Welcome to the team at Girls for Sail!
Read about our crew and meet the girls teaching you to sail or race!
The Girls for Sail team has been expanding over the years as a result of more women taking the plunge and entering this great environment. If you'd like to join our team or find out how you can become an instructor, please get in touch!
Annie - Founder and Yachtmaster Instructor
Annie O'Sullivan is an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor and founder of Girls or Sail. She began sailing in a dinghy many years ago on a London reservoir, never dreaming she would be lucky enough to become an instructor. She has sailed over 50,000 nautical miles having completed at least 4 trans-Atlantic crossings and counting and has been instructing since 2002. During most of her Atlantic crossings she has led some keen yet inexperienced crews of females across with a 100% safety record. Her passion is simple - she wants to encourage more women onto the water.
"Women make brilliant sailors and I am keen to show them how they can hold their own with the guys by using techniques instead of muscle, which is often lacking for us ladies!"
Annie started yacht sailing well over 20 years ago in Australia completely by accident. Having discovered the sport, she is fastidious about safety but also ensures everyone has fun. In recent years, she has won competitions & awards such as the coveted Cowes Week Ladies Day award in recognition for her contribution to the growing number of female sailors in the sport. She has appeared on Sky TV as the water expert guiding & coaching people to overcome their fear of water. She is always encouraging people to sail more....
"Our aim is to always have fun whilst learning more about sailing" We have golden rules on board such as we are a calm boat at all times and there's no such thing as a stupid question. We pretty much guarantee you will have fun with us whilst learning more about sailing, no matter what level of experience. Why not give it a go?......you won't regret it!"
Karen - Sales Manager
If you ring or email you'll probably find yourself speaking to this lovely lady! Karen caught the sailing bug about eight years ago and is currently working towards her Yachtmaster Offshore qualification. A regular member of crew on a local yacht, you'll find Karen out racing every Tuesday evening during the spring and summer months. Karen also joins some of our courses and race events throughout the year both here in the UK and Caribbean so she's up to date with their content and can make sure to match our ladies with the right event.
If you would like to book a course, or speak more about what might be included in an event or ask for travel advice on how to get there, give Karen a call in the office or drop her an email!
She is one of the lovliest, kindest, happiest ladies you will ever meet. We are always astounded at how she never fails to be positive, on and off the water. We are VERY lucky to have her. We are blessed to have her work & sail alongside us at GFS.
Sophie - Centre Manager
Chief Instructor, Race Skipper
Meet our amazing Yachtmaster Instructor & Skipper Sophie who has been teaching and race skippering for us for the last three years.
As well as being our Chief Instructor, Sophie is also one of our race skippers, Skippering in the ARC 2016, competing in many Cowes Weeks, RORC Caribbean 600's, the 2015 & 2017 Fastnet, Antigua Sailing Week and the BVI Spring Regatta. Her patience and sunny disposition are legendary!
Sophie learnt to sail as a child and started competing in dinghy racing from the age of 13, she has spent more time in a boat than onshore and is certainly a salty sailor!
We are proud that Sophie leads our team of instructors to deliver great events & consistently high standards on our many RYA courses undertaken by a many lovely ladies from different countries, ages & backgrounds. Here she is with her Fastnet crew 2015 who had nothing but immense praise and admiration for how she guided the team through the months of training and ultimately, to complete the Fastnet safely & successfully.
"It takes a great leader to build a great team. Thank you Sophie for leading us and the Hot Stuff crew for making the Fastnet 2017 experience so amazing." Linda Briant
Sophie is a legend
Stef - Instructor UK
Originally from Atlantic Canada, she pretty much grew up on a boat with her parents, so has been sailing for most of her life.
Stef is always smiling especially when she's on the water, her positive outlook is infectious to all her students. She teaches both RYA practical and classroom theory, she is really passionate about sailing and this always comes across in her presence.
"Our skipper, Stef, was the utmost professional and made learning a lot of fun. Safety is a clearly a key priority for GFS and I really valued this." K.Plant
Lizzie - Instructor
Lizzie is simply amazing! She arrived with us having spent 10 months working in Antarctica! She has taken our Girls across the Atlantic on the ARC and been doing lots of teaching in the Caribbean.
She is full of enthusiasm, and has helped many of our ladies to overcome any confidence issues they may have had onboard because Lizzie has more patience than you can shake a boom cover to! So many ladies have written in to thank her, and we are delighted to have someone so lovely as part of our team.
‘I just wanted to say thank you to the Girls for Sail team, and in particular Lizzy, for the fantastic five days of day skipper that I did recently. I finally feel like I can start doing some sailing without the safety net of an instructor! Claire, Competent Crew, July 2016
Nikki - Instructor
Nikki is one of our most experienced offshore sailors, skippering our GFS team across the Atlantic not once but twice over the last few years and winning the prize for being the youngest skipper in the ARC!
She really fell in love with sailing as a teenager and since then has sailed over 13,000 miles around the UK, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Islands. She has sailed across the Atlantic and was first mate on our triumphant 2013 Fastnet campaign.
She is an accomplished RYA coach and trainer and an RYA Yachtmaster. Words like 'patient, calm and empathatic' feature prominently in feedback from her students. Get her at the helm though in a close-fought race and she always manages to draw out the inner competitor in her crew.
"I find teaching women to sail so rewarding. Seeing our ladies go home with their new found confidence, skills and friends is what makes the job worthwhile."
Our Interns! Kat, Harriet & Kyla!
Meet Harriet, Kat & Kyla! Kat joined us in January as an intern and has been working towards her Yachtmasters which she is due to take this October! Kat has spent a large part of her programme training in UK waters but also went to the BVI's to take part in the Regatta out there!
Kyla & Harriet joined the team this summer and hit the ground running during Cowes Week- where they had a blast! With little time to rest they sailed off to Dartmouth for one of our favourite events, Dartmouth Regatta! They have lots of RYA courses lined up before they venture off to the Caribbean in January!
If you are interested in becoming a GFS intern check out the programme on this website!
Paula - Instructor
Paula came to GFS nearly a year ago as she embarked on a life changing decision. Paula stepped onboard Hot Stuff to cross the Atlantic and has since covered many miles in the Caribbean and now teaches in the UK- until its time to pack her flip flops and head off to the Caribbean again!
Paula started sailing many years ago and has a true passion for the sport.
She is also a trained chef and can rustle up something out of nothing!
Paula loves to teach and whether it's a start yachting course or a mile builder she'll take you out for some thrilling sailing! This is one adventurer you've got to meet!