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Stars of AFLW, Netball and more set sail with SheSails

To celebrate the start of summer Australian Sailing extended a special invitation to the crew from Play Like a Girl to a SheSails ‘Discover Sailing’ experience. The call was answered with five powerhouse women from different sporting backgrounds jumping on the offer to experience sailing for the very first time.

The group consisted of:

  • Sharni Norder (née Layton) – Australian Diamonds Netball and Collingwood AFLW Player
  • Holly Bailey –VFLW Player, Netballer and Founder of Play like a Girl
  • Taryne Fletcher – Boxer, singer and owner of clothing apparel brand
  • Gemma Keogh – sporting all-rounder currently involved in Bodyfit, Zumba, Pilates
  • Alysha Isaacs – has played in basketball and football, currently studying sports media

Play Like a Girl founder Holly explained “we want to get more girls involved in the sport or at least give them an experience of what it’s like. And we put that out to our members and a bunch of girls jumped at it. So today we’re here with a bunch of different athletes from a variety of sports to try sailing for the first time. So, I’m really excited”.

Melbourne turned on great weather as the group gathered at Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron in St Kilda ready to learn the ropes and discover the fun, fitness and freedom sailing has to offer.

After a safety briefing and some theory, the group was ready to venture out and learn on water setting sail in beautiful Port Phillip Bay.

Sharni shared “I’m really excited to try sailing. Obviously, there’s the dangers of falling in the water and not wanting to get too wet, which may or may not happen. But I just love new experiences and new sports. How often do you get to come to St Kilda, get out in a boat or even just get out in the bay, learn something new and you get to mix with other people”.

Working as a team they found their feet and quickly established the roles of the crew and how to work and adjust the sail to the wind conditions. After an intensive hour and in true SheSails spirit Holly, Sharni, Taryn, Alysha and Gemma were all keen to put their new skills to the test taking part in the local Twilight Sailing race.

The winds and waves continued to build and challenge the first-time sailors but not enough to wipe the smiles off their faces and stop the fun and singing that could be heard and enjoyed by all passing vessels.

As the sun set the crew returned to shore to enjoy the hospitality back at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron who had some well-deserved hot chips waiting for the hungry Play Like a Girl sailors.

Back at the club Taryne provided insights into her first taste of sailing “My first experience was amazing. It was nothing like I expected. It was so much more, which was great. Really good to be with the girls out on the water. I definitely would recommend this experience to others. It put me out of my comfort zone. I was super nervous that I’d get seasick however I was that busy with hands on work in pulling ropes and whatnot, putting sails up I didn’t even think about it. So yeah, I’m really glad that I did it”.

Like the Play Like a Girl crew, make this summer the one to Discover what Sailing has to offer! It is a great social sport with no experience necessary and options for all ages and abilities. Find out more about Discover Sailing courses and experiences by clicking here or to find your local sailing club please click here.

SheSails is Australian Sailing’s female participation brand designed to encourage women of all ages and abilities to enjoy sailing through organised activities at their local club.