PinkWave Monaco was founded in March 2019 by what member Femke Doeksen describes as “a bunch of crazy Dutch-speaking women”. As the Monaco resident explains, “Like nowadays, there was hardly any female participation at the annual Primo Cup. Out of fifty or sixty participating teams, only two were female. So, the conclusion was that if their sailing boat could make it from Start to Finish, they would automatically end up on the podium in the Ladies’ ranking.”
Initiated by the energetic Anne Schouten, PinkWave Monaco was born. Today the sailing team consists of 45 women ages 24 to 76 ranging in levels from absolute beginner to high-profile regatta expert. And typical of Monaco, members come from all different backgrounds and nationalities.
British Olympic gold medallist Saskia Clark moved to the Principality last year and has been racing regularly since then. Saskia is supporting the PinkWave idea as an outstanding initiative for Monaco and the efforts to create a solid team to get more women racing regularly. “She is positive that she can guide the decision-making process during the racing and support PinkWave in developing its strong team,” says Anne.
From March 25 to 26, 2023, the Monaco Yacht Club will host their first-ever Ladies Sailing Cup. “PinkWave is not only about being a female sailing team amongst the highly successful predominately male Monaco crews. It’s also a statement we wanted to make, that everything, no matter which age or level, is possible if you keep on pursuing a dream. Needless to say, we are looking tremendously forward to such an event at our club,” Anne enthuses.
PinkWave member Kathrin Hoyos recently bought a pre-owned J/70, to be more independent and to be able to take part in regattas at the team’s discretion. This is the only female-owned J/70 on the YCM. “Hopefully, there are many more to come. The level of sailing on the Monaco Sportsboat Winter series organised by the Monaco Yacht Club is highly competitive and entirely dominated by professional male sailors. Most J/70 sailors of the PinkWave team are between 30 and 60 years, and most of us are, yet, far away from performing on a highly professional level. Our focus is less on the final results at the end of the races but more on the progress of adapting to the conditions and, most importantly, on succeeding as a team. The motto of Pink Wave remains: Progress, Fun, and Freedom.”
PinkWave Monaco competes in a wide range of regattas and various social activities already in the Monaco Yacht Club (YCM). In 2022, PinkWave participated for the first time at the regatta “Dames des Saint Tropez” with the YCM Flagship TUIGA. Much of TUIGA’s crew consists of PinkWave ladies, participating in an entire circuit of Classical Sailing regattas.
At the J/70 World Championships, which took place last October 14-22 at the Yacht Club Monaco, PinkWave Monaco had one boat at the start helmed by Anne Rodelato. “Three years of preparation went into this,” shares Kathrin. “The team ended up ranking first amongst the Ladies’ Teams. One of our PinkWave members, Axelle Foucaud, is on the Monaco team that became Vice-World Champions.”
Additionally, each year several PinkWave members participate in the Monaco Sportboat Winter Series and for two years in a row, PinkWave Monaco has participated in the Helga Cup in Hamburg, the biggest Women’s regatta in the world.
“Worldwide, the number of female sailors and female regattas is increasing rapidly. Only a handful of European countries organised Ladies-only Regattas two years ago. Since then, this number has more than doubled. The world’s biggest annual women-only regatta in Germany hosts over 70 teams – some 300 women. In France, the Ladies’ Sailing Circuit consists of seven races,” Anne says.
She adds, “Although we are quite competitive, our main objective remains to have fun, the love of sailing and after-sailing. We show constant perseverance, believe in ourselves and support amongst each other. Solidarity amongst women overcomes the harshest criticism by men. All in all, we are always considered the underdogs or outsiders, which pushes us to be the best version of ourselves on water and land.”
PinkWave believes supporting women in sport is essential. “We connect and reach out to other female sailors worldwide – so easy via social media – and we actively maintain dialogues with like-minded women worldwide, striving to create a true movement of support and understanding and an environment which feels safe and non-judgmental”
In addition to the 2023 sailing calendar (see “PinkWave 2023” below) an upcoming highlight of the year will be the participation of PinkWave in the “Lady Liberty Regatta” in New York from September 8 to 9 on J/24 class, an 8 m long boat with a crew of five. The race is organised by the Manhattan Yacht Club. “A dream coming true,” reveals Anne. “A Monaco women’s only team with a huge Monaco flag on the spinnaker sailing racing around the Statue of Liberty. We are very excited that we were invited to this extraordinary event and look forward to representing the spirit of the women of the Principality of Monaco with pride.”
Want to support PinkWave? “Spread the word,” says Anne. “We are also open to accepting sponsorships to support us in pursuing our various activities and participation with regattas.
“Sailing is a very cool sport, hugely beneficial physically and mentally, and accessible right here in the Principality. Those interested are invited to contact the Section Sportive of the Yacht Club Monaco or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking forward to welcoming more female sailors within the Principality!”
For more, see the PinkWave Monaco website.
PinkWave Calendar 2023
Over the past two years, PinkWave Monaco (PWM) has built strong bonds with female sailors from Germany, Holland, Belgium, the UK, the US, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland, Brazil, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Dubai. From March 25-26, the YCM will organise its first Ladies’ Sailing Regatta. Several PinkWave Monaco members will take part in 2023 in the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, which always ends with the famous Credit Suisse Primo Cup on the first weekend in March.
After the success of 2022, PinkWave Monaco will again participate in May in the Dames de St Tropez regatta, hopefully with two ships and 30 female sailors in total. As in the last three years, PWM will participate in the Helga Cup in Hamburg and possibly at some of the French Female Regattas organized by the Federation Francais de Voile. PinkWave members will again join in the Mediterranean Classical Regatta circuit, such as Les Voiles d’Antibes, Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, and other famous regattas like the Palermo-Monte Carlo, the Rolex Giraglia or the SNIM in Marseille. “The advantage of the diversity and the spread of our team is that in any given race in the Mediterranean, most of the time there is a PinkWave member participating!” says Anne Schouten.
Article first published January 22, 2023.