Aug 8, 2019
After a many years hiatus the Women’s Annual Regatta (WAR) returned to the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club with full force. Over the course of three days, twelve boats crewed by forty women raced on the waters of Hamilton Harbour in a weekend full of laughter, friendly competition and camaraderie.
The regatta started off with a day of coaching and practice races on Friday, July 19. Head coach Tom Nelson and his team of Keven Piper, James Talmage and Dave Crompton spent the day running drills and providing one-on-one coaching to each boat. Crews may have gotten damp when a sudden squall rolled in cutting the day short, but spirits remained high!
Bring a Shark. Borrow a Shark.
Racing took place over Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21. CRO Irene McNeill and her race committee ran eight flawless races. Drastic wind shifts kept the race committee on their toes as they had to make a course change during nearly every race – in true Hamilton fashion. Saturday night was lively at RHYC with The Real McBrowns playing on the patio as crews swapped stories and coaches provided tips and feedback.
Sunday’s awards ceremony had the RHYC patio packed and the energy nearly palpable. In the end Gladiator, with helm Linda Galea and her crew Heather Crompton and Amanda Duggan, took home a well-earned trophy. These ladies also took home the spirit award for being the loudest and most enthusiastic crew! The laughter continued as awards were given out for everything from the Best Attempt at a Port Start to Rookie Sailor to DFL (that’s Damn Fine Ladies). The momentum and enthusiasm did not waiver and continued right through to the end of the regatta.
WAR was envisioned as a chance to encourage women step up into the roles they so often sit back from; to support women in sailing, to draw more women into racing and to provide a supportive environment in which women could grow their skills. All of these goals were achieved to an even greater extent than we ever hoped for. One woman helmed in a regatta for the very first time, while another stepped onto a boat for the second time ever to do foredeck. Most crews had never raced together and many of skippers were new to helming. The learning curves were steep and invaluable – the race committee commented on how start lines improved from the first race (where every boat was at least 10 seconds late) to the last race (where we had our first OCS of the regatta!).
In the end the enthusiasm and support for the event from the entire sailing community was inspiring and every woman left with renewed confidence, new and strengthened bonds and countless memories. A huge thank-you goes out to every one of our dedicated volunteers, our incredible sponsors, RHYC for hosting, every Shark owner who lent a crew their boat and every one of our competitors for making this a truly memorable regatta!
We are proud to announce that KN Crowder has generously stepped up as title sponsor for WAR 2020. Stayed tuned, as the WAR will be back, bigger and even better next year!
– Jayme Paterson