Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club helps launch LEAPSailing program to encourage more girls to take part in the sport of sailing

Marjolyn van der Hart,  Vice Commodore for Community Programs at Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club, is one of the women behind the LEAPSailing program. Photo: LEAPSailing website.

By JACK SKINNER

To commemorate International Women’s Day today, ABYC (Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club) is encouraging those who identify as girls to take part in the sport of sailing

The club is involved in the launch of the LEAPSailing program and website.

LEAPSailing is a website created for International Women’s Day which takes place on March 8. The program and website is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, JumpStart, and Canadian Women & Sports. This program and website help girls understand more about the sport of sailing and is being celebrated on International Women’s Day.

Women of all ages can participate in the LEAPSailing program, learning leadership skills, building friendships and having fun.

According to the LEAPSailing website, many girls do not stay in the sport of sailing because of a lack of shared experience with other girls; and few role models as instructors and race coaches, and equipment which was not designed with the female body in mind.

ABYC is involved with the program to engage girls in sailing as a lifelong sport and to encourage more women of all ages to take part.

Marjolyn van der Hart,  Vice Commodore for Community Programs at ABYC, is one of the women behind the LEAPSailing program.

She had questioned the lack of girls in regatta’s when she volunteered in race committee at various regattas, and realized that the attrition of girls in sailing and lack of girls participating in racing was a result of a larger issue of unconscious bias and structural programming issues, said the LEAPSailing website.

In addition, van der Hart has had two children participate in junior sailing school programs who eventually instructed and coached young sailors for several years.

To go to the LEAPSailing website, please visit https://leapsailing.com/

The Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club was founded in 1932 by Archie Walker, Bob Walker, Rollie Alsop, and John Gibson. It celebrated its 90th anniversary this past summer. The club’s first intention was to launch sailing races, but over the years it has evolved into community programs/events, leisure activities, and some sailing races.

For more information on the club, please go to https://abyc.ca


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