Thursday, 18 July 2013 18:20

Opportunities for Women in Nova Scotia to Learn How to Sail

WOW logoWOW! Women On Water! has established bursaries to encourage women’s health and well-being through the sport of sailing in Nova Scotia. The sailing opportunities will take place aboard the schooner Sorca, Nova Scotia’s Small Tall Ship, built by Murray Stevens. 

“The purpose behind WOW! Women on Water, which was founded in 2007 in memory of Pamela Lerch who passed away from breast cancer that same year, is to encourage women of all ages and abilities to take up the sport of sailing,” said founder Jacquie Gahagam. “As a health promotion strategy, WOW! Women on Water offers sailing bursaries and the Pamela Lerch Cup each year to promote and recognize women’s potential as mentors in sailing – from the purely recreational level through to the Olympic hopeful level.”

Schooner Sorca offers hands on, experiential learning which begins with the basics of “what makes us sail and how do we do it” perspective. The vessel is sailed by an experienced team of volunteer crew members who work together in a learning environment.

“Operating and maintaining a classic wooden vessel takes a lot of time, energy and passion, but it is absolutely a labour of love, and we are always looking for folks who feel the same way”, said Anne-Louise Dauphinee of Think Sail Inc.  “We have a great group of volunteers who do everything from scraping and varnishing to helping us move the vessel from one port to the next, but we can always use more hands.  Working with WOW! Women on Water provides us with an opportunity to expand our volunteer crew, and we welcome others to join us as well”.

Women’s sailing is becoming more popular, but many women don’t have access to a boat or the opportunity to learn how to sail. The program offered through WOW! Women on Water and Think Sail Inc. aboard Sorca will encompass an evening introduction to the vessel followed by a half-day instructional sail.

“For the past number of years WOW! Women on Water has provided opportunities for women to become more involved in the great sport of sailing. The association with tall ship Sorca, will ensure many more females can experience the sport for years to come”, said Frank Denis, Nova Scotia Yachting Association Executive Director.

Sorca is a beautiful 67 foot schooner with classic lines built in 1978 by Murray Stevens. For four generations the Stevens’ family has gained the reputation as Canada's premiere boat builders and Sorca is a wonderful example of their skill.

WOW! Women on Water and Tall Ship Sorca will be hosting a wine tasting event in partnership with Bishops Cellar and the Nova Scotia Yachting Association to help raise funds for a bursary program aimed at encouraging more women in Nova Scotia to take up the sport of sailing. A few tickets are still available and can be reserved by calling 902.489.1533 or visit the website The event will take place at the Maritime Museum dock on Thursday July 18 from 7:00pm to 10:00 pm.

WOW! Women On Water! (Nova Scotia) is a not-for-profit program committed to promoting women’s health and wellness through awareness, mentoring and sailing. Presently, WOW! Women on Water! is seeking donations to establish three permanent bursaries which encourage women’s health and well-being while increasing their expertise and knowledge of sailing. Established in memory of Pamela Lerch, WOW! Women On Water! is administered by the Nova Scotia Yachting Association.