Here come the girls!

With the ISAF Equipment Evaluation drawing to a close in Santander, the profile of women multihull sailors has never been higher. The hope is that the new Olympic mixed multihull will draw more women to multihull sailing and boost the number of girls in all the cat fleets. This seems to have been the case at the 2012 F18 European Championships in Gran Canaria, with some fresh faces in the top half of the fleet tussling with the seasoned professionals. Here are some of the new women making their way through the F18 fleet.


What do you like about sailing in the F18 fleet?

Sailing in F18 allows us to sail with an important fleet and with a standing fight between the racers you’re always up against the best. All the boats are really fast so you have to give your best and never give up.

 F18 is a great boat, you always have fun, its an amazing feeling! It’s also a personal challenge to sail with a female crew, there are not a lot of women doing it.

What are your goals in F18?

This year we’d like to participate at the French nationals, and also Eurocat. They are rewarding regattas and we learn a lot every time. Why not the World Championship if the opportunity was presented…

What has been the best thing about sailing in F18?

The best thing in F18 was certainly our 6th race at the Europeans Championships in December in the Canary Islands. We stayed in the top ten until the finish line even though we sailed with the small sails.


What brought you to the F18 fleet?

I started racing at 8 years old and have helmed everything from Optimist through to the 29er. The multihull was something completely different and a new challenge. After my first event I was absolutely hooked.

My home clubs are Ballyholme and Royal Ulster Yacht Club in Northern Ireland and we have a very competitive cat fleet there. It will be fantastic to have the F18 World Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club in 2014.

What are your goals in F18?

My main goal is to just have fun and learn as much as I can. I have a few big events that I’d like to do in the next few years such as Eurocat, Texel and the World Championships in Italy. Hopefully this year I’ll start to helm the F18 a bit more, my first experience helming was a long distance race in 25 knots and it was awesome!

What has been the best thing about sailing in F18?

I love the fact in F18 the club sailors can race against the best sailors in the world such as Darren Bundock, Coen De Koning and Mischa Heemskeerk at the International events. We had Glenn Ashby and James Spithill team up at the Worlds in Erquy so it really is a fleet were you can race and learn from the very best. We’ve worked hard over the last few years and to finish ahead of sailors at the 2012 Europeans, who a year ago we would never have seen on the race course was the best feeling!

MARY ROOK (Great Britain)

What brought you to the F18 fleet?

Well, the Olympic decision that there will be a mixed cat for the next Olympics. I heard that the F18 was good racing and a fun fast boat – great to get some experience of cat sailing in!

What are your goals in F18?

My goals are to learn as much as possible and gain some international cat sailing experience. I haven’t totally decided which events to do yet this season but once they are firmed up I will have some definite goals for them!

What is the best thing about F18?

Cute boys of course! Haha! Not really… I like the speed of F18s and they tack fairly quickly for a cat! and accelerate really well! And I’ve been really enjoying learning about the different tactical elements of cat sailing!


What do you like about sailing in the F 18 fleet?

I like very much the class because it is beautiful and modern. It is a new technologies’ platform – what I mean here is that sailing has centuries of tradition while it uses and experiments with modern technologies – and that’s exactly the multihull. It is also very nice that so many teams participate in the big events – I don’t want to make any comparisons with other classes but more than 80 boats on an event is quite good, isn’t it! Sailing F18 is also very spectacular and extreme – it is the aerobatics in sailing. I am never bored sailing F18 – it is amazing and I am really hooked – I even dream how I sail… I also like very much that it is for sailors of all ages – a unique case in a top-level sport. And, since I am a woman, I like the fact that it is also for men and for women.

What are your goals in F18?

Our goals are to enter the Gold fleet in big F18 events. We would like to improve, to go forward and to make fewer mistakes than we do now. We also would like to get a slot for the Olympic Games in 2016 in Brazil.

What has been the best thing about sailing in F 18?

The best thing is that F18 is the playing field for the best sailors in the world. And those girls and guys welcome questions. They share their experience and are ready to help with everything. For us, it was because of them we were able to take part in the Europeans in Gran Canaria.