This morning I read about an all-girl crew competing in the Sydney-Hobart yacht race in December. This one of the tough racing classics and there is certainly nothing idle about taking part.
I have odd feelings about women and sailing, specifically yacht racing (being one who has done it on and off over the last 25 years). For years women in sailing have been fighting to be recognised alongside men, but now that there are far more girls and women taking part (I don't know any actual statistics, but anyone in sailing will vouch for it), I keep hearing about 'women only' events, all-girl crews etc. and it makes me feel rather uncomfortable.
Apart from the fact that I can't think of anything worse that spending extended periods of time with just women, what are they trying to prove? Any intelligent person knows that women are as capable as men at some things, better than them at some things, and not as good as them at some things. On a boat this might mean that where women lack brawn, we may be better at multi tasking eg. with 5 bits of rope to pull at the same time, or noticing something that's about to go wrong. We're different, it's evolution, get used to it. Personally I would much rather sail on a mixed crew.
Why, after all the years of seeking equality in yacht racing, do women go out on their own and make a big deal of it? I can just imagine the uproar if somebody decided to hold a 'men only' sailing event....!! An acquaintance of mine organises a women only regatta, and nothing would make me take part in it. I admire her for the hard work that goes into it etc., it's just the whole 'women only' thing that goes against the grain for me.
So, going back to this All-Girl Crew (that's what they imaginatively call themselves), they are doing the race all in the good cause of ovarian cancer awareness which is fine. But I really wish they hadn't used the words 'sisterhood' and 'unbreakable bond' on their website. It made me feel a bit ick, to be honest. And don't even ask my opinion on the front page picture.