One woman’s journey into yacht share and beyond
‘Sailing for me is about bonding with my family. It’s about challenge and creating new memories.’
We caught up with charter yacht owner, mother and grandmother, Helen, to find out more about her sailing journey.
How did you become a sailor?
“I’m not a sailor really. Or at least I should say I wasn’t for many years.
I married a sailor and he sailed at the weekend while I looked after the kids. Back then, tennis was my thing – I guess I didn’t know what I was missing out on!
Then one day we decided to charter a yacht on Pittwater. We had the most amazing day out. I just loved it. I could feel a whole new world opening up to me.
Back at Bayview I saw the Hanse syndicate fleet on the dock and decided there and then yacht share was for me.
My husband was delighted! We would go sailing occasionally as a social thing on friends’ boats but racing was a man’s world back then. So for 35 years my husband sailed and I didn’t.
Our first day out on Zoe was an omen of things to come. We were out with all the family near Barrenjoey Lighthouse when we came across biggest pod of dolphins I have ever seen.
The whole family was mesmerised. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.”
How did your yacht share work out?
“I loved Zoe and I loved the yacht syndicate system. For us, the best part of it was the help we got.
Although my husband spent over 30 years as a racing crew member, he had new skills to learn as a boat owner.
SMART Boating helped us feel safe while we learned those skills.
For example, we had no fears or worries about marina berthing – for the first six months we simply asked the SMART Boating staff to dock the boat for us.
And gradually, gradually our confidence grew. As I learned more I realised that if we were going to be out sailing regularly I needed to know what I was doing.
I needed to be able to operate the boat if anything should happen to my husband. So I started sailing classes which I absolutely loved. I was on such a high after each class!
I went on to pass my inshore skipper exam – something I never dreamed I would achieve.”
So a yacht share was the perfect first step for you. Can you tell us what happened next?
“Well, I love looking after things and I wanted to put my mark on something.
I love to tinker and I have a great eye for detail.
Yacht share was wonderful but I wanted to take my skills to the next level …”
Want to read more? … Here’s Helen’s journey into charter yacht ownership.