By Rebekah Thornton
An inspiring group of women from all walks of life have teamed up to compete in the 2023 McConaghy 38 (MC38) competition, making waves as the first all-women’s team to challenge in the class.
Known for its speed and close competition, the MC38 is a high-performance yacht racing class. Lead by Katie Spithill, the team is proving that they are competitors to watch, having won their first race this weekend aboard Leap after only sailing together for the first time in November 2022.
“The opportunity to compete together came to us through Christian and Rachel Beck offering us the use of their spare boat. We jumped into the Nationals in November which was our first time sailing them as a team and meeting some of the crew,” began Spithill.
“The aim of our first regatta in November was to show we had potential to continue, and we exceeded that expectation from everybody. Now that we know how good we can be following our race win over the weekend, our plan is to be as competitive as we possibly can.”
With so many supportive of their endeavour (including fellow boats Ginger and Hooligan who have personally lent sails), there is no doubt that the team will continue to accomplish their goals, especially with so many incredible sailors on board.
“We’ve got a really strong team and we’ve got so much interest that we’re actually running a bit of a squad program. We’ve got between 15-18 women who all want to be involved but sometimes are elsewhere – Mara Stransky and Nina Curtis are just two of those,” said Spithill.
“There’s so many amazing female sailors in Australia, yet many of them don’t really get the chance to take the key roles, so the great thing about this is that everyone has the opportunity.”
Fellow core teammate and trimmer Stacey Jackson says that while they’re representing female sailors out on the water, that’s not all that they’d like people to see.
“Yes we are a full team of females, but we want to be seen out on the racetrack as just competitors and fellow sailors,” said Jackson.
“At the moment people say ‘oh look, there’s the all-girls team’, but soon they’ll be saying ‘oh look, there’s the team that won the Nationals’. That’s our ultimate goal”.
The second act of the 2023 MC38 Season was held at Middle Harbour Yacht Club over the weekend and concluded after an intense five races that saw Women Racing Aus aboard Leap finish in fourth place overall, their best overall result to date.
To stay up to date with Women Racing AUS and their season in the 2023 MC38 competition, follow them on Instagram at @WomenRacingAUS.
The women who competed on Leap earlier this month:
Ashleigh Swaddling (SAT)
Emma Coral Roberts (SUN)