More women take to sailing

Minkang Sankey with Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch

More and more women are taking to the Brisbane Water as they participate in Gosford Sailing Club’s Adult Learn to Sail program.

While sailing has long been seen as a luxury sport dominated by men, sailors such as Minkang Sankey say it has become increasingly accessible and open to women.

“My husband encouraged me for a long-time to sail, and I had no experience at all before joining the Gosford Sailing Club’s Adult Learn to Sail program in October 2021,” Sankey said.

“Among water sports, sailing is seen as something richer people do, yet I have found that the sailing club is open to anyone regardless of experience and background.

“Over the summer season which goes from November to March, the club offers a Discover Sailing pass program every Wednesday afternoon for people to get on the boats and experience the water.

“I have rediscovered myself.

“I had no prior knowledge and I have found that sailing suits my personality as well as being a great opportunity to engage with nature and to meet wonderful people who are always willing to help and care for each other and to meet the demanding challenges involved in sailing.”

Sankey said engagement with the water is very important for mental health and wellbeing, particularly for women.

“This is very important after the impacts of COVID-19 (when I) saw many women get caught up in family responsibilities and duties,” she said.

Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, who won Paralympic gold medals sailing in Rio and London, is encouraged by the increase in popularity for sailing by local women.

“At every level, from beginner to elite, sailing is like a meditation,” she said.

“Getting out amongst the beautiful waterways we are so fortunate to call home and relying on the wind as your source of energy, whilst connecting with other people in doing so is absolutely invigorating and important for both personal wellbeing and the community.

“As women, we have been historically locked-out or prevented from participating in certain sports, and it is great to see more local women getting out there, learning to sail and immersing themselves in the community and in nature.”

Gosford Sailing Club also offers the SheSails program designed for female sailors looking to improve their sailing skills, meet other people and enjoy the water as part of the Australian Sailing initiative.

For more information on how to get involved, visit or email

Media release, Jun 24
Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch