Frankly, I’m blown away by the response to the first WOW (Women’s Offshore Week) sailing course that I’m running with Meg of OceanRacers.net! Just a brief announcement on this blog and on social media has resulted in almost filing up not one, but two courses!
By the time I turned up to the Annapolis Boat Show in October, I’d already been getting emails, Facebook and Instagram messages from women who wanted to do the offshore sailing course, and men who wanted to get the women they knew to do the course. Meg and I quickly filled up a busy interview schedule to start chatting to the women who were applying for our week-long offshore sailing course in the Bahamas (January 18-24).
Link with further info and application: http://oceanracers.net/project/wow/
We’re still accepting applications, as we’ve now added a second WOW course going from the Turks and Caicos to the BVIs (January 25 – 31). Which means I’ll be celebrating my birthday on February 1st at the Beach Bar in Nanny Cay, where I plan to keep Brittany (Windtraveler.net) up way past her bedtime. And you’re all welcome to come celebrate with me in the BVI’s. (I’m totally serious — more on that later.)
After a 4-day stream of excited sailors bringing us Painkillers at the Annapolis Boat Show, Meg and I talked ourselves dry, sharing stories of the women we met and the enthusiasm we got from both male and female sailors for a course that focused on women learning to sail. And the more women I interviewed from the incredible roster of applicants who were seeking us out to do this offshore course, the more inspired I got that Meg and I were offering something purposeful, that utilized our unique skills as female skippers, offshore sailors and sailing instructors to bring more women into sailing, and push women to higher levels of sailing.
We are offering the chance for women to sail on their own, independent of their partners, so they can develop confidence in themselves, their skills and their capabilities. Our goal is to bring women on board who want to learn in a different kind of environment than they’ve previously sailed in, and support them in finding their inner badass at sea. That works as a course slogan, doesn’t it? #bringoutyourbadass
I’ll get working on the T-shirts, right away ;-).
So, here’s where we’re at now with the WOW courses: Meg and I are now finalizing our list for Week 1 of the WOW, which is January 18-24 from Nassau, Bahamas, to Turks & Caicos.
Week 2 is still open for Applications! That course is from January 25 – January 31 from Turks & Caicos to the BVIs. Again, for more details, and Meg’s write-up about the course journey/logistics, click here: http://oceanracers.net/project/wow/
Meg is also organizing a course overlap event in the Turks & Caicos on January 24th so that the women just getting off Week 1 can potentially meet up with the women arriving to get on Week 2 sailing out of the Turks & Caicos.
Party attendance is not required, as women may need to leave early, or arrive late. But for those who want to stick around a little later or arrive a little earlier to be in the Turks & Caicos on January 24th for the party, we think this is a great opportunity for this awesome group of badass sailing ladies to meet each other and share their experiences with each other.
You guys, I CANNOT wait for this! I’ve interviewed so many incredible women in the past few weeks who I am so excited will be doing this course with us. I got to talk at length with a female pilot who flies planes with her husband out into the Alaska Wilderness to camp out and rock climb in remote places. I talked with a woman who is the skipper of the boat she owns with her husband, taking out non-sailing friends with her just so she can have crew. She is excited to sail with other women who already know how to sail. Most of the women I talked with have impressive resumes of sailing courses, regattas and bareboat passages, which they’ve done mostly with their male partners, and now they are looking for a way to push themselves out of their comfort zone by doing a longer offshore passage.
We also had to turn down some women for the course, unfortunately, because they had too little experience for this particular course on a high-performance race boat.
All the beginner sailors I interviewed had exactly the right attitude – they were keen to learn and eager to jump in feet first and try an exciting offshore passage to gain experience. And this was exciting for me to realize – that there are a lot of women out there who are new to sailing and already searching for ways to push themselves out of their comfort zones and go on an offshore adventure.
As I told these women on the phone, I am working on offering similar courses designed for women with less experience sailing, but want to go on a longer passage and learn in an all-female environment. I am already working on setting up an offshore course in Mexico on a cruising boat for women who are newer to sailing but want the experience of learning on a longer passage in beautiful setting. And I’m working on updating my website so that I can advertise my services to those looking for a female captain or sailing instructor for their own bespoke purposes.
More on that soon, as well, so stay tuned on this blog! And if you want to receive these posts in your Inbox, so you don’t miss any other sailing course opportunities, just subscribe to Turf to Surf here by entering your email address.
Women Who Dare
I don’t know about you, but I am a voracious consumer of podcasts. Whenever I’m driving in my car, doing chores around the house, or outside walking or running, I’m often ingesting all kinds of stories to occupy my mind.
And my favorite podcast to listen to lately is called Women Who Dare. Great name, right?
This podcast is recorded and produced by a badass woman named Kerry Gross, who interviews adventurous, inspirational women about their achievements as she cycles across the United States. Yes, you read that correctly – she is simultaneously biking across the country and producing this podcast.
One of my favorite episodes is a long interview with Beth Leonard, who sailed around the world with her husband, choosing to sail some extremely challenging routes.
Beth says of the beginning of her trip: “When we left Newport, people were saying how brave I was, how brave Evans was. And I will tell you that we were ignorant, not brave…”
She eloquently captures the extreme ups and downs of life at sea, saying, “There are horrible days. And there are days when you do not know why you’re doing it. And you really would rather be anywhere else including sitting in a traffic jam on the parkway. But if you don’t get through those days, you don’t get the days where you feel like, you know ‘I just accomplished something that most people only dream of and might have the opportunity to realize.’ And that is hard to explain how spectacular that feels and how it makes up for those horrible awful days when you just wish you were somewhere else.”
If you’re like me, and you love stories of epic physical and emotional journeys, I think you’ll enjoy this interview on iTunes, or wherever else you get your podcasts, or you can find it on Kerry’s site here:
Maiden: The Movie
As for visual inspiration, if you haven’t yet seen the film Maiden, about Tracy Edwards, the skipper of the first all-female sailing team to finish the Whitbread Round the World Race, that is a must-watch.
Outside Magazine published this great interview with Tracy Edwards here:
My #badass Co-Skipper, Meg
And if you want some inspiration a little closer to home, you have to watch this incredible documentary about my co-skipper Meg (and her co-skipper Morgen) leading a crew in sailing the treacherous Middlesea Race.
It’s called Surviving the Middle and you can watch it here:
A plus for the ladies doing our WOW courses in January: you can see for yourselves what s/v Hermes is capable of, and you can get a little taste of what it’s like to live on board the boat for a long passage, since we’ll be doing that in the warm waters of the Bahamas and the Caribbean!