With over 10 square meters of sail area, a notoriously low boom, and requiring the helm to trapeze, the Contender is a challenging dinghy to sail – even more so for youth and women, who tend to fall outside the ideal helm weight of 190 lbs. But that didn’t stop over eight women, from four different countries, from racing in this year’s Contender Worlds, in Sonderborg, Denmark. It was the most women the fleet has had in any Worlds so far.
And demonstrating that they’ve got just as much guts as the fellows, two of the female competitors, Ann Siedel (GER) and Jacqueline Rufenacht (SUI), suited up and headed out on the windiest day of the Worlds – when it was blowing a steady 28 with 32 knot gusts. Actually, many of the guys never left the shore. Ann wound up snapping her carbon mast, but racing for the day was cancelled due to the high winds.
Demonstrating why she has won the women’s title many times over, Jacqueline sailed every race of the five-day regatta (often in 15 – 20 knots with big chop) to take the title. Congrats to her and every other woman who took part! Next year’s Worlds are in Brisbane, Australia – hopefully with a good contingent of women and youth once again.