Young Ladies About Town
The girls living and laughing their way around London, meeting lots of fascinating folk along the way...
Holy Cowes, Batman
Sailing you say? How relaxing and civilized I thought, and in January signed up to being part of an all-female crew to race at the prestigious Cowes Regatta. A few months later I found myself in the middle of The Solent at 45 degrees, flattened on the Bow and hanging on for dear life as a sail flapped over me. As I tried not to go overboard into the freezing Spring sea I ‘politely’ shouted at the Skipper that perhaps she could mention we were about to tack, but my request was lost to the wind so I swore at a passing seagull instead.
I’m part of ‘The Sisterhood’, an infamous troupe of adventurous girls competing at Cowes as one of few female crews. Apart from our skipper we were all novices and had taken on the challenge of racing against a 99% male competition and 186 years of tradition. In a world where the discussion of wind speed and the cut of ones jib is taken seriously, a gang of 20 girls clad in hot pink lycra kit was about to shake up the salty sailing world. The press seemed to love our appearance but Poor Cowes wasn’t quite sure what had hit them, but ironically the story of the week turned out to be what was hit us…
On the last day we’d been doing pretty well and holding our own in our class until half way into the race. A photographer decided to get a close up of us as we passed a racing mark but got too close. He was fine, his boat wasn’t. With him safely rescued we carried on but were shaken by the collision. That night I stood on marina drinking champagne, watching the stunning firework display and reflected on how we’d made our mark at Cowes, quite literally with a bang.
Words and photos by Kitty Buchanan-Gregory
Daily tip from the lady archive
“HEAVEN forbid that we should go back to the days when beauty was under suspicion and plain girls were assumed to have angelic natures.”The Lady. With Prejudice. 28th April 1938