Val Hodge Trophy leads off Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series 2017

by Rosie Colahan

The Nouannie gang go racing_ credit Alex McKinnon
The Nouannie gang go racing_ credit Alex McKinnon
Val Hodge Trophy PHS winners 2016 - Bluebird Blue Volvo
Val Hodge Trophy PHS winners 2016 - Bluebird Blue Volvo

Click here for Sailing Instructions 

Bring it on! The first race of the fifth edition of the Port Phillip Women’s Championship Series (PPWCS) hits the water this Sunday 19 February with the Val Hodge Trophy Race hosted by Royal Yacht Club of Victoria (RYCV).

As the youngest of the five component events of the PPWCS, the establishment of the Val Hodge Trophy was stimulated by the creation of the PPWCS in 2013 to provide an annual female helm ‘Lady Skippers’ race to recognise the skills of the RYCV female keelboat sailors.

And in the first year of PPWCS, the Royals girls came out and swept the bay for the honours with Lennie Beattie at the helm of Noelex 25 Footloose winning IRC and Cath Beaufort steering Nouannie to victory in AMS and PHS to take out the title of Overall Champion.

Cath had been handed the helm of the 30 foot Scampi design Nouannie owned by Tanya Stanford for the series. At the AWKR PPWCS Synergy Launch last week, Tanya commented - ‘Handing over the helm to a crew member to compete and go on to win the 2013 series, far outweighed any joy I may have had as the winning helm. It is very rewarding as a boat owner to be able to provide these opportunities.’

Cath came back for the 2014 series, on board Archambault 35 Absolut sharing the helm with Jane Hutton and this time nailed the missing IRC crown from her previous year’s achievements.

So how did Cath become involved in sailing?

‘I started sailing after completing a voyage on the Young Endeavour and realised I love being on the water. Since then the highlights of my sailing have been as crew of a divisional winner in the Sydney to Hobart and crew of a winning boat in AWKR. An international highlight has been travelling to Sweden as part of an all women's crew to sail on a Scampi in the Round Gotland race, an annual offshore sailing race in the Baltic Sea with around 300 boats participating.

What is it about sailing that keeps Cath coming back?

‘Working as part of a crew to get the boat sailing well, is what I love about sailing, particularly on a warm, sunny day with 10-15 knots. It's fantastic to see people get a passion for sailing and help them to learn.’

Cath’s advice about how to progress your sailing…

‘For anyone wanting to get into sailing, get some advice to find a good boat to sail on, with a supportive crew and then show up regularly to sail.’ 

So here is your chance. PPWCS provides the opportunity for female sailors of all abilities to jump on board and take up the helm or learn other new skills amongst mixed crews with on board mentors. And at the end of the race, bring your boat owner, mentors and crew back to the host club for a celebratory luncheon and ’commune’ with other female sailors.

Participation in the recently launched Women’s Keelboat Training program will also give you serious traction and a winning edge over your competitors so check out the schedule.

Cath has obviously ordered the weather for this Sunday’s Val Hodge Trophy, with current forecast SW 10-15 knots! Racing will commence at 1300hrs in Hobson’s Bay. VHF radio channel 69 with late lunch back at RYCV. Full Sailing Instructions will be available via the link on the Women & Girls in Sailing website PPWCS 2017 webpage under 2017 Dates.

This year also sees Class Trophies for one design keelboats bringing five or more boats to the event.  The S80 Association has got in with an early start with committing many of their local fleet to be available for women planning on entering the AWKR in June, to take advantage of the racing offered by PPWCS to get race ready. 

Entry to PPWCS is even easier now with a central entry point. To view the Notice of Series and Online Entry click here and put in your entry. You have to be in it, to win it!




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