Queenscliff Cruising Yacht Club launched the second edition of their Keelboat Introduction to Sailing Savvy (KISS) program on Tuesday 16 May. Hosted at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria (RYCV) in Williamstown, the new Class of 2023 registrants came from Warrnambool in the west to Wonthaggi in the east and as far north as Hurstbridge to meet their assigned mentors, boat owners and sister boat crews to embark upon their KISS journey.
And “oh what a night!”
QCYC’s Commodore Lee Renfree, instigator of the KISS program in 2022, welcomed one and all. She outlined the core purpose of KISS to empower women to transition from “passengers” to confident “active participants”, by encouraging women to “Face their Fears” and achieve confidence and skills through power of knowledge and hands on experience and to provide opportunity for personal growth, build camaraderie through teamwork, and encourage stepping up to leadership roles.
RYCV Commodore Tim Olding followed and shared his thoughts -
“I think women in sailing is one of the biggest areas of growth in the sport, particularly keelboats and I think we will see more and more female sailors out on the water. My personal prediction, through my daughter Clare, is she’s now taking over my boat. So on Sunday when I was unfortunately here working at the club, my daughter and my wife were sailing on my boat. I’m not sure it’s working out for me, but it’s working out for them!
So I really encourage you to take this opportunity to learn more about this incredible sport. You have some great mentors around you. You have some great role models as well, so you can take this as far as you want to go as sailors around the bay and across the oceans. Anywhere you want to go, you can do it and the KISS program will show you how to do it.
Good luck with the program, it is a great initiative.”
Again this year, QCYC has partnered with the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (ORCV) to provide the comprehensive introductory KISS program for aspiring female sailors. ORCV Commodore Cyrus Allen spoke of the collaboration and the win-win possibilities for all.
“It is fantastic to see all of you here. Firstly, thanks to Lee for your drive and energy in sustaining the KISS program from last year to this year. It really is a critical plank, if we think about our objectives broadly trying to increase female participation in sailing and if I think about my role in Ocean Racing, to eventually have you come and join us offshore. There is certainly a difference between sailing on the bay and sailing offshore but that’s really just a matter of time, exposure to opportunities to learn and developing your own capabilities.
Now I think what we are seeing here with the KISS program is a fantastic foundation for you to start that journey and take it wherever you wish whether locally or far far away.
One of the ambitions that we have at ORCV is to substantially increase female participation across the board. We are considering this as a feeder program and you will see many of our ocean racing team members here tonight with you, both as mentors on the boats and also as trainers for some of the particular modules that we are delivering. Thank you, welcome to tonight and really, really happy to see you all participating in this program.”
The next segment “Facing Your Fears” featured four graduates from the Class of 2022 KISS program, sharing their relatable honest heartfelt moments and learnings along the way to achieving their new horizons. Their stories had the audience either enraptured or in stitches.
Amidst the funny and heartwarming jovialty, the panelists all individually applauded the program’s strong focus on personal and boat safety which addressed their fears and lifted their confidence levels. Beyond KISS, each of them had voluntarily undertaken the ORCV Sea Survival and Safety training, all describing it as a challenging big step up, “like Everest” but at the end of the day, all agreed a life changing experience which had left an indelible positive confidence and ‘can do’ attitude.
First up, Vicki Bayley from RYCV won the KISS Passage 2022 Radio Operators award and since has become a regular crew member and done her first offshore race -
“I’ve sailed out the Heads! And sailed back in!! And felt the swell and ridden it, and been fully supported by a wonderful balanced crew. I’m a really lucky woman with a sense of achievement.
Thanks to Commodore Lee Renfree for being a huge part of making it possible for me. Without KISS … who knows if this would ever have happened for me.
I’ve been to Paradise !!!”
Fiona Tremaine rocked up to Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC) 18 months ago, went for her first sail in a Twilight race and fell in love with the sport. Signed up for KISS and took out the KISS Passage 2022 Navigator’s award, then at her home club, did the Sassy Sailing Sisters training program winning the Sassy Rally Navigators prize. “Then an ocean cruise to the wild West Coast of Tasmania was breathtaking. Next stop, helming in RGYC Women's Helm Series coming 2nd overall in the first two races followed by winning the RGYC Women on Water regatta co-helming along with Helen Wallace.”
So where to now? “Looking for the next great adventure. The sky’s the limit. I’m off to Europe to find a job on a cruising boat!”
Deborah Christofaro from Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron with a couple of years crewing experience under her belt, signed up for KISS 2022, discovered her love of helming and went out and bought her own boat, AquaMagic, a Seaway Elite 24. Now with the helm firmly in her hands, she is returning for KISS 2023 to further plumb the depths, this time to step up to the responsibilities of boat ownership and being skipper and sailing master.
“I’ve also taken on the roles of Facilitator for the BYS SheSails Working Group and recently that of SheSails Club Representative at BYS.
I am humbled and honoured to be invited to share my experiences of participating in the first KISS course and now sharing my experiences with participants of this year’s course.
What a fabulous journey it has been!”
The final speaker, Marg Goddard with a lifetime experience of “messing around in boats” related her early days in dinghies progressing to trailer sailers and more recently keelboats, with significant DIY involvement in hands-on projects. She joined KISS 2022 as a boat owner providing opportunity for other women to learn aboard and become valuable crew members and is back this year to mentor a new crew. Her reflections on KISS 2022 -
“The KISS program provided the reinforcement of how important thorough preparation is to have a safe and happy sailing experience. Having previously undertaken the ORCV Beyond the Bay program, the oft repeated phase of ‘Failure to prepare is to prepare to fail’ was resonating with me throughout the KISS program.”
And the name of her Northshore 33?
“Twice Five’. I inherited the name with the boat. I like to think 2x5 = Ten. Or two ‘high fives’!”
And what a great way to conclude a truly inspirational evening - “oh what a night!”
You too could be “high fiving” and discovering the joys and opportunities that abound as a confident, competent sailor. Why not give it a go?
Further information about the KISS 2023 program can be found on the QCYC News page and the KISS page. Follow us on QCYC Facebook & Instagram.
Last Modified on 23/05/2023 15:35