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Women in sailing: famous women, how to connect with them, and why it matters.

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

We all know that women are the best sailors, but why?

If you're a woman who wants to get into sailing, you're in luck. There are plenty of women who have paved the way for us, and continue to do so today. There was a time when we weren't even allowed on boats, much less sail them.

Thanks to some amazing trailblazers, women have been sailing since the 17th century. So if you're wondering how to connect with other female sailors (or just looking for some inspiration), here are some famous women in sailing to inspire you.

Skipper Thuridur

Skipper Thuridur dressed as a man whilst at sea.
Skipper Thuridur - she would dress as a man whilst at sea.

Born in 1777, Skipper Thuridur is one of the world’s earliest female sailors.

When she was 11, she started fishing on her father's boat in the spring. In her twenties, she became a fully competent seafarer, able to go out in winter too.

At the time, the boats had no sails and were propelled with oars. While working, she dressed as a man. Thuridur, who died at the age of 86, is one of the most spectacular figures in maritime history.

Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz

Born in 1936, in Poland, Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz was a Polish naval engineer and was also the first woman to have sailed single-handed around the world. She sailed from the Canary Islands on 28 March 1976, completing a circumnavigation of 31,166 nautical miles (57,719 km) in 401 days.

Dame Ellen MacArthur

Ellen MacArthur is a successful solo long-distance yachtswoman. On 7 February 2005, she broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe, a feat which gained her international renown. Her circumnavigation took 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes, and 33 seconds

Dame Ellen continues to do great things for the planet, and since her retirement from professional sailing in 2010 she has been heading up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which tackles global challenges like climate change, biodiversity

Shirley Robertson

Born 1968, in Dundee, Scotland, Robertson began sailing on Loch Ard in a dingy built by her father. Shirley Ann Robertson is a double Olympic gold medalist - she became the first British woman to win two Olympic gold medals at consecutive games: Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

Shirley was named female World sailor of the Year by the International Sailing Federation in 2000. She is also the only woman to take the helm on the superyacht circuit steering the stunning 45-meter Salperton in three regattas in the Caribbean and Sardina.loss, waste, and pollution.

You can follow her on Instagram here.

Anne-Marie Rindom

Anne-Marie Rindom - born 1991 - is a Danish sailor who won gold at the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Laser Radial. She competed in the Laser Radial class event at the 2012 Summer Olympics, where she placed 13th. She won the 2015 Women's Laser Radial World Championship. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, she won the bronze medal in the Laser Radial event.

You can follow her on Instagram here.

Galia Moss

Galia Moss became the first Latin American woman to sail across the Atlantic Ocean alone in 2006. She did it in 41 days, which allowed her accomplishment to get listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The attempt also had a philanthropic cause: Thanks to a collaboration with an NGO, Moss was able to donate a home to a Mexican family for every eight nautical miles she navigated. In total, she was able to donate 644 homes.

During lonely rough passages Galia reminds herself that every mile sailed is for a good cause.

We're strongest when we cheer each other on

The road to gender equality is long. But we've seen that there are some amazing women who are giving us hope by pushing boundaries and blazing trails for others. Women supporting women and girls in sailing is crucial to maintain and push the achievements we have already had in sailing and on the water in general. By lifting each other up we are paving the way for all women to have access to a sport that has been and continues to be incredibly male-dominated. But it doesn't have to be.


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