Charlotte Porter normally works full time as a physiotherapist with Physio First in Coghill Street, Whitianga. But she is also a very accomplished sailor on an international level. Two weeks ago she left for the Open Match Racing World championships in Sydney, Australia racing out from Darling Harbour. At 24 years of age, Charlotte is a member of the team representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
As The Informer goes to print, Charlotte has been competing at Darling Harbour, Tuesday 13 to Sunday 18 December. This team from RNZYS has both males and females in the crew of five. “The way it works,” says Charlotte, “ is a skipper gets selected and that skipper then chooses the crew which is a mixed team of male and female sailors. This is not a youth race, but an Open race - all ages. “My family are pretty excited and so am I,” says Charlotte.
In November 2022, Charlotte was part of the winning team in the 2022 New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Championship title and second overall at the New Zealand Women’s Match Racing Nationals which were hosted by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS).
“We also came second at the Women’s Match Racing World Championships also hosted by RNZYS in Auckland in November 2022. We finished second overall in the Women’s Match Racing Tour for 2022. Thirteen teams competed and you race every team once. Then the top eight go into the quarter final. Then it’s the semi- finals. We were in the semi -final against another New Zealand team. You still want to beat that team,” says Charlotte. “It was hard to win the semi-final, as we had done a lot of training, sailing against them”
We unfortunately missed out on winning the world title to Pauline Courtois and team from France.”
Charlotte started sailing when she was nine years old at Kohimarama Yacht Club in Auckland, with an Optimus Dinghy. It is how the majority of children learning to sail, start. “I didn’t really like it, but I started doing it because my sister was and so I thought I should too. It was about a couple of years in, when I started winning races and figuring out a bit more just how to navigate everything, that I began to really like it. I also made a few friends. I mainly do match racing, keel one on one, the same style of racing as the America’s Cup.”
Charlotte has her eye on being in the Americas Cup. “I got close,” she says. “In 2020, I was selected for the Youth America’s Cup Team. It was such an honour to be selected to represent New Zealand. But the Youth Americas Cup never ended up happening because of Covid. I was gutted by that and wasn’t sure what to do next. It was an upsetting and unsettling time and I wasn’t too sure where to go next with my sailing. I took about a year and a half off from sailing due to being unsure and Covid.”
Charlotte worked for Boom Sailing here in Whitianga as a summer job for the 4 years that she was studying physio. ” This is how I got to know and enjoy the Coromandel and this sparked me to move down here to work as a physio, says Charlotte. “I moved to the Coromandel in November 2021 and currently live in Hahei and work full time as a physio at Physio First Whitianga.”
After completing her physio degree, she studied a Diploma in Paramedic Science in 2021.” I am a volunteer First Responder here in the Coromandel. I realise that I prefer the team close to shore racing. I hope to one day, compete in offshore sailing and take the skills of a physio and medic onboard racing teams.”
The crew Charlotte is sailing with is very international. They earned their place at the recent Barfoot & Thompson Women’s Match Racing World Championship. They earned their qualification through their excellent performances in the US Grand Slam Series. Megan Thomson is the skipper and her crew members are - as described in news online –“ Kiwi Porter, Australian Costanzo, Swede Bergqvist and Van Dam who is aiming for a spot at the 2024 Olympics in the 470 Mixed.”
We will be hearing more of Charlotte’s racing achievements and be sure to congratulate her knowing she works at Physio First, Whitianga.
credit Live Sail Die for any sailing photos used.