The ADF Sailing Association (ADFSA) held its third SheSails Discover Sailing Day in Canberra on February 6.
CAPTION: Flight Lieutenant Joy Clarke, right, takes part in the SheSails Discover Sailing Day run by the ADF Sailing Association in Canberra. Photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Jacqueline Forrester.
Thirty-two female Defence members were thrown in the deep end when they took to Lake Burley Griffin for a two-hour practical sailing lesson after a morning theory session at the Canberra Yacht Club.
SheSails is an Australian Sailing Initiative designed to recognise women who have contributed to the sport, and to encourage women of all ages to try sailing through organised activities at local sailing clubs.
ADFSA President Wing Commander Sean Ahern, who ran the Canberra event, said sailing activities such as these were important.
“Sailing can be daunting, but what we are trying to do is make it easier for beginners to get out on the water,” Wing Commander Ahern said.
One of the participants, Lieutenant Lotte Buijs, a dental officer from Kuttabul Health Centre, said she had always wanted to get into sailing.
“This event was a really great opportunity and a very welcoming environment,” Lieutenant Buijs said.
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld attended the event’s barbecue lunch and praised the ADFSA for its great work facilitating the day.
“It’s really good for people to experience the spectrum of what sailing offers: excitement, fear, challenge, reward. It’s great,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.
Air Marshal Hupfeld said the female-focused event provided “an environment that’s comfortable for learning, where members can be surrounded by like-minded individuals”.
Wing Commander Ahern said the good thing about sailing was that it was not gender-specific.
“Anyone can come out and have a sail; you’re all equal on the water,” he said.
The ADFSA will hold SheSails Discover Sailing events in Brisbane and Sydney and run the ADF Sailing Carnival in Sydney in March.