A crew of eight prominent Hobart women sailors are among 177 competitors from seven states and territories, sailing 26 yachts, who will contest the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta on Melbourne’s Port Phillip this coming long weekend.
Although the only team from ‘across the water’ (New Zealand was a late withdrawal), Colleen Darcy and her crew are confident they can repeat their victory of 2012 in this all-women regatta.
The six-race regatta, based at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, starts on Saturday with a forecast day of fresh weather sailing in 18 knots of breeze, with conditions lightening over the long weekend.
The 26th annual AWKR has attracted 17 Victorian crews, two each from Queensland and New South Wales and one each from Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory, mostly sailing on boats loaned by Victorian yacht owners.
The Tasmanian team is a combined Hobart clubs entry, the Derwent Sailing Squadron, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and Bellerive Yacht Club, with a crew comprising Colleen Darcy, skipper (DSS), Claire Cunningham, tactician/mainsheet (Rear Commodore, RYCT), Lauren Davison, foredeck (BYC), Tammara Potter, pit (DSS), Danielle McKay, trimmer (DSS), Janene Frawley, trimmer (RYCT), Clare Cromarty, mast (Kingston Sailing Club) and Deana Reale, cabin top (DSS).
The fleet ranges from a J24 to a Beneteau 44.7, with race results decided on handicap. The Tasmanian women will sail Absolut, an Archambault 35 owned by Richard Gates from the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria.
“This yacht is one of the most successful yachts currently racing under IRC ratings on Port Phillip,” skipper Colleen Darcy said yesterday. “It is the same design as Archie previously owned in Hobart by Sally Rattle.”
Colleen won the AWKR in 2012 where Lauren Davidson was one of her crew of seven. “We took out the regatta that year, winning IRC, AMS and PHS divisions, sailing a smaller Archambault 31, then called Penfold Audi Sports and owned by David Ellis.
“This is my fourth time competing in the regatta with a Tasmanian crew. The first two years Lauren Davison, Danielle McKay and I sailed with Diane Barkas as skipper.
“Diane’s husband, Roy, has been a great supporter for women’s sailing over the years,” Colleen added.
All the women in the Tasmanian crew are well experienced sailors, locally and in interstate competition and offshore.
Colleen was the first woman to skipper an SB20 sportsboat on the Derwent, Claire Cunningham, who is the Rear Commodore of the RYCT, is an experienced offshore racing crew person, Danielle McKay and Lauren Davison are highly regarded keelboat crew person, Janene Frawley is co-owner of the Mumm 36, Madness, while Clare Cromarty is an active high performance dinghy sailor. Diane Reale races an SB20 and Tammarra Potter is an active keelboat sailor.l
The women have been training on the Mumm 36 Madness, owned by Janene Frawley and Gavin Adamson. “We raced in the first RYCT winter series two weeks ago and finished second over the line and first on handicap,” Colleen added.
Last Sunday, Colleen was back on the helm of an SB20, Big Ted, winning the opening race of the DSS winter series.
8 June 2015