Women at the Helm, organised by Irish Sailing encourages women of all ages to get active and involved in sailing.

We were lucky enough to be at the event and witness some of the best that sailing has to offer. The event took place this weekend at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire with over 50 boats and 200 people getting out on the water. Women at the Helm brought together sailors of every skill level to compete, from Olympic hopefuls to RNLI crew members and many complete beginners.

What is Women at the Helm?

Keelboat Sailing

“This is the one event of the year when the women’s changing rooms are busier than the men’s,” said Aoife Hopkins, 2024 Olympic hopeful at the event yesterday. Women at the Helm is an Irish Sailing event that encourages women of all ages and abilities to take the helm of the boat. The aim of this event is to empower women in the sailing community and also encourage people to get into the sport. Crews were encouraged to include as many women as possible and had to make sure that there were no more than 50% of men on board. Women at the Helm is leading the way in supporting women in the sport in every aspect. It gives women in the sport an annual goal and competition where they are at the forefront.

Attending the Event

Ladies of the Kite Team

We were lucky enough to attend the amazing event where we chatted to some sailors and also headed out on the water for a closer look at the ins and outs of keelboat racing. Many of the women involved spoke about how amazing this event has been for increasing female participation in the sport.

The atmosphere was electric before, during, and after the event. The comradery and craic on display were second to none with everyone sharing stories about the fun-filled day and how great the event was. Just experiencing the atmosphere at events like this is enough to convince you to join a sailing club and get out on the water. One of our journalists was so inspired by the day’s events that he made plans to head out with a group of beginners he met on the day in the coming weeks. One of our biggest takeaways from the event was just how friendly and welcoming the sailing community are.

The overall winner of the race was Ladies of the Kite, an under-25s team that was helmed by 2024 Olympic hopeful Aoife Hopkins.

How can I get involved in sailing in Ireland?

Nowadays, getting involved in sailing is easier than you think. Irish Sailing runs a website, Try Sailing, which offers so much information on how you can get involved. The website details all the ways that you can give sailing a try without having to commit to a club until you fall in love with the sport. There are so many beginner courses to choose from including powerboat, dinghy, and even yacht lessons.

By Killian Andersen

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