LANGKAWI, 14 January. – “This is the best team ever,” says skipper Liz Schoch, of her crew on board Farrgo Ladies With Dad.
The 14th Royal Langkawi International Regatta is the first time this all-girl crew is sailing together although some of them have sailed separately in other competitions and on other boats.
Schoch used to sail on Phoenix, which is now in the IRC-2 Class with Farrgo Ladies with Dad.
Having always sailed as the only girl on board, Schoch jumped at the chance to “man” her own boat. So when “Dad” and boat owner Paul Baker offered her the boat and the chance to choose her own crew, she decided it had to be all women.
“There are so many women out there who want to sail but when they get on the boat with the men, they don’t get a chance to do very much. Our boat gives women the opportunity they want and wouldn’t get on other boats,” says Schoch.
Although sailing here with a crew of seven, Schoch has a pool of 20 to choose from, many of whom are sailor’s wives. “Yeah, that’s our most enthusiastic market,” says Schoch.
Unlike most situations where a group of women in one small space could result in catastrophe, this all-girl crew seemed to have worked out the mechanics of not only racing but keeping the peace. Each girl is given the chance to view her opinion or share her experience when planning for the race. Roles are also rotated so that each gets a chance to learn while on board.
Louise Griffin says, “It’s a new team, a new regatta and it’ll be a learning curve for all of us but we help each other. It just takes some patience.”
While the regatta style of racing may be new to some of her crew mates, Tina Miller has participated in the King’s Cup, Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta and in races around New Zealand but this will also be her first time in the RLIR.
“We’re learning to come together as a team. Every skipper has a different way of doing things but in this team we share our thoughts and figure out the best options together,” says Miller.
As a seasoned sailor, Miller believes that one of the main challenges about sailing in Langkawi is the heat. “We have to manage fatigue and hydration to keep our energy levels up. The winds are very light to medium generally but there seem to be air pockets with sudden varying ranges of wind speed and that will be challenging,” says Miller.