Over the last year ASW has worked with the National Sailing Academy and the Antigua and Barbuda Sailing Association on a fledgling Women’s Mentorship Programme with the objective of gaining gender equality in the sport of sailing. Of the programme, President of Antigua Sailing Week, Alison Sly-Adams, says, “For year two our focus is simply to introduce as many women as possible to grass-roots sailing in an enjoyable atmosphere. Dinghy sailing is fun, and lessons learned provide a solid foundation for moving onto other vessels. After that it’s up to the individual. If they want to further develop their interest either as recreation, sport or business, through their industry connections our mentors will be able to advise and help with that development.”
Meeting at the National Sailing Academy on Saturday afternoons, women of different ages and mixed abilities, from experienced to newbies, will head onto the water in dinghies with one objective – to have fun. The experience will take place in the safety of Falmouth Harbour with a coach boat in attendance. And, after sailing the team can relax together dockside over an optional sunset drink.
A success in year one was Nerissa Allen who first attended the Try Sail events for Steering the Course held at the National Sailing Academy last May. She signed up on the mentor programme with Elizabeth Jordan as her mentor. Elizabeth quickly worked with Nerissa and encouraged her to complete her Competent Crew Course and her STCW with Ondeck Antigua. As an aircraft engineer working for regional airline LIAT, she expressed an interest in learning about marine engines. She is now completing an internship at for Ondeck assisting with their maintenance programme. Of her experience Nerissa says, “So far, the experience in the marine industry has been very exciting. Every day I learn something new about boats, not just the ability to do maintenance on them but also learning the basic concepts of sailing. I look forward to expanding my knowledge further in the industry”.
Rana-Jamila Lewis, ASW Events and Marketing Manager says, “In the run up to the first Antigua Sailing Week Women’s Race Day which is be held on Thursday, May 5, 2022, organisers will be celebrating women already involved in sailing in Antigua and Barbuda therefore exposing the different opportunities within the sport.” Key roles across the industry are already held by women and yet the grassroots programmes are still not balanced between male and female numbers.
Women on Water starts on Saturday 12th March at 4pm. To register call or whatsapp +1 268 780-1345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.