Sailing woman crossing the Atlantic

November 5, 2021
Team Coboaters

A sailing woman cross the Atlantic

Elisabeth is an experienced sailing woman. She lives in Montreal, Quebec and she sailed in the Caribbeans and then crossed the Atlantic ocean. She is part of the sailing women community and she actively participates in boating activities in Quebec and elsewhere. In this interview, this great woman sailor shares her experience and recommendations. She used a crew finder website to find a boat and she met real nice skippers and crew.

The sailing woman interview

We conducted an interview and asked Elisabeth how she managed to sail such a long trip without a sailboat on her own. She explained that she used Coboaters, a crew finder website that help sailors including women sailors to meet with skippers and boat owners,

First of all, as part of the sailing women community, can you tell us about your previous sailing experience?

I discovered the coboating club to follow up on the recommendations from a boat owner I sailed with in the Mediterranean in 2017. My first experience dates back to February 2019 in the Caribbean with Jacques, the boat owner, and another girl crewmember. We sailed for three weeks between Martinique and Carriacou (Granada). What a great trip! Then in May 2019, I joined Philippe in Venice. He is another skipper that I met on Coboaters. We spent one month exploring the Adriatic Sea to Dubrovnik in Croatia, then the Ionian Islands via Otranto, Italy. It was a great sailing experience with a very friendly skipper and another woman crewmember. He likes being with sailing women like me as he was very respectful. It is important for girls to meet the right people.
Note: Is is safe to sail with strangers? Read our blog. A lot of good information to help boys and girls safely sail together.

Around fall 2019, I started planning another trip to leave in June 2020 with Jacques and another friend. Unfortunately, this trip was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, I got in touch with Didier, another skipper who was in the West Indies and who was planning a long sailing adventure. This was achieved despite the pandemic. We enjoyed the Caribbean with another co-sailor for two months, then we crossed the Atlantic to the Azores with a third woman crewmate. The end of the trip between the Azores and Lorient was only with Didier and me. So, I just came back from four months spent at sea. It was amazing, even though it was physically more challenging, especially by the end of our journey.

What is your takeaway from the fellow boaters and other women sailors you met?

I loved connecting with new people, men and women. Sailboats on a nice blue water ocean with several islandsWe had a great time on board and on land too! The relationships between crewmates and with the skippers such as Philippe, Didier or Jacques that you build while sailing together are very strong. We keep in touch even when we have no boating plans together.


What advice would you give to a sailing woman looking to experience an adventure like yours?

You need to use the crew finder site to look for a boating opportunity and to board in the sailing area you want. Then, my first tip is to read the captain’s profile very carefully, their boat description and their reviews by other members. As a sailing woman, you should be careful to make sure you talk to the right person.

If I cannot find what I am looking for, I browse other sailing areas. For me, as sailing woman security is paramount. You need to be able to trust your skipper. The skipper also needs to be able to trust their crew and be respectful and friendly so that the atmosphere on board can stay fun and friendly.

Then, you need to contact the boat owner and send them a message via the website. If your interests do match, my advice is to talk on the phone or on a videocall to get to know each other better, especially for long sailing trips. It is very important for me to hear people’ voices to get to know them better.

When you decide to sail together, mutual commitment and loyalty are important. If this does not work out, it must be addressed and sometimes getting off the boat can be the best solution for everyone. This happened to me only once during on a Coboaters trip. The perks of being a member is to that you have access to profiles with a lot of information, which allows you to check if you have the same goals and things in common before you even get in touch.

Are you ready to set sail again with another Skipper from the Coboaters website? Do you recommend this site to other women?

Elisabeth, sailing woman at the helm.
Elisabeth: a very happy woman sailor at the helm!

Yes, absolutely! I have always enjoyed my Coboating experiences. I really think it is essential to spend time searching for the right Skipper who likes being with women on board. It is very important to get to know each other as much as possible before boarding. It takes some time to get used to the way the website works and the profile form can be a little tedious to fill up. Sometimes some information is unavailable (such as dietary requirements), but it is already a very good start!


In a nutshell, what have you learned from your sailing experience?


Sailboat used by Elisabeth, a sailing woman crossing the Atlantic ocean
Elisabeth, our sailing woman crossed the Atlantic on this boat

You learn a lot of thin during this kind of trip, not only about yourself, but also about other people. Each boating event is different and unique. The greatest challenge is not the technical part, but the human challenge living as a sailing community onboard. These are unforgettable experiences that I’d recommend to anyone. A great way for sailing women to sail more and to expand their network.

To learn more about crew finder and sailing women:

Discover Women interview and testimonials

Have fun: discover the best sailors quote of all time


November 5, 2021
Team Coboaters

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