AWKR set to sail

Organisers at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) will welcome the 30th Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (AWKR), which will be held on the Queen’s Birthday weekend.

Photography by Bruno Cocozza

31 May 2022


Following cancelation in 2020 and 2021, the 30th Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta (AWKR) will take place from 10 to 13 June 2022.

“It’s going to be a lot quieter this year, but still fun,” explained AWKR Committee Chairwoman and competitor, Kristen Buckland.

“After two years of lockdown in Australia, many of the boats we would normally use have been sold or haven’t yet been prepared for the season ahead. It presents us with a challenge, as several boats are normally loaned to the teams.”

Despite the restrictions Australia-wide, teams will be ultra-competitive, as most states have run their own women’s events in the lead-up.

Teams entered from interstate this year, including returnee Fiona McManus from the Northern Territory with her S80 Mood Indigo, South Australian Janet Thorley will race the 11 Metre One-Design Balancing Act 2, Claire Heenan from NSW with the Adams 10 Jungle Juice and Tasmanian Jo Breen with the Beneteau 34.7 Spartan.


“I’m really looking forward to going up for it this year,” Breen said.

“In the lead-up, we’re training on my Young 88, which I’ve raced double-handed in two events. I have an all-Derwent Sailing Squadron team this year. The Club’s Sailing Manager, Collen Darcy and Rear-Commodore, Heather McCullum are with me.

“The Squadron is making the effort to encourage women into senior roles within the Club.”

Victorian skippers keen to hit the racetrack include regulars Monica Jones with the J70 Sequel and Clare Olding at the helm of Vertigo, a Summit 35. Joining them are Robyn Ragauskas steering the Bull 9000 Bullet and Catherine North, skipper of the X 362 Sport Duxelle.

The female sailors, who are by and large competitive in sailing in a variety of classes, will race a wide range of boats at AWKR. The event is scored under AMS, IRC and EHC categories, AMS being the predominant class.

In addition to the various winners’ trophies, there are prizes for Novice Helm; Most Improved Over the Series; Sportsmanship; Rohan Brownlee Leadership and Endeavour Award and Best Performed Owner/Skipper.

In its 30th running, the AWKR will receive ongoing support from long-term competitor and sponsor Rebecca Badenoch and her firm Culshaw Miller Badenoch Lawyers, from Doyle Sails and Musto.

Past RMYS commodore and former entrant, Gai Clough, founded the AWKR. Sadly, Gai passed away in December 2020 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She is sadly missed and will be remembered during the event.

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