Women Who Sail!

Sail! ... 70% of the World is Water!

Today we find more women who sail either to cruise or race; sailing was mainly a male domain until this last decade.  Our motivations are varied, and we fall into many different categories.

Just a Social Affair:

Some women who sail are happy for it to be social affair.  They catch a ride on a yacht when they can and often take part in the fun races run by local yacht clubs.

They often have a regular yacht they sail on and get to know what is expected by the skipper and how the boat handles.  They may even have their own sailing 'jobs' they feel comfortable with.  This is a great way to 'test the waters' and see if you'd like to learn to sail. 

Sailing with Partners:

Cruising women with partners, coastal or blue water adventuring for different lengths of time; a lot of them living aboard and when not at sea most can be found at marinas working to fill up the kitty so they can head out again. 

There are times when the female party is a reluctant sailor doing it more so he can fulfil his dream

Solo Women Who Sail:

There's women yacht owners some sail solo over differing periods of time.  Why?

Often they love the solitude! Sometimes they have not found the right sailing partner! And believe me it really is better solo than with the wrong crew!

If you would like to meet single sailors around the world, .....not a lonely hearts club but a meeting place for single sailing folks – or wannabes to swap stories, photo’s and fantastic destinations there are websites and forums you can go to!

The Elite Women Sailors:

Then there are the elite women who sail....the heroes ... the solo circumnavigators and off shore racers!!

  • Kay Cottee an Australian... the 1st women to circumnavigate the world solo, non stop and unassisted was my inspiration in getting ‘into’ sailing. Read her book .... Wow I have more than once or twice!
  • Ellen MacArthur:  The fastest women on the planet! her catch cry is ‘you can do it!’ she gives even cruising women who sail goose bumps, she is so amazing!!
  • Jessica Watson:   The youngest female to sail solo around the world ... 16 years old ... She had a dream!! Yes she had a mishap involving a container ship initially... but that did not stop her ... she fulfilled her dream!  Well done Jessica!
  • Dee CaffariAn inspirational and record breaking British round the world yachtswomen.  Dee Cafferi, 35, in 2006 became the first women to circumnavigate the world the ‘wrong way,’ East to West, against the prevailing wind and tide. The voyage took 178 days.

Others that Inspire: 

  • Hilary Lister  By 2005 she made history becoming the first quadriplegic to sail solo across the English Channel.  In 2009 she sailed into the record books on her solo sail round Britain.  She not only battled the elements but also exhaustion and the severe limitations of her body. "If you multiply that sense of freedom a thousand times, that's how I feel. I leave behind my wheelchair, a team of carers and suddenly it's just me."  She inspires women who sail.
  • Jeanne Socrates at the age of 70 years became the oldest women to sail nonstop, unassisted and single handed around the world!  A wonderful accomplishment for this retired math’s teacher aboard her 11 meter yacht Nereida the voyage took her 259 days!
  • Ann Gash:   Who was always an adventurous woman and did not start sailing until she was 45 years old. She learnt coastal and celestial navigation as well as seamanship to handle her yacht Ilimo a 7.3m wooden Folkboat. 
    In 1975 at 65 years old, and a grandmother she set sail out of Pittwater on an around the world voyage in a tiny sail boat. Known as the “Sailing Granny” she returned two and a half years later to a hero’s welcome.

  • Mary Harper: The oldest person to sail 1,700 miles across the Atlantic ocean alone in a 30ft yacht.  And yes, a woman called Mary a 79 years old great-grandmother; and when in her 80’s she still sailed singlehanded in her own boat to foreign ports!

Other Women’s Experiences:

Women who sail are all so different and yet so many have the same challenges, you can learn from their experiences!

  • Debbie Whiteaker:   A woman's agonizing decision...to go cruising with her husband or significant other or to stay in her nest where she can be available to her children, grandchildren, or elderly parents. "Letting go and taking that big step on board that boat and shoving off for ports unknown is so hard!" 
  • Helen Mackenzie:  "I am a reluctant sailor ….there are a surprising number of reluctant sailors.   Most, like me, would prefer never to set foot on a boat but, driven by the need to see their sailing-mad partners on at least one weekend out of twenty, occasionally venture out onto the water.  My husband is a sailing fanatic which is why we have to have rules."
  • Trish Lambert:  "If you are a Baby Boomer like me, chances are you grew up in a household in which you get a good education, get a good job, and (because I'm a female) get a good husband.   "Good" had a material element to it-do well financially, buy a house in the upscale suburbs, and keep moving up the social-material ladder. I don’t know that I ever quite bought into the script. I thought that I did. Got the degree, got the job, got into debt from trying to get too much stuff too soon.  So it takes courage to go cruising." 
  • Janet Welsh :   “I solo sail a Snapdragon 21 and live on her almost half the year. I bought her in 2012 for £2,000, and in 2014 sailed her round the coast to the Isle of Wight, exploring and visiting most places on the way from quiet creeks to St Katherine's dock in central London.   Last year I sailed her from Poole to Cherbourg and around the English Channel Islands, and back via some fabulous French harbours. Being bilge keeled, we (me and the boat) can go into the tiny places and enjoy drying out on beaches and oh well, in mud.   My dream is to get round to the Med one day, no rush, perhaps to Greece. I have just turned sixty and wish I had thought of this year’s ago, all those wasted years... Roll on spring!”  (Pictures below Janet and her yacht!)

Some Women Sailors I Know!

  • Jo Cameron Sailing to exotic destinations is a dream that can sometimes turn into a nightmare.... Jo faced hers in the form of a shark attack! 
  • Carmen WalkerHer story will tug at your heart strings ... A brave lady who decided to continue to follow her dream of sailing after the loss of her husband, in the appropriately named sailing catamaran ... Dream Weaver! 

What About You?

If you are thinking of taking up this life of adventure, .......... maybe you’ve met one of the thousands of single male yacht owners and would like to learn more about the cruising life style!

Learn from the experiences of women who sail and have been in the same situation, the good the bad and the really funny!

We all have different stories; would you like to know how I started out on this amazing journey?

We come from every corner of the world.  And the world has some amazing waters to sail, whether you charter a yacht or sail there yourself and a guarantee of some life changing adventures... learn more on this site!!

Be inspired by women who sail ....... the cruisers and the racers!  And if you’re inspired like I was, then the next step is you have to explore how you can learn to sail!  But maybe you are already there then compare experiences or tell your story!

Sailors and all who crave adventure are a unique breed they know that a marina is the gateway to the world, ...  a yacht a holiday home at any exotic landfall.

The wind and the power of your dreams can blow you to wherever your heart desires, ... so set your sails and live your dream!


Click on the images below to hear the stories of some women sailors...

    Carmen's Story             Jo & Shark Attack              My Story


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