Parkstone Yacht Club Ladies Day – Organized and Run by the Magenta Project

Watch out traditional ladies days, the high heels and questionable dress codes of Ascot, Cheltenham and Goodwood, and all of the Yacht Club coffee and tea sessions called ‘ladies days,’ The Magenta project has rewritten the rules. Annie Lush and her team at the Magenta project are using their experiences on the Olympic circuit, Volvo Ocean Race, M32 World Match race series and GC32 Extreme Series to prove that ladies are not just supporting men sailing, but doing it themselves, so no excuses for the Parkstone Yacht Club ‘ladies.’ For many years, the Club, under the cheerful guidance and enthusiasm of member Nigel Pearce, has had a large group of ladies racing and training in a variety of single handed boats from Picos to Lasers. Annie, a Parkstone member, organized a highly acclaimed and enjoyable day introducing 31 women and 8 youth sailors to keelboat sailing. The local J/24 fleet kindly lent eight boats with their owners, and Kate Macgregor (London 2012 Olympian and Team Magenta match racer) and Abby Ehler (twice a Volvo Ocean Race sailor and Magenta project director) joined Annie as on-the-water coaches. The day started with a dockside introduction to the J/24, and as the new teams motored out in bright sun and zero wind, the Magenta Magic started with a warm southerly gently increasing through the day. Learning to tack and gybe (encouraged by coaches and owners) was quickly followed by various drills, with the crews rotating positions, and ended with a pre-lunch race. The Club hosted a lunch whilst the Magenta girls entertained the children, relieving the fathers of baby-sitting duties for a while, with tales of racing and sailing. The girls were joined by two-time Paralympic medalist Alex Rickman. Top job was being medal monitor as Alex kindly let the children hold her medals, guaranteeing some disbelief in various Poole schools show-and-tell sessions. Lunch was followed by Saturday J racing, and the new crews volunteered to join the owners and some of their team for the race. The wind increased to a strong breeze as the rain lurked over the Purbeck hills, but the race officer shortened the course just in time so the Js were safely back in the marina before the skies opened. The happy teams returned to the Club house for a Magenta tea party and prizegiving. Thanks to the owners, the Club’s super supportive Commodore Bryan Drake, Roam photography, and Spinnaker Watches, Musto and Team SCA for great prizes. A women’s team has already formed to race next year on the J/24 Zaphod, and another team is keen to use one of Parkstone’s three Club-owned J/24s for evening racing. The J/24 Class has a great resource of good new crew, and everyone enjoyed the teamwork and new skills (no shouting, no tears, just huge smiles). Well done Magenta! You have to come back and make this an annual event. (Written by an anonymous J/24 owner.) Event images are at

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