Regatta Entry

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History of AWKR

Sabina Rosser and AWKR Founder Gai Clough

Thirty years ago two female sailors were inspired to create a women’s only regatta after attending the New Zealand Women’s regatta. Their goal was to encourage women to get involved in the sport of sailing. This goal is still very much at the heart of the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta.

The original regatta was held over Melbourne Cup weekend and after four years, was moved to the Queen’s birthday long weekend in June. Over the years, the event has grown to become Australia’s premier women’s regatta and one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. By 2016 we had 26 boats with 168 competitors from every state and territory in Australia and New Zealand.

About the Regatta

The regatta includes two divisions scored across AMS, IRC and PHS and includes class racing. Awards include owner-skipper, best novice helm, most improved, sportsmanship and award for showing particular endeavour during the competition.

While sailing is a sport where men and women compete side by side as equals, the AWKR serves as a vehicle for women to try out new positions, expand existing sailing and leadership skills and become more actively involved in yacht racing.

It is also an occasion to make new friends and have a great time – the feedback we hear time and again!

Check out our latest posts to see what’s happening during the regatta. A BBQ, lecture series or other events around the regatta may be an excellent way to get involved. You can also volunteer with us. If you have any questions, check out our FAQ.

Our home is with the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron.

AWKR

With a 140-year history, Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) is one of the oldest yacht clubs in Victoria with a long list of historical firsts. Situated at St Kilda near the Melbourne central business district, it is regarded as the centre of aquatic events in Victoria.

The St Kilda Sailing Club, formed in 1876, changed its name to St Kilda Yacht Club in 1884 and gained the ‘Royal’ prefix in 1924. The final name changes to the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron occurred in 1961 when amalgamating with the St Kilda 14 Foot Sailing Club.

Most major championships have been held off its shores and the Squadron was the control centre for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic yachting events, as well as the 1999 Laser World Championship. The prestigious ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne event was held at RMYS for the first time in 2015.

The Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta has been run at RMYS since 1990 and is a pioneering event for women’s sailing in Australia and indeed the world. The Squadron also hosts the Jennifer Goldsmith Trophy for female skippers each year, as part of the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series.

Your visit to the Squadron during the Regatta

The Squadron has 250 berths accommodating vessels up to 23 metres. All berths are serviced with power, water, security, lighting, and CCTV. There are also 115 swing moorings located near the Squadron and serviced by tender. RMYS conducts club racing year-round on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Royal Melbourne Sail Training Academy offers keelboat and dinghy training for children and adults, and provides courses in powerboat handling, radio operation, first aid, coastal navigation and more. There are regular cruising events to various points around Port Phillip. The clubhouse facilities are stunning, with beautiful sunset views from the Olympic Bar and Harbour Room, as well as a superb rooftop.

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