J/70's make for tough competition in the Women's Sportsboat Regatta

J/70's make for tough competition in the Women's Sportsboat Regatta

The 2024 Women’s Sportsboat Regatta was recently hosted by Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron in Victoria. The event drew eight entries, including local contenders from Blairgowrie and around Port Philip Bay as well as two teams from New South Wales. Teams competed in the ever-growing J/70 class

The event aimed to provide more opportunities for women in sailing and further grow female participation in the sport. Competitors engaged in sprint-series-style racing in the provided J/70's with on-water umpiring.

Sailors were treated to a glamour weekend of racing. Teams were allocated to flights, four teams to a flight and there were three races per flight each taking about 20 minutes. At the end of each flight teams and boats were swapped.


Saturday saw a total of four flights, and 12 races in challenging conditions with a long day on the water in order to complete all the racing.

After the first day, Blairgowrie’s own Laura Harding sat on top of the rankings by just one point, with the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron team skippered by Sara Ladd in second place.

Fresh off a fifth place in the 49erFX World Championship last week, Harding returned home and jumped straight into the J70 alongside friends Philippa Danks, Hannah Danks, Sally Danks and Kate Richardson.


Sunday morning sailors were back on the water for a 9:30am start. Two additional flights were sailed and now the top five teams contested the final series of four races. 

Laura Harding’s team clinched the title with Sara Ladd, Karyn Gojnich, Pia Hattersley, Vanessa Dudley and Alex Murray representing RSYS finishing second.  Third was a combined Royal Brighton Yacht Club & Sandringham Yacht Club team - Team Lithium with Sara Loyd, Narelle Kudnig, Sally Derham, Fiona Cowel, Emma Warner and Charley McCarthy.  RSYS’s Sophie Hunt, Rhian Hughes, Natasha Miller and Danielle Gerace finished 4th overall.

After the racing Rhian Hughes said “it was a great experience - we all loved sailing the J/70 and the quality of competition and our trim, hoists and drops got better throughout the regatta as well as our weight distribution (forward!!). We will be back again next year!’ 

Results: https://sailingresults.net/?ID=81778

Story courtesy of J/70Australia.org

Photo credit Andrew Lee