Skippers Corner: Maiden Maine - an All-Women Sailing Event - Sailors for the Sea

Skippers Corner: Maiden Maine – an All-Women Sailing Event

 February 16, 2023  | By: Victoria Wahlig

Maiden Maine is an introductory regatta for women and girls in Portland, Maine. Although it’s technically labeled a regatta, the event serves as a fun opportunity to learn to sail in a low-stress environment, surrounded by other women, encouraging leaders, and experienced mentors.

Maiden Maine was designed to encourage more girls and women to give sailing a try. As a young female sailor, I’m often on teams that are predominantly male. Sailing has taught me teamwork, strategy, and skills that I can apply to other parts of my life and has given me confidence to tackle real-world problems. The ocean has so many lessons to offer and everyone should be able to take part. Hopefully, with events such as Maiden Maine, women will be empowered to get on the water.

The event was held last summer at Sail Maine, a community sailing center, on their fleet of J-22s (4-5 participants and a mentor) and 420s (one-on-one with a participant and mentor). Sail Maine is right in the middle of Portland Harbor, and is a focal point of the coastal community – bringing in high schoolers for sailing, youth for summer programs, and adults for social sails.

Participants and volunteers excited before the first session of the day.

Sail Maine provided everything needed, from lifejackets to sunscreen. Participants were only asked to come with a refillable water bottle, as we set up a refill station in the main meeting space.

Each participant was given a bag filled with stickers and other goodies, including a special event hat. The bag was roomy and reusable so participants could promote the event in style while eliminating single-use plastic bags.

At the registration table, there was an array of brochures and info packets about the health of Casco Bay and how actions out on the water could impact it. The Friends of Casco Bay organization had great resources for how to get involved in conservation and how to stay involved after the event.

A safety and sustainability pep talk before getting on the water.

Lunch was catered by a local restaurant, and volunteers assisted with the delivery and setup to make sure that basic items, such as utensils, plates, and napkins were all in compliance with Clean Regatta guidelines.

While participants ate lunch, there was time to recount experiences from the day and to catch up with people from other boats. There was also a Q&A with a panel of volunteers about their sailing experience and how they got into boating.

Maiden Maine had 40 participants this past year, with a substantial waitlist. Over 20 volunteers gave their time and effort to make the event such a success. Plans have begun for an event in Summer 2023, and we’re looking forward to hosting a bigger and better Maiden Maine!

Fleet of J-22s inside Portland Harbor, off the dock of Sail Maine.