Starting today and concluding on 12 January, the Brazilian Sailing Federation in conjunction with the Brazilian Laser Class Association are running their first training camp for women sailors.
The camp includes a training programme with both technical and tactical training in the Laser Radial and the Laser 4.7 classes, starting exercises, mark rounding and seminars and talks about the science of sport.
On the last day, six-time Laser World champion and Olympic Medallist Robert Scheidt is the invited coach. He has promised to pass on much of his international experience and knowledge in the Laser Class. "Everyone will learn and improve this way, with the help of someone more experienced. I learnt much with the help of Dudu Melchert and Clauss Bieckark. Now it is my time to teach others,"
There are at least 300 women sailors in Brazil, but only two of them are exclusively practicing sailing. A small number, considering that in Brazil there are more than one hundred thousand sailors. The difference of performance between female and male sailors is clear. From 115 medals won by all Brazilian sailors in World Championships, Olympic Games and Pan-American Games, only 8 have been won by women.
This is not a reason for them to stop sailing. Isabela Malphigi won the last South-American Championship in São Sebastião - SP in the Laser Radial class and commented, "We can win, of course, but we have to practise hard and make clear goals."
In Brazil women sailors now have an important support. In 2001, the Brazilian Sailing Federation created the Female Sailing Committee. Since then a lot of work has been done and now this work has been recognised in South America. Nina Castro, President of the Brazilian Female Sailing Committee, has been elected co-ordinator for the South American Female Committee. "Brazilian Female Sailing is promising, we have a good number of talents and good chances of medals. The sailors have to grow up more and for this they have to participate in training programmes with specialised professionals,"
This year, Training Camps will be hosted in many States in Brazil and in other countries in South America, in many classes. "South American female sailors have to come together with the purpose of improving their sailing skills, in order to have more chances to win international medals. Off the water the women must be a team, learning and training together; we will let them compete on the race course. We are not many, and only together we will come to the international level,"
Women sailors will be interested in the Online ISAF Women's Forum which aims to discuss all issues effecting women in sailing - available at www.sailing.org/isafsailor