First female commodore for yacht club in 136 years

LESLEY Davies can recall sailing on Lake Wendouree as a 13-year-old girl.

Forty seven years later, the avid sailor has just achieved something no other Ballarat woman has managed. 

After more than 136 years with a male sailor at the helm of the Ballarat Yacht Club, Ms Davies becomes its first female commodore.

Speaking of the club, of which she has been a member for more than 18 years, Ms Davies yesterday said she was honoured by the decision to elect her as commodore. 

“It really is quite special,” the 60-year-old said. 

“Women weren’t even allowed to be members in the first half of (last) century, so to have a female commodore is quite amazing.”

Defined as the chief officer of a yacht club or boating association, the commodore is responsible for every detail of the club, from boats to paperwork. 

Ms Davies said so far the position had involved endless emails. 

"People often have a misconception that yachting is expensive and elitist"

“There is a lot of administration to get done before we can have fun on the water,” she said with a laugh.

“It’s rather daunting, but I guess I have the experience to deal with it.”

Catering for anyone with an interest in sailing, the Ballarat Yacht Club has been using Lake Wendouree since 1877.

This Saturday is the official opening of the new season and Ms Davies is urging people to go along. 

“People often have a misconception that yachting is expensive and elitist,” she said. 

“But that’s really not the case.

“It’s a fun sport, a challenging sport and a great way to meet new people.”

This Saturday’s season opening will feature an impressive ceremonial cannon firing and fleet sailpast. 

Anyone wishing to find out more about the club can visit

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