NEWPORT BEACH — Come Feb.1, the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC) will be coated in silver as it hosts the 25th annual Southern California Yachting Association’s (SCYA)Women’s Sailing Convention. This year the convention has grown even bigger, offering 31 different workshops for beginners and expert sailors.
For the past 25 years, the convention has brought sailors of different boating backgrounds together to share their sailing experience. Directed and founded by Gail Hine, the annual sailing convention features courses designed for women and are taught by women.
Hine, the first female recipient of the Peggy Slater Award, initially launched the convention with one goal in mind: give women self confidence in boating. This year, over half of the workshop instructors are licensed coast guard captains, Hine reported.
“That’s nothing like it used to be,” she said. “When I started in 1985, there were no women coast guard captains out there,”
The convention offers guests morning and afternoon workshops – both on and off the water– three meals, happy hour and the opportunity to hear the convention’s annual speaker. In honor of the convention’s silver anniversary and to share with guests the history of the conference, the organizing committee chose Hine to be the 2014 keynote speaker.
The Southern California sailor will share her personal story of how, when she moved from Minneapolis, Minn., to Redondo Beach, Calif., 39 years ago, she was a novice boater at best, occasionally sailing alongside her husband in the local waters. As she settled into her new home in California, things changed.
“We left Minnesota in 1969 and got into sailing by the next year,” Hine explained. “We got into racing fairly quickly. There were no other women on the water; I decided to host some small instructional seminars for women.”
Hine hosted these seminars for 12 years before moving to Orange County, Calif., in 1988 to care for her ill husband and mother. After their passing she refocused, holding the first Women’s Sailing Convention in 1990 at the Gorilla Beach Yacht Club. Three years later she brought it to BCYC, where it’s been held ever since.
This year’s event will include new seminars such as “Mysteries below Deck, taught by Capt. Holly Scott, and “Ten Surprises Cruising Offshore,” presented by Capt. Nancy Erley Guests select from a list of morning and afternoon sessions that run the gamut from the convention’s core workshop “Sudden Single-Handed Sailor,” to “Going Up the Mast,” and “Nighttime Sailing and Navigation.”
Hine’s 24-foot racing sloop, Hummer, which won her first place in the Marina Del Rey to San Diego Race of 1984, plays a vital and ongoing part in the convention. Though it remains docked throughout the workshop, Hummer’s sails will be hoisted, Hine said.
“It sits at the dock with the shoot up so women can learn how to jibe and tack and see how the sail is affected by the wind in a safe environment,” she explained. “It’s a safe and easy way to get them unafraid of the spinnaker.”
The SCYA Women’s Sailing Convention is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m.- 8:30 p.m., Feb. 1 at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, 1601 Bayside Dr. in Corona del Mar. For more information, or to register, visit womenssailingconvention.com.