Sail Away with Me

by | Jan 11, 2007

Danielle Jarvis was the first girl in 12 entries, and 10th of the 34 overall entries, contesting the Dabchick class.The South African Sailing Youth National Championships were sailed at Aeolians and Stilbaai Yacht Clubs at Vaaldam between 12 – 22 December 2006, in a number of classes to cater for all disciplines and age groups.

In sailing there are few events that cater explicitly for girls and they generally sail on equal terms against the boys and acquit themselves very well.

The event started of with the mixed class double-handed championship, which was sailed in very light conditions from 12 to 15 December. Although 15 boats entered, there were no girl skippers.

Between 16 and 22 December the single hinders and catamarans were sailed. The classes that were catered for were: Optimist (under 16), the Dabchick (under 19), and all three Laser sub-classes (i.e.: full rig; radial rig; and the 4,7 rig).

Each of the classes sailed on their own course.  In the catamaran class there were also no girl skippers.

A smaller course was set up for Novice skippers who had not taken part in a Nationals or Provincial championship before. They received coaching both on shore and whilst racing.

On the first three days the wind was moderate to strong for Vaaldam conditions and three races were sailed each day in each class. The third day was a lay day for many skippers whilst the Inter Provincial team racing took place in light conditions.

Danielle Jarvis was the first girl in 12 entries, and 10th of the 34 overall entries, contesting the Dabchick class.Racing again resumed on day five when the Dabchick class sailed their final three races, the Laser class managed two races and had one to go for the last day, while the Optimist also managed three races but had two to go to complete their required 14 races. On the last two days the wind was much lighter and the Northern skippers came to the fore.

In the Optimist class there were 52 entrants, of whom 12 were girls. Five of the top sailors were missing, as they were competing at the Optimist World Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay.  First girl in the fleet went to Rosemary Finn who was placed 10th overall.

In the Dabchick class there were 34 entries, including 12 girls. The first girl, Danielle Jarvis of Western Cape, was 10th overall, while second girl was Jessica Hogg of KZN in 11th overall.

As the Dabchick has a much more powerful sail plan than the Optimist, the lighter girls were at somewhat of a disadvantage in the stronger winds of the first three days, yet they acquitted themselves well under the conditions.

The Laser 4,7 fleet had 11 entries with 3 girls competing. Here Claire Walker of KZN just missed the medals by coming 4th overall. The Laser full rig only had 4 entries, all boys.

In the Radial rig there were 15 entries with only one girl, Phillipa Baer of Eastern Cape. Phillipa has represented South Africa at International events in the past and showed most of the boys how it should be done, by finishing 3rd overall.

In the Optimist Novice fleet with 11 entries there were 6 girls. The first girl and first overall was Cara Stubbs followed by Else Hugo who was second girl and also second overall.

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