A woman and the sea, such a beautiful picture full of harmony, internal power and serenity. Nowadays it’s not surprising to observe plenty of women sailing, however, in the past this sport was considered much more suitable for men. It’s partly because, despite all the prejudices, navigation is not as simple as jogging or swimming and requires a specific set of skills. It’s like driving a car in the sense that you need to be taught and dedicate your time to learn and practice it, finally, leads to success. No wonder, experience is the must. Thus, thankfully, the sailing world went through a number of technical and psychological developments that resulted in the wide popularity all over the world, available for the general public regardless of sex.

In our progressive times women are absolutely equal with men. At least, in the world of navigation. Nevertheless, the woman’s role on board wasn’t always the same. For example, some centuries ago there were lots of people who truly believed that a woman on board brings bad luck. This prejudice even got to the point that sailors were sprinkling woman’s traces with salt after her leaving. To bring you an idea about the real situation concerning the attitude in the past, I just mention the case of Ireland where even during the twentieth century there were some skippers who refused to take women on board when they were going fishing.

However, even in the ancient chronicles there were some references about female mariners. For example, let’s take into account the Age of Discovery period with some bright women sailing as pirates. They were able to lead men, being charming with their freedom and strong personality. They could tame the violent pirates’ temper. Here, it’s worth remembering a famous English female pirate Mary Read that was sailing throughout the eighteenth century. Later, in the beginning of the twentieth century while the industrial revolution was blooming, women started to gain their merited positions and rights. Their labor became a need due to the new mechanisms implementation and further innovations. To mention, steam and diesel vessels, turbine boats, huge liners construction. Dozens of women started to work on ships as radio operators, long distance skippers and even liners captains.

It was the moment to break the ice between a woman and the sea. Since that time, women have started to show a growing interest in the nautical world that was a great contribution in the fight for the equal rights. Now we can see really optimistic result – women constantly win different sailing competitions, regattas and just enjoy sailing on a par with men. Hopefully, today there are no official restrictions on females admission in the nautical schools or courses. Everyone can get a navigation license. Well, why not to use the chance that our great-grandmothers didn’t have. Let’s go sailing, girls!

Women and sailing

Picture source: http://archives.library.wisc.edu/uw-archives/exhibits/hoofers/1960s.html