A crew of talented Hobart women sailors is heading for Melbourne late next week to compete again teams from all States in the 27th annual Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta on Port Phillip.
Heading the crew is Derwent Sailing Squadron member Colleen Darcey, a past winning regatta skipper contesting her fifth AWKR, as is foredeck hand Lauren Davison.
Many of the women are regular crew/helmspersons in Hobart’s big fleet of SB20 sports boats and will be part of the SB20 world championships on the River Derwent next January.
Tasmanian women, especially skipper Darcey, have an excellent record in the AWKR, Colleen winning the regatta on 2012, winning all three handicap categories with the chartered Archambault 31, Penfold Audi Sports.
Last year Colleen skippered the Archambault 35, Absolut, finishing second overall in the AMS and EHC handicap categories and third in IRC. Owner Richard Games has again made the yacht available to the Hobart crew.
Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron is conducting the AWKR over the long weekend of June 10-12, with crews expected from all States, the visitors sailing yachts generously made available by Victorian yacht owners.
“We are racing with 10 crew this year after last year’s experience, where we found we needed more crew and more strength to manage the boat at its optimum performance,” Colleen said yesterday.
Joining skipper Colleen Darcey will be members of last year’s crew: Claire Cunningham (trimmer), Danielle McKay (trimmer), Mollie Grainger (pit), Tamara Potter (pit), Clare Dabner (mast) and Lauren Davison (foredeck).
Both Darcey and Cunningham (Rear Commodore of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania) are both active helmspersons in SB20 classes.
Newcomers to the crew this year are Clare Brown (tactician), Jo Breen (mainsheet), Lucy Rees (trimmer) and Nicole Lane (pit).
Jo Breen will be competing in next year’s two-handed Melbourne to Osaka race in an all-female crew.
“We have 11 girls coming to Melbourne; Nicole Lane will race on Saturday and then Mollie Grainger will replace Nicole for the Sunday and Monday races,” Colleen explained.
The women have been training this past autumn on the Derwent, racing Magellan, Richard Grant’s winner of the Corinthian Division in last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart, and also Whistler, now owned by David Aplin.
Last Sunday they sailed Whistler to a sixth on corrected time in Division 1 of Bellerive Yacht Club’s opening winter race.
Two races are scheduled each day at the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta to the west of St Kilda breakwater.
Words: Peter Campbell
Photo: Jane Austin
2 June 2017