For the last 35 years I have sailed, cruised and raced sailboats and windsurfers from Antigua to Massachusetts and many places in between. And lately I have seen a growing trend which we hope continues, more and more women are sailing either by themselves, as part of an all-female crew or as captains of their own family sailboats … which is awesome!
For many years sailing was mainly a male-dominated sport especially here in the Spanish Caribbean. Today, no matter where you cruise or race, you will find more women under sail. Just read any online newspaper or sailing magazine and you will see countless stories about women racing or sailing around the world alone, or winning regattas in very competitive events such as the St Maarten Heineken Regatta and Antigua Sailing Week.
Here in Puerto Rico many women have excelled in competitive sailing in boats ranging from Optimists to Hobie Cats and from daysailers to large racer/cruisers and even windsurfers. Some names that come to mind are Rosarito Martinez, Dorian Goldberg, Carla Malatrasi, Natalia Olivero, and Jolliam Berrios to name a few.
The latest all female crews showdown in Puerto Rico was at the 2010 Bob Fisher Cup held in Fajardo back in October where two teams battled it out in the Ladies Class.
The first crew raced on their family's Pearson Flyer Poco a Poco and won the class with a perfect score. The crew consisted of Maricela Rodriguez on the helm, Sandra Rodriguez as trimmer and Sandra's daughters, Jennifer and Alexsandra, as crew. When not sailing, or beating all-male crews around the race course, they work in various fields ranging from healthcare management to computer programming to full-time students. Go ladies!
Racing on her recently purchased, Henderson-designed Hunter 216, Little Tranquilein, Margarita Ruiz, with her '2010 Just Ladies Crew', all with matching outfits, tried their best to keep up with Poco a Poco. Even though they could not match the Rodriguez sisters boat speed that was not enough to lower their spirits and enthusiasm all throughout the weekend.
Little Tranquilein's crew members were Margarita Ruiz, on the helm, Itziar Colón, Zuleika Groennou, and Maritere Rovira. Their diverse backgrounds range from bankers to chemists to architects, but all were united by the common bond of competitive sailing.
We hope to see a lot more of the Poco a Poco and Little Tranquilein crews in future regattas along with many more female crews just because, like Margarita said to her crew: "Chicas, amigas, gracias por compartir esta experiencia conmigo la pasamos super!" – Girls, friends, thanks for sharing this experience with me it was awesome.
Ladies, it is never late to get started in this awesome lifestyle/sport/art form … the problem is you may get hooked for life! See you on the water.
Capt. Tony Miró is a life-long sailor, photographer and web developer who currently lives in Puerto Rico with his family, where they sail aboard their Hunter 376 Â¡Nada Mas! He runs sailboatspecs.com, caribesailingadventures.com and tonymiro.com