June was Greece, Portugal, Spain, the island of Madeira, and Holland yet again… Sailing with some rather different sets of people, and doing quite a variety of things now that I look back!
What looked like a rather relaxed month, ended up being completely hectic, with things just popping up again and again! It started with a phone call from Jez Fanstone, who used to be the NZ Olympic sailing manager, to say I really should come to Athens, to sail on an X-40 called Ellinixx, with a very cool guy Nick that he used to sail with back in the day. I didn’t really have much else on, and so off I went, I spent 6 days sailing from Athens to Andros (an island), doing some day sailing, then sailing back. The crew on the boat were just brilliant, and I had an awesome time… It was especially nice to spend some time hanging out with Jez, and actually sailing with him, it was like being reunited with an uncle you haven’t seen for ages but really like 🙂
From there I managed to get a spot on the delivery of a VO65 (VOR yacht) through the Magenta Project to sail from Lisbon to Alicante as part of an initiative to give a few ladies the opportunity to learn the boat, and get some miles. So off to Alicante we went, bashing through the straight of Gibraltar in 30-40 knots, upwind. Lovely. It was a great experience, and I have never seen so many dolphins in one trip!
Luckily this all aligned with the one activity I actually had planned for June, which was also with Magenta, helping run the corporate sailing on the M32 catamarans for the VOR Stakeholder Conference. And, bonus! Actually get a week of work! We had an awesome bunch of girls, and I got to meet and stay with Liz Shaw from Canada (although I like to say she’s American now), who was tons of fun 🙂 It was basically taking mostly non sailors for joy rides, which was actually very entertaining, as it only takes about 4 knots of wind before you can fly a hull and get the boat to at least feeling like its flying.
From there a last minute diversion to Madeira, a little island off Portugal that I had first been to 14 years prior as my first ISAF Youth World Championships – now thats back in the day! I was there with Magenta yet again, as they had got hold of a GC32 (large foiling catamaran), to use for some training and then the Madeira stop of the Extreme Sailing Series. I could only be there for a few days, most of which was spent doing boat work, learning how to service winches among other things, as I had to get back to Holland to sit my RYA Yachtsmaster exam. Which I did eventually pass!
To finish off the month, an email conversation with Bouwe from Team Brunel eventuating in them giving me the opportunity to come and trial in Lisbon in mid July!
The highlight looking back at a month like this is always the people, one thing this crazy year has given me the opportunity to do, especially through Magenta, to get to know some brilliant women from all over the world. At one stag in Madeira we had 9 people, 8 nationalities and a bunch of medals 🙂 Pretty special. To be able to share the ups and downs of being a female sailor in what is a pretty male dominated sport, we don’t bitch and moan about it, we just support each other, share our experiences, and try and come up with new ways to open doors for the young women coming through today. Because that’s what it is all about.