WOW/WAH Frequently Asked Questions 

What is WOW/WAH?

The WOW/WAH regatta has two divisions: Women on Water (WOW) — composed of all female teams and Women at the Helm (WAH) — composed of co-ed teams with a female driver. Both divisions race the same weekend in one regatta. Each division may have multiple classes, depending on entries. Each division will race in the same general area of Santa Monica Bay, but have separate starts and may have different courses.

Where and when is WOW/WAH?

WOW/WAH will be held August 21 and 22, 2021. It is a two-day regatta, with racing on both Saturday and Sunday. The regatta is sponsored by several clubs in Marina del Rey and racing takes place on Santa Monica Bay.

Who sponsors and runs the regatta?

The regatta chairperson is Avghi Constantinides (pronounced Av-Yee’) , who can be reached via email. The regatta is sponsored jointly by the following Marina del Rey area clubs: Pacific Mariner’s Yacht Club, South Bay Yacht Racing Club, and the Women’s Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay. SBYRC does race management and WSA does much of the set up and legwork. In recent years, California Yacht Club has provided mark-set support, Del Rey Yacht Club has provided signal boat support, and Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club has provided a party venue”

What classes/boats race in WOW/WAH?

Basically, whatever kind of boats are entered! The WOW division may have a one-design class and a PHRF class. Both classes start together and are scored separately for one-design or PHRF trophies, and then are scored together for the overall WOW winner. A popular one-design class used in WOW/WAH in the past is the Martin 242. Boats entered in the PHRF class in the past have included the Olson 30, J/24, and Schock 35. Pretty much all of the WOW boats use a spinnaker on the downwind legs. The WAH division is typically split into two classes: WAH Performance and WAH cruising The two classes start separately and are scored separately. The WAH performance boats are a bit more sporty than the WAH cruising boats, and usually fly spinnakers on the downwind legs. Boats entered in the WAH Performance class in the past have included the J/105, J/80, Soveral 33 and the Viper 830. The WAH cruising class usually does not fly a spinnaker, and the cruising class may have reaching type courses rather than windward-leeward (see What are the typical courses?). Boats that have competed in WAH cruising in the past include the Catalina 30, Erickson 35 and MacGregor 26. There are often all-women crews racing in WAH cruising, that don’t race in the WOW division because their boat is more appropriate for the cruising class.

What is the history of WOW/WAH and who are its past winners?

The Women on the Water Series began in the early 1970s with the “Ladies Got Guts Race” to the Isthmus at Catalina Island. Organized by Stan Lieberman and sponsored by Del Rey Yacht Club, the event was initiated to interest women in learning more about boat handling. MORE

Do I get a trophy if I win?

Hell, yes, you get a trophy! There are both take-home trophies and perpetual trophies. The number of take-home trophies awarded per class depends on the number of entries in the class. Typically there are take home trophies for WOW one-design, WOW PHRF, WAH Performance and WAH Cruising. The WOW one-design and WOW PHRF classes vie for the WOW Perpetual Trophy and the WAH Performance and WAH Cruising classes vie for the WAH Perpetual Trophy. The perpetual trophies are displayed at your yacht club, or if you do not belong to a landed yacht club, another club in the area.

Is there a party?

Only one of the best parties in the marina! Saturday night we have a BBQ at PMYC. Sunday after racing we have hospitality and the trophy presentation at SMWYC. At both parties we have GREAT raffle prizes.

I want to skipper! How can I find a boat to borrow?

Start asking potential boat owners EARLY, like in springtime or early summer. You’ll need to convince the owner that you’re ready for this – plan to go sailing with them several times and learn exactly how they take care of their “baby.” Expect that the owner might want to go with you on some of your practice sessions until they are 100% comfortable with your boat handling. Ask some of the former WOW winners how they found boats to borrow. Start talking to owners at post-race parties early in the year California Yacht Club’s Sunset Series on Wednesday night, starting in April, is a great way to meet other sailors). Find out who the ASMBYC women’s sailing coordinator is and ask her for help (it will be listed at You can also email

I want to crew! How can I find a team to race with?

Again, start talking to people EARLY to get on a team! Come to a Women’s Sailing Association meeting and let people know you want to crew. Ask some of the former WOW winners if they are putting a boat together this year.

I have a boat I can use, how do I put a team together?

Get your team together in spring/summer. You may find crew through the Women’s Sailing Association – come to a meeting! Hang out at post-race parties and start talking to other women sailors. California Yacht Club’s Sunset Series on Wednesday night, starting in April, is a great way to meet other sailors. Do I have to be a member of a yacht club to participate? All skippers must be a member of a yacht club or sailing association belonging to SCYA or US Sailing. If you are not presently a member of such an organization and wish to skipper in WOW/WAH, check out SBYRC or WSA; they have very reasonable yearly dues and membership in these organizations satisfy the requirement.

Are there clinics or practice races?

Yep – there are several. SBYRC and SMWYC both usually host start clinics – these are great! The Women’s Sailing Association may also have clinics that might be helpful. Check the calendar for clinics. The Baker Series regatta, sponsored by MVYC is a good race to do for practice – they score women entries separately! And of course doing a CYC Sunset Series race with your team is always a good way to get time on the water. For the dates of all these events, check out the ASMBYC race calendar – you can find it online at

What are the typical courses?

Courses for WOW and WAH Performance usually come from Course Chart 17. These are windward-leeward courses. Some courses have upwind finishes, some have downwind finishes. Usually, you can expect to have at least two windward mark roundings. WAH Cruising might have a different set of courses.

Course Chart 17 is confusing – can you explain it?

Yes, course CHART 17 is confusing at first. Page 1 gives a little map of the marks in Santa Monica Bay and lists the courses. Page 2 provides the approximate bearing and distance between marks, and their approximate latitude and longitude. When using course Chart 16, the starting area will be in the vicinity of S mark. MORE

I live out of area and will need a slip for my boat, can you help?

Sure! There are guest slips at Burton Chace Park. Alternatively, we might be able to find you a guest slip at one of the area yacht clubs – email for more info.

Are there spectator boats so my friends can go out and cheer me on?

Usually there is quite a fleet out to watch – email we can see if there is any space available.

I need to talk to someone – please give me an email address!

Click here to email the regatta chairperson Avghi Constantinides.