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SYC Womens' Racing Team 2022

Meet the SYC Womens' Racing Team

Read about our newly founded team - the introductions below are ordered from left to right in the photo.

Amanda 

I started sailing in November 2013 to support my eldest son (then 24) when he was diagnosed with PTSD after surviving a fatal helicopter crash in the North Sea three months earlier. I spent many enjoyable days that winter falling out of a Pico whilst he was whizzing around on a laser. Since then, I’ve amassed a fleet of dinghies and frequently find myself sitting on the top of an upturned boat! In January 2018 I began sailing yachts down in Falmouth and in the last few years have covered over 3,000 miles cruising between Chatham, the Scilies and France. One of the things on my ‘to do’ list is to sail around the UK (in a yacht, not a dinghy!). I can often be found playing in ribs and on personal watercrafts (jet skis) and since becoming an instructor sometimes even get paid for doing this. I’ve had great fun dinghy racing and considered yacht racing, but it doesn’t really appeal so I started looking around for somewhere to learn to sail a keelboat. That’s when I discovered Sussex Yacht Club and all that it has to offer. I got to know Julie-ann and Oyuna at the Thursday evening ‘pay and play’ sessions and met Lauren and Melanie when we were all at Cowes Week sailing the SYC Sonars. Whilst at Cowes we talked about setting up a Women’s Racing Team and thanks to the generous support of Sussex Yacht Club that is now a reality. I’m very excited by the challenge of improving my sailing skills as part of a team focusing on a big goal at Cowes Week 2022, but also passionate about enabling women of all ages and abilities to participate in sailing/boating.

Julie-ann

Since joining Sussex Yacht Club early this year, I completed my level one RYA course where I met Amanda the first member of the team. I’ve sailed as often as I could with the scheme ‘pay and play’ where I gained more experience, then meeting the second member of our team Oyuna. Later in the year we were all presented with an opportunity to enter the Cowes Regatta. The experience was exhilarating and a whole lot of fun. There I met the rest of the team Lauren and Melanie. Before we knew it the SYC Women’s Race Team was formed. With the support from our coaches Kevin, Ian, Will and the members of the SYC we have a great chance on our ambitions to be 5th in the Sonar white fleet regatta 2022.

Lauren 

I initially started sailing in 2004 having been on the water since early childhood on the family power boat. I purchased a dinghy and joined Sussex Yacht Club in order to launch it, and learn how to sail it. I took part in Sailability days and events and experienced my first race on a Sonar. I started regularly sailing on a yacht doing a mixture of racing, rallying and cruising and continued this on after purchasing my own boat. I have taken part in Round the Island race, The Royal Escape race, local club racing and on the Sonar at Cowes week with differing crews over the years. I have sailed in Europe and the Caribbean, and have mentored new sailors both on club yachts, and on an overseas charity sailing trip/rally. I am looking forward to the challenge of sailing with a small group of focused sailors with big targets.

Melanie 

I started sailing approximately 20 years ago and only did the sailing course as I wanted my then young two boys to sail and can’t say that I really enjoyed it. As time went on though I learnt to love sailing and have since been lucky enough to sail in many different places and on a number of different boats. I am predominantly a laser dinghy sailor but also have had various amazing experiences on yachts including racing on a classic Carriacou sloop in Grenada and doing the Fastnet on a 40ft Elan. I am a fully qualified British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter and my work and sailing has managed, on many an occasion, to combine and it was back in 2002 that I first brought a group of Deaf people for a taster sailing session at Sussex Yacht Club. From that taster session an amazing project was born which entailed SYC setting up bespoke RYA Level 1 and 2 Sailing Courses for Deaf People provided in BSL by either Deaf instructors or interpreted and Deaf people travelled from all over Britain to Southwick to take part. I was the interpreter and also a SYC assistant instructor. We were also fortunate to take part in Cowes Week in the Sonars which gave Deaf people the opportunity to experience racing at Cowes. We did this for a number of years but stopped about 8 years ago and I had not been on a sonar until this year when I went over to Cowes. It was there I met up with Lauren, who I have known for a number of years and was introduced to Julie-ann, Amanda and Oyuna and from there the SYC Women’s Team was born. We are all passionate about sailing but even more so have the common dream to promote female sailing and show that women of various ages and with varying experience can work together to achieve a common goal.

Oyuna 

I started sailing in the Spring of 2021 because together with my husband we wanted to try a new hobby. We were looking for an outdoor activity and found the SYC Keelboat training. We joined the club and completed Level 1 and 2 training, we enjoyed the experience so much, we found ourselves sailing every week, sometimes few times a week. Over the summer, we built our experience through Sonar Evening Sail Pay&Play sessions, crewing for SYC members on their yachts, participating at Cowes Week and the SYC racing events. It was great to meet fellow lady sailors and form a team with the support from the club, such a fantastic experience already. I am looking forward to growing my skills and more sailing and racing with SYC Women’s Racing Team.