By Peter Hahoney
A woman will take on the world's top Yachting skippers in a gruelling Sydney series Next week.
But the prospect of battling the breeze with champions and America's Cup veterans does not daunt Judy Spicer, a 31- year-old German teacher.
"It doesn't worry me at all," she said this week between classes at Mosman High School. "I've sailed in three world championships.
"I've just come back from the world championships in California. I didn't do very well -but none of the other Australians did, either."
Judy skippered her Cavalier 26 to win Sydney's first inter-club women's match racing series in 1977.
Her next challenge is a series of match races beginning with elimination heats at Rose Bay on Thursday and continuing through the long weekend.
They are part of a show called Sailboats Afloat that the Yachting Association of NSW hopes will introduce large numbers of youngsters to the sport.
The show will centre on a floating marina in Farm Cove made from 11 pontoons, each with enough room for 200 people.
A range of boats from dinghies to deep-keel yachts, cruisers and ocean racers, including Gretel II, will be on display.
A spokesman for the association, Mr Garry Smailes, said visitors would be able to go trial sailing.
Competitors in the match races will crew Etchell 22s, an internationally classed three-man yacht.
Mr Smailes said the Hartford Monarch insurance group was bringing out Pelle Petterson, skiper of Sverige, the Swedish challenger for the 1977 America's Cup, to take part.
Other well-known yachtsmen include Noel Robbins (skipper of Australia's latest America's Cup challenger Australia), Jim Hardy, Gordon Ingate, 18-footer expert Ken Beashel, Ben Lexcen, Frank Tolhurst (who won the world 5.5 metre title a few weeks ago), Peter Antill and Olympic Gold medallist Dave Forbes.
Interstate yachtsmen, to be flown to Sydney by Ansett, include Fred Neil (SA). Noel Brooke, John Dunn and Mark Bethwaite, all from Victoria.
Sailboats Afloat will be staged in conjunction with the Department of Sport and Recreation's Water Safety Week.