Pride is evident in Fiona Davidson’s voice when she talks about making history for the sailing club with which she has been involved for most of her life.
Ms Davidson is the Mounts Bay Sailing Club’s first female commodore, coinciding with the club’s 125th anniversary, and is also believed to be the first female commodore of any Western Suburbs sailing club.
She has spent her entire life around the club and the enormity of the title has not escaped her.
âI grew up here, so I spent my childhood running around this lawn. Now is the time for kids my age to have that carefree attitude, âshe said.
âIt was only since August that I realized that I am also now a role model for my junior girls and I think for all the other clubs that see me. I don’t think I realized the strength of that before the nomination.
Ms. Davidson praised the club’s progressiveness and willingness to change and grow, as well as its strong inclusive community atmosphere.
âI think the elders would call it a workers’ club. We are not a royal club; we are very focused on our learning and development and on our juniors, on learning sailboats and watching these kids develop.
âI think sailing probably has a reputation where if you can’t sail you can’t be a part of it.
âHere we have people who can’t swim but who are our boat repairers, our finishers or our paddock maintenance workers and I really want to ask people to think about what it can be like to be on the water. .
“It’s about making sure the community remains a community and I think I’m leading them, with the philosophies of Mounts Bay and where we are and what we all are.”
Vice Comodore Larry Smith, who was appointed to his post around the same time as Ms Davidson, said she was the perfect person to lead the club forward.
As a club member with no sailing experience 20 years ago, Mr Smith said the club has never had a culture of exclusivity.
âI came knocking on the door one day, interested in sailing, and Fiona’s mother, who worked in the office, actually signed me up right away,â he said.
âIt comes down to staying relevant and always evolving with the times. There are some clubs that are said to have resistance to what has happened here, but we are still striving to move forward and that is part of it.
“There are a lot of older and lifelong members who have been with the club for 50, 60, 70 years, and they still see it as family.”