Why #TheSailHerProject

Learning how to handle Gulliver, our 16ft sailboat, in São Paulo, Brazil. (2010)
It’s time to tell stories of women who resist through sailing, surfing, fishing, diving, piloting big ships…

My name is Mariana Paes. I am a journalist, musician, and dancer, who fell in love with sailing around 10 years ago. Back in Brazil, my home-country, I started sailing at a reservoir in São Paulo (Represa de Guarapiranga), where I had my first sailing lessons, accompany my husband who has been passionate about it for a long time. The freedom of sailing fascinated me and it was a great refugee from a busy city-girl life who was trying to handle life while working three jobs and spending almost five hours per day commuting.

The love for sailing and the sailing community got to me and, a little after the classes in Sao Paulo, we got a 16 feet sailboat, called Gulliver, and had some of the best days ever, spending long weekends enjoying our lil boat with it’s cozy cabin where we used to sleep, cook and watch tv in an old GPS device.

After a while, we needed to try the sea life and we sold our Gulliver and got a 23 feet in Paraty, RJ (called Wireless), where I realized the life at sea was a dream I would have to pursue.

Throughout my sailing experience, I’ve heard sexist comments by sailing men, people working in the nautical industry, sailing instructors, events organizers… And, as a feminist and community organizer who is a part of an international network of Brazilian women fighting for equality and democracy, I couldn’t just watch the misogyny unfold. Women at sea are frequently objectified, undermined, and dismissed, so it’s about time to raise voices of women who sail, dive, surf, fish… and amplify their experiences, empower other ladies, and smash the patriarchy by resisting and conquering the seas together.

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