Register   |  Login

Gulf Yachting Association Women's Championship Regatta

   Minimize
Click here for the GYA Women's Championship Regatta's 2014 results.

Below is a clip from the 2010 Regatta on Lake Pontchartrain.



The following excerpt about the GYC involvement in creating the Women's Championship was first published March 2013 by Southwinds Magazine and reposted in May 2013 in Gulf Latitudes, © 2013 Troy Gilbert

In 1928, much to the surprise and adulation of the race spectators at the finish in Biloxi, Mississippi, an all-female crew from Southern Yacht Club pulled into the dock, having competed in the 78th running of the Race to the Coast. Doris Zemurray and her crew had sailed the 71-nautical mile distance from New Orleans to the Mississippi coast and finished second overall.

At the Mobile Yacht Club in 1937, a startling and unplanned challenge occurred at the Gulf Yachting Association‘s most prestigious of regattas, the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup inter-club championship. At the skipper’s meeting the night before the regatta, the contingent from Houston Yacht Club announced to all gathered that a young woman in her early twenties from their club had not only earned the right to sail, but that she would be at the helm directing her two male crew members. Never before had a female competed in the Lipton Cup, much less skippered. This announcement was met with reported shock and multiple official protests from some clubs. The young Texan – Fairfax Moody (pictured below on the right) – had stepped into sailing history.

Forced to address this unprecedented dilemma, the flag officers of the Gulf Yachting Association immediately convened to sort out and make a ruling on the protests. Not without some difficulty and time, the board resolved that since “the Houston skipperette has traveled hundreds of miles to compete … that she be allowed to sail at the present regatta.” It was also further announced in this same resolution that women would be be barred from competing or even officiating in future Lipton Cup regattas.

After finishing sixth out of 11 boats and having beaten a number of the protesting club teams, a newspaper reporter quoted Fairfax Moody as stating that she “only came to sail.” It wasn’t until after another war – World War II – that the resolution was rescinded to allow women the ability to represent their clubs and compete alongside and against men at the Lipton Cup. The next women to do so wouldn’t come until a full decade after Moody.

In 1938, a year after the Fairfax Moody incident and with obvious influence, the Gulf Yachting Association formally co-opted an existing women’s inter-club invitational regatta based out of Pass Christian Yacht Club. It was modeled after the Lipton Cup to create a women’s Gulf Coast sailing championship. Honoring a commodore of Pass Christian Yacht Club, who was a major proponent of women’s sailing, the Commodore Bernard L. Knost Championship Regatta is still raced in Pass Christian on the waters of the Mississippi Sound today.

Women’s racing on the Gulf Coast continued to grow in acceptance and participation throughout the next decades, with women actively racing Fish, Luders, Stars, Gulf OD and Lightning classes. Teams from the Gulf Coast actively competed for the Adams Cup Women’s National Championship, including its inaugural year in 1954. In 1977, an all-female regatta was held by Southern Yacht Club, where 100 teams competed. Any lingering doubts about the viability and interest in women’s competitive sailing were quashed.