One for the Women

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Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club
Corona del Mar, CA
February 4, 2006

In 1972, with eighteen months of sailing under her belt, Gail Hine had a monumental task ahead of her when she decided to start a program to teach women to sail. Her determination left her with the creation of WISP (Women’s Instructional Sailing Program). That summer, she ran three seminars, including a beginner, intermediate, and advanced workshops. The daylong sessions caught on, and after twelve years, these mini seminars had doubled in number with a strong local following. The lessons covered everything from the basics of sailing to navigation and racing.

In 1987, Peggy Gregory, a former commodore of the Little Ships of Long Beach, became commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association, which was comprised of over 90 yacht clubs. She decided it was necessary to form a Women’s Sailing Committee. With her experience teaching and long list of contacts from years of running workshops, Gail Hine seemed like the perfect candidate. Hine, who was commodore of the Redondo Beach Yacht Club from 1980 to 1981, proved to be the right choice, and the committee began to design what is now the Women’s Sailing Convention. For the last fourteen years it has been held at the BCYC.The 2006 WSC will again be hosted by the BCYC on February 4th.

The Women’s Sailing Convention is a “something for everyone” event. Its shoreside seminars include a Welcome Aboard lesson for beginners. Seminars on sail trim and Racing Rules 101 appeal to the more intermediate sailors. Workshops on the water last either all morning or all afternoon. The docking seminar covers technical matters such as how to gage speed, how to pick an angle to dock, and how to effectively slow the boat for a flawless landing. Workshops teaching first aid go as far as lessons on how to use an AED (automatic external defibrillator) in order to save the life of someone experiencing cardiac arrest. The sessions are taught by some of Southern California's most accomplished women sailors. Most are Coast Guard approved, and they volunteer their time.

The day concludes with a guest speaker each year. Upon entering the room of women after dinner one year, J.J Isler, an Olympic gold medalist, exclaimed, “This is the most exciting night I’ve seen with women sailors.” This year's speaker is Betsy Crowfoot.

The all-women’s sailing convention concept has spread. In Marblehead, MA, for example, there are similar events taking place at Corinthian Yacht Club. Find more information and register at www.scya.org, or email Gail Hine at hine@scya.org.

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