Friday, April 29, 2005

"Never in my life before have I experienced such beauty, and fear at the same time. Ten icebergs so far today ..." - Ellen MacArthur

When I was in high school (a long time ago) I departed an all male situation for a more “enlightened” education at a co-ed institution. The details of my personal history are irrelevant but the feeling that shift gave me isn’t – despite the fact that women tend to vex me I enjoy their company more often than not. So it is that I can say with conviction that the ever growing presence of woman in sailing today is a welcome trend generally. For a female perspective on that check out this interview with Betsy Alison on Anarchy. In answer to a question concerning “male backlash” she says rather adroitly, “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.” Amen Betsy, it's not a pretty sight. But in all seriousness, I’ve been offshore, around the cans and out for booze cruises with woman aboard and, true to form, they’re sociable, level-headed (mostly), tactical-minded, team-spirited…and to boot smell better than any deck ape. And many of them are damn good sailors (think Tracy Edwards, Dawn Riley, Lisa Charles and the indomitable Ellen MacArthur). It’s hard to imagine that our nautical forefathers spit sideways and muttered darkly about voodoo curses when women were aboard. Of course they doled out rations of rum to supposedly calm unruly crew as well so there's really no telling... Gentlemen, do yourselves a favor and click through the shots on Scuttlebutt from the Collegiate Women's Pacific Coast Championships. It’s a truly inspiring group of photos.

No comments: