Pictured: Jill Abel
The Australian SB20 sailing championship was recently held in Hobart. Jill Abel and her all-female crew competed in the event, which coincided with International Women’s Day. Women on the water were aged from fifteen to fifty, who competed against each other while celebrating International Women’s’ Day.
Sailing has always been a great sport for inclusion.
The all-female crew had their physical strength tested, especially when sailing conditions were windy. Also tested was their teamwork, which Jill says can be difficult with four opinionated women on board. Facing and overcoming challenges are what Jill’s crew enjoy about sailing, until the race ends and they feel exhausted.
Jill has been sailing since she was seven and started when she replaced her brother as forward hand when he got too big. She sailed her junior years at the Sandy Bay Sailing Club in the International Cadet Class and continues to be involved with the club as a Past Commodore.
Jill is passionate about promoting women in sailing. She has always wanted to be in an all-female crew and says the men in her division are always encouraging and supportive of them. Jill supports SheSails, which is an organisation designed to encourage women of all ages to enjoy sailing and celebrate their achievements. SheSails offers a range of opportunities to help women be involved in sailing and more information is on its website: www.shesails.org.au
Jill co-owns her boat with a friend from school and believes that sailing has been a great way of maintaining their friendship throughout the years. They named their boat ‘Cook Your Own Dinner’ because they wanted to do more sailing and less cooking. The Thursday sailing tradition meant their children had to sort out their own dinner, which was usually cooked for them at the sailing club.
The aim is to do more sailing and less cooking.
Jill taught her children to sail at young ages and they have both been very successful in their sailing. They are also both over six feet tall, so Jill is confident that they didn’t suffer from going without a home-cooked meal on Thursdays.
In addition to weekly sailing with friends and competing in most regattas, Jill is the CEO of the Australian Cruise Association. COVID has made it a challenging and hectic last twelve months, working with the government in an attempt to get the cruise sector restarted, which is getting very close, but it has been professionally and personally rewarding for someone who loves to be busy.
If you want something done ask a busy person.