This last winter in the Southwest Caribbean we were lucky enough to meet quite a few new and inspiring lady sailors, lady captains, and all-lady boats. One thing we all agreed upon was that we all love sailing with other ladies, lady-identified, and non-binary gendered people. Quite a few of us prefer to sail with mostly or entirely lady-identified or non-binary crews. I don’t think I need to explain all the reasons why here, but we talked a lot about them this winter. The genesis of those conversations was the decision to start a radical feminist sailing mailing list to help lady-captains, lady-crews, lady-identified, and gender non-conforming sailors of all stripes to network, to find each other, to meet up and to problem solve together.
In case you are unfamiliar with how an email list works, I will explain it briefly: E-mail lists are a reliable holdover from the 1990’s. They are a relatively private way for a group of people to communicate via email. The downside is that rather than being a message board that privileged folks can sign into to read what has been posted lately, each email that is sent to the list goes into each person on the list’s email inbox. The extra emails coming to your address can start to feel a bit like clutter, however it is easy to re-route your mail from the list into a folder separate from your inbox to look at when you have time. It is also possible to change settings and receive emails in a weekly or monthly package, or to go online to the risup.net “lists” web page, login, and read the ladyjacks archives there. We think that the privacy is worth the old-school format.
The name “ladyjacks” was chosen for the list quickly but seems to be working. Many of us who wanted to start this list describe ourselves as “ladyboats.” I think that usually means we don’t have many male-socialized men on board and the captain is not a socialized male person. We are using the term “lady” here to describe all sorts of people. The list is intended to be a resource for sailors who identify as feminist, or are interested in a feminist and intersectional approaches to gender role, gender identity, and sailing. If the list appeals to you, and you feel you have something valuable to contribute to it, no one will question your gender identity. (However, it might be useful to state your preferred pronoun when posting).
The term “Jack” is a reference to the age of sail when common sailors before the mast (non-officers) were called “jacks” or “jack tars” and still persists in English and on modern boats in the terms “lazy jack”, “jacklines” and “jack knife”. Make what you will of the name ladyjacks it was meant to be a inclusive and funny name, albeit obscure and Anglo-centric.
We have a variety of goals and aspirations for the list, and hope it can be useful in many ways we haven’t thought of yet. Here are some of our ideas of how the list could be used:
· Ladyboats can find each other and meet up while sailing and cruising.
· When we meet new ladyboats “out there” we will have a contact to share with them that will both keep us in touch with them and introduce them to our friends.
· Lady boat-owners and lady captains can post when they need help with their projects. The list users may be able to provide contacts, resources or advice to the person in need, OR physical hands-on-in-person grinding and painting and fixing in the boatyard, OR crew spots on voyages.
· Lady-identified folks traveling or living in an area who are already sailors, or interested in becoming sailors, can use list or try to find boats nearby to connect with.
· We can become each-others co-inspirers!
If this list sounds like something that might be fun or useful for you please send an email to:
Once you are a subscriber you can check the archives at:
or post messeges and questions to the group at:
or unsubscribe at:
or get List help at:
In order to invite and inspire more ladyboats to join our list (fleet?) we will gradually be working on a website to be found at ladyjacks.com.
for direct questions, or if you would like your boat or your project featured on the eventual website (or if you like making websites! ;)) you can contact the administrators directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
hope to hear from you!
XO Margaret Drummer