WYRNZ Forms All-Female Team to Compete in Coastal Classic

The WYRNZ Team Challenge, an all-female entry in the Coastal Classic, is the culmination of a campaign led by WYRNZ (Womens Yacht Racing New Zealand) to tempt Class Associations and yacht owners to come forward with yachts to facilitate the formation of all-female teams for the race. 
Team at Launch
Left to right: Jacqui Perillo, Katie Northfield, Andrew Pardington, Cherry Maclvor, Helen Henshaw
Andrew Pardington, owner of the Ross 930, The Entertainer, which won the Coastal Classic on handicap in its division last year, has offered his yacht on behalf of his two young daughters. The race’s new title sponsor, PIC Insurance Brokers, has lent their support by providing a generous insurance package to Andrew in honour of his donation. In so doing, PIC spokesman, Daniel Garner, acknowledged the importance of the race historically to women yacht racers and said PIC’s move to kick start the WYRNZ Team Challenge is “in the Spirit of the Coastal.” WYRNZ announced their all-female entry at PIC’s Race Launch held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on Friday 23 August.

Team members include four of the five members of an all-female team who raced as Team Patiko in the Stewart 34 National Championships, the first all-female entry in 50 years of the class’ history. Facing a large fleet of all-male and mixed crews, they managed to get 3rd on Line and 1st on Handicap in the non-spinnaker fleet, and were subsequently awarded a trophy for the Most Improved Team. Skipper Cherry Maclvor holds a Yacht Skipper’s ticket and has logged many ocean miles. Crew members Helen Henshaw and Jacqui Perillo are both yacht owners in their own right. And Trimmer Katie Northfield has crewed on a previously Coastal Classic bid. When no Stewart 34 became available, WYRNZ picked up the team for its WYRNZ Team Challenge. Two spaces on the team remain to be filled and WYRNZ encourages interested yacht racing women with at least some experience to contact WYRNZ at info@wyrnz.org.nz.

WYRNZ is actively seeking additional financial partners to help with its administering of the all-female WYRNZ Team Challenge and asks that you contact them at info@wyrnz.org.nz to discuss mutually beneficial arrangements. Mexicali Fresh Restaurants are already on board as the team’s Provisioning Partner.

Women’s Yacht Racing New Zealand was announced in June of this year to foster opportunities for female yacht racing across New Zealand/Aotearoa. By sponsoring the all-female WYRNZ Team Challenge, it hopes to raise the visibility of women’s yacht racing and draw attention to the challenges women yacht racers face. Access to yachts and sponsorship funds will enable women to gain more experience in senior roles such as skippering and race yacht handling.

Members of the public may access more information about the WYRNZ Team Challenge through its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/womensyachtracingnewzealand) and PIC Insurance Brokers Coastal Classic social media sites.