SIMPSON BAY--In the traditionally male-dominated world of sailing, winds of change are blowing, and women are setting sail to break barriers and conquer the seas.
The recent sailing regatta held this past weekend showcased the prowess of more skilled female sailors but also underscored the need for greater gender diversity in the sailing community. Women are taking center stage and proving that they are not just passengers but capable captains of their own destinies on the open water. The Caribbean Multihull Challenge regatta that was held last weekend was a great success with sailors from all over the world coming to compete in Sint.Maarten waters. There were around 35 boats who competed from which two stood out with mostly women on board!
Team Island Water World had 12 young female sailors on board during the four day of race rallying, skippered by Berit Bus. As well as Team Fope sailed with women on board of all ages skippered by Garth Steyn together with young female sailor Jordan Pieterse. This weekend’s sailing regatta held in serene conditions showcased the artistry and finesse required to excel in light winds. While sailing is often associated with the thrill of high winds and crashing waves, true mastery of the seas lies in the ability to navigate the subtle dance of a light breeze. In the world of sailing, it is often said that the best sailors emerge not when the winds are howling but when they are barely whispering. Berit Bus, skipper of the IWW Team who participated in the regatta, shared her insights: "Sailing in light winds is an art form. It requires finesse and a connection with the elements. You have to feel the wind, anticipate its shifts, and make subtle adjustments. During the weekend all of us on the team took a turn to steer, call tactics, and practice our sailing knots. I think the girls had a lot of fun just being out there on the water.. But most of all learning new sailing skills!” The call to involve more women in sailing is not just about breaking gender norms; it is about recognizing the untapped potential and talent that women bring to the sport. Sailing clubs and organizations are encouraged to actively promote inclusivity and create environments where women feel welcomed and supported in pursuing their passion for the sea. It's particularly encouraging to hear about the youth sailing program offered by the Sint Maarten Yacht Club. Starting girls in sailing from a younger age not only fosters a love for the sea but also provides them with the skills and confidence needed to pursue sailing as a lifelong passion. Early exposure helps break down barriers and stereotypes, empowering girls to see themselves as capable sailors and contributing members of the sailing community. "Sailing is not just a sport; it's a way of life. It teaches discipline, teamwork, and resilience. Women have as much to offer on the water as men do, and programs or regattas like these help break down the stereotypes that have held us back.”