Pearls of Wisdom

Pearls of wisdom was the order of the day for the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (ORCV) Ocean Girls pre Christmas primer on Thursday 4 December 2014. Veteran ocean racers from ten M2H ‘Wild Side’ Wescoasters each, Maureen Dickins and Dee Colledge shared their ‘pearls’ at an informal dinner to an enthusiastic audience of ocean girls, friends and partners.
This was not the first gig for this duo. After years of competing against each other in ocean racing events, Maureen and Dee recently joined forces to compete as a team in the Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) Double Handed Series on board the S80 Outlaw and are loving the new challenge. Maureen has also been awarded the HBYC Club Person of the Year for 2013-14 season for her efforts in establishing the Women on Water (WOW) training program at her home club.
Come Christmas, they will be back competing against each other  in their eleventh M2H Westcoaster  with their long standing respective ocean racing crews  - Maureen on the Ben Lexcen designed 50ft steel  Yoko and Dee on the space age Cameron De Lange designed 12 metre Spirit of Downunder.  Both boats hold expansive ocean racing pedigrees, including completion of two Melbourne to Osaka (M2O) Double Handed yacht races amongst a massive number of local offshore races.
So from the girls, a few tips on how to prepare yourself for the big offshore race.
First up, get into the right frame of mind. Respect and trust the skipper and boat and recognise the need for reliance on all crew members.  A successful  team ‘sails together –plays together – stays together’.
Keep yourself warm and dry with thermal underwear, heat warmer packs , emergency blanket, wet weather gear and a good sea rug to sleep in.  As a foredeckie, Dee brought along her favourite piece of kit - her goretex survival suit – the ultimate ‘onesie’ which sailing admininstrator Allicia Rae from Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron (RMYS) just had to try  on!
Attend the working bees and learn about the boat, how things work and where the emergency tools are. Knowledge reduces anxiety in testing situations. Keep your personal torch attached at all times.
Educate yourself in Sea Survival & Safety, Navigation and do it collectively with your crew.
Look after yourself during the race. Manage your seasickness. Keep yourself well hydrated. Food is important, but the boat is not a restaurant!
And at the end of the race, enjoy and celebrate the achievement.  The experiences are always different even when it is the same race you have done before. According to Maureen ‘Anyone who finishes an ocean race is a winner - at the end of the day have a ‘qld’ (quiet little drink) because everybody made it.’ 
Have a crew debrief and reflect on your race – sharing and looking out for each other makes you and your team stronger.  Dee summed up with the words of Bruce Taylor owner skipper of Chutzpah - ‘Be a Champion Team not a Team of Champions’.
And Maureen’s final words – ‘It is not just about the boat but the supporters without whom it would not be possible.  Do not forget that the (male) owner skipper has a very wonderful woman at home who allows us all to go sailing.’
Good luck to all those crews heading offshore at Christmas to pursue the challenge of ocean racing. To find out more about the Tassie Trio of ORCV races and to follow the fleet go to orcv.org.au.
Keen to find out more about the Ocean Girls?  Go to http://orcv.org.au/index.php/oceangirls-home/oceangirls-home

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