The first Women’s Day at the Vancouver Boat Show was a success!

The day started with an inspiring presentation from our keynote speaker, Pamela Bendall. Her travels, with her 14 metre sailboat Precious Metal, took her from Alaska to Mexico, Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador, Cocos Islands, Central America and Panama.  First of all, to leave the trappings of a successful corporate career to go sailing seems difficult for some of us to fathom.  But then to hear her stories of travelling offshore, to unknown parts of the world as a solo female sailor really make you stop and think. In the afternoon, Pamela gave a presentation called “Our Ocean” that was also a real eye-opener.  She has noticed, first-hand, the increase in garbage in our waters and is working diligently to encourage garbage collection and beach cleanups in the countries she visits.

Pamela has documented her travels and experiences in a really well written book called “What Was I Thinking? Adventures of a Woman Sailing Solo”.  I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. I was particularly taken by this quote, she says, “I essentially live a self-sufficient lifestyle. I make my own water and power, rely on solar panels and leave a very small carbon footprint on the planet.  Other than the never-ending maintenance and repairs of my boat, life is simple. I have now, finally, discovered the art of living my dream.”

After our keynote speaker, participants had the opportunity to choose from a number of different speakers and topics.  Margaret Pommert, who leads the Seattle Sailing Women’s Program and holds a 50 ton US Coast Guard Master Captain’s licence taught “Docking and Anchoring Basics” which was one of the most popular presentations of the day.  Our very own Jeff Cote spoke on electrical and electronics, Agathe Gaulin spoke about weather basics, Liza Copeland helped us organize our boats, Christie Burdon enlightened us on all things insurance and Lorraine Willgress tackled emergency procedures.

The event was held in the Gate H foyer at BC Place and, while there were some challenges with the venue, the feedback forms sent a resounding message that this is something that was missing in the industry.  Participants loved that the event was a full-day and that the speakers did not make the topics too basic.  That combined with the fashion show and cocktail reception, made the event a complete success.

It’s one thing for a group of women to get together to organize an event but it becomes even more important when the community that they belong to gets on board.  It takes a village and Women’s Day was no exception. Hats off to the organizing committee of the Vancouver Boat Show for giving us the opportunity, especially Linda Waddell, Monica Smith and Eric Nicholl.  I don’t know how Eric not only stays calm but extends a sense of calm to everyone around him and he was with us every step of the way.  This event would not have happened without the support of the sponsors, Navis Insurance, Pacific Yachting Magazine, Western Marine, Milltown Marine, Steveston Hardware and Mercury Marine.  And to the fantastic committee, Christie Burdon (Navis), Desirée Miller (Pacific Yachting Magazine), Andrée Stovell (Western Marine) and Sue Mattice (Pacific Yacht Systems).  And to our fantastic volunteers who had to get up really early on Sunday, Lauralei, Julia and Jessica.  Also, to all of our vendors who donated prizes, a special thank you to Nanaimo Sailing School for our grand prize of a 5-day sailing/learning cruise in the Gulf Islands.  A sincere thank you!

I am looking forward to next year and I encourage you to contact me with suggestions, ideas or support!

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