By Dawn Riley,World Re-known Sailor, Motivational Speaker and Founder of OakCliff Sailing
You might notice in our newsletters that we have had a great run of winners of our match racing events being the team with the most women on board! For a while there it was a streak that went back into last Fall. At Oakcliff it is very unusual for there NOT to be women on board every boat. For sure that has something to do with the leadership but more so, I believe that it is because we offer coaching at every level and at every event we host or participate in. That take takes a chunk of the intimidation out of the mix. There is no longer the fear of, but I am new and I don’t really know how to do it? We will teach you!
Also our style of coaching is pretty tough but also very gender neutral. I work hard to keep all of our coaches, men or women to this standard. It doesn’t mean that we are all uptight and always politically correct but we do try to treat everyone the same. We don’t allow ” I can’t” in their vocabulary. Nine times out of ten when someone things they are not strong enough or skilled enough to do something they have underestimated themselves. So a fair amount of getting women on boats is building confidence. It is not only confidence to try but also confidence to push back when someone tries to take over. Generally this is someone with a bit more experience who might even be thinking that they are ‘helping’ but again nine times out of ten they just confuse the situation. So women need to have confidence, seek out places like Oakcliff or other coaching programs and get some sharp elbows.