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A Reader Responds

The level of female participation in the sport has grown exponentially over just the past few years. Has there been much male-backlash?

Male backlash - exactly what is that? Is it a glorified kind of self flagellation? Frankly, it seems to me that the traditional sexist overtones that have characterized sailing in the past are fading. Women are certainly starting to be recognized for the job they can do, and the skills they have. And socially…..I really can't picture an après sailing party with a bunch of guys dancing by/with themselves.

The female numbers are definitely up in lots of areas: high school and collegiate sailing; big boat stuff like PHRF, IMS, class OD and handicap racing; and there seems to be an increased interest by women in women only events as well. It is good to see. It certainly seems that more women are sailing and are doing well - not only in crewing roles but as drivers as well. There are more of opportunities out there than ever before, but there is still a long way to go before we see real equity across the board.   more...



The "traditional sexist overtones" won't fade when there is a dominating “boy’s club” feel writen in sailing related information and news. For instance, an article “The Port Huron Yacht Club - PH100 / Put-in-Bay Race Week,” cites: “Gentleman, The West Marine Annual I-LYA Bay Week Regatta... Don Bartels, Race Chairman” Although addressing just “Gentleman” is subtle, it is a constant reminder that some members of this sport look at sailing as a man’s arena. This kind of “boy’s club” atmosphere in this day and age is truly ironic, especially when Ellen McArthur recently became the fastest sailor to make it around the world solo (as stated in another article “Solo Against the Sea”). I get a little frustrated sometimes, especially when it comes to one of my loves: sailing.  Erica.

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In response to Ericka...Yes, old traditions die hard. But, everyone should know that I-LYA, which was formed in 1885 and serves 140 Member Clubs in the USA and Canada, has a woman as their Commodore. Heidie Riddle, PC of Vermilion Boat Club, and Past Winner of the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, skippers a Tarten Ten with a compliment of mostly women crew. Deb5/21/2005 7:57:03 AM
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