Lisa Darmanin is eager to break the glass ceiling on the Australia SailGP Team, even if it means dislodging her cousin and Olympic sailing partner Jason Waterhouse.
Darmanin was one of three top Aussie women sailors who participated in an invitational camp recently in Sydney as part of a program aimed at accelerating the inclusion of female athletes in SailGP, the global league co-founded by New Zealander Russell Coutts and tech titan Larry Ellison.
The women sailed one-person foiling dinghies, giving skipper Tom Slingsby the chance to assess their potential ability on the 50-foot foiling catamarans used in SailGP.
Darmanin said she would be interested in being the flight controller or wing trimmer with the Australian team, which dominated 2019’s inaugural season and won the $US1 million ($A1.3 million) winner-takes-all finale.
Waterhouse, who is Darmanin’s cousin, is currently Australia SailGP Team’s flight controller.
The cousins have sailed together for years, winning silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the high-performance Nacra 17 mixed gender catamaran class.
“We’ve already had that discussion,” Darmanin said.
“I said, ‘I don’t want to take your job, mate’. He said, ‘Well, if it’s not you, it could be somebody else, so definitely give it a go’.
“That’s the cool thing. I’ve learned a lot about the F-50 (boat) from Jason, just because I’m interested in the technology. It’s the pinnacle of sailing. He a fantastic teacher.
“He just wants to see the Australian team do well. He’ll do whatever’s best for the team. It’ll be interesting, but he’s cool about it.”
Others participating in the camp were Nina Curtis and Natasha Bryant, while Mara Stransky and Hayley Outteridge were also selected but were unable to attend due to COVID-19 border restrictions.
Two of the women will be selected to join the Australian team when SailGP’s pandemic-delayed second season restarts in Bermuda on April 24-25.
“It’s a good thing to open the pathway for women,” said Slingsby, who won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics and then helped Oracle Team USA win the America’s Cup in 2013 with a stunning comeback.
“Unfortunately, they probably haven’t had the opportunities the men have had in the past.”