin Bay helms Jean Mitton and Alison Clarke among the inspiring and influential Irish women taking part in the first Pathfinder Women at the Helm event next month.

This new event “encourages women to embrace a role of leadership on the water, and set an example for future female sailors so that helming becomes the norm”. Registration is open HERE.

Despite boys and girls competing against each other in single-handed dinghies, it’s still uncommon to see women leading their own crew, says Irish Sailing. Yet there are many strong women quietly pursuing their passion for sailing.

Among them is Jean Mitton of the Royal St George, who when she started out was often the only woman on a crew outside of family outings.

Jean Mitton 1339Jean Mitton (second from left) on board the family 31.7 Photo: Afloat

“Facing challenges while on the boat has given me the full sailing experience and made me confident in my ability to be at the helm,” says the now 12-year veteran.

CrI Cri 3430Alison Clarke (left) onboard the Quarter Tonner CrI Cri Photo: Afloat

It’s a feeling shared by Alison Clarke, who will be helming the boat she regularly crews — Paul Colton’s Cri Cri — in the event over the weekend of Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August at the National Yacht Club.

“Sailing has taught me things about leadership that you can’t learn in a classroom or from a textbook,” she says.

Both Jean and Alison surely took inspiration from the likes of Angela Heath, who was part of the pioneering all-woman crew of Tracy Edwards’ Maiden. And now they will have the opportunity to test their skills against Angela as she helms the Beneteau 31.7 Crazy Horse.

Crazy horse 1211The Beneteau 31.7 Crazy Horse with Angela Heath in white top, second from right Photo: Afloat

Angela will also be taking part in a Q&A following a screening on Friday 16 August (National Yacht Club, 6.30pm) of the documentary Maiden, which charts the highs and lows of Edwards and crew in the 1989 edition of the world’s most challenging round-the-world sailing race.

Published in ISA
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