The Sailor Girl as a person is Nic Douglass, an Australian communications professional and sailor who calls Sydney home.
The Sailor Girl as a business is a content provider and contributor to sailing media around the world. From consulting to “friends”, the money that is made by our work goes straight back into providing more content, and covering more events around the world to promote the sport of sailing, and support the sailing community. There are events that we are paid to attend, and then there are others where we know that our community will want up to the minute information, so we pay to get Nic there to cover the adventures for you.
Nic is not afraid of the not-so-glamourous side of sailing media, often sleeping on floors, and couches and living off tuna and oats just to make sure she can buy an airfare, or the technology to stream live. There is no end to the enthusiasm that drives Nic, and she inspires all that work with her, her MD, her staff, her board and her supporters to follow their own adventures.
The Sailor Girl has worked in event management and public relations for most of her life in some form, most recently with ten years in corporate communications in Federal Government, construction, sport and advertising industries. She has a Bachelor Degree in Communications, and two post-graduate degrees in psychology and marketing communications. In short, she is qualified and experienced to provide communications content for sailing events, classes and individuals who require publicity and she is keen to use her knowledge and passion to take sailing to the mainstream.
Can the Sailor Girl actually sail?
Nic Douglass has been sailing for most of her life. Some of her first memories are of sailing on a Laser with her Dad, Rob Douglass, when she was small enough to tack through the vang.
Now Nic is known by most as the “Sailor Girl”, a presenter, commentator, MC – and all around sailing event promotion specialist with writing, photography and video as well as live broadcast capabilities, she is combining her career of over ten years in corporate communications and broadcast with her passion for sailing to share the love for her sport.
Nic sailed Manly Juniors while growing up, and crewed on whatever was available to get as much time on the water as possible. This was made easier when the family moved to Milton, on the South Coast of NSW when Nic was seven. At age 11, Rob Douglass bought home a Tasar, which they have raced together ever since, winning six National Championships and two World Championships together.
Nic moved to Sydney in 2003 to study Communications, but mainly because she wanted to sail as much as possible. After winning her first Worlds in 2005, Nic knew she well and truly had the sailing bug. It was no longer a hobby, but a lifestyle.
She has crewed on a number classes including Ynglings, Farr 30’s (or as they were Mumm 30’s), Etchells’, and NS14’s including recent tactics positions on Farr 40’s, TP52’s and Melges 32’s. She has skippered Radials, Spirals, Ynglings, 470’s.
In 2006, when Nic was introduced to Match Racing, and through that had a chance to sail Ynglings, she jumped at the chance to travel overseas for her first World Cup and Grade 1 events. In 2006, Nic won bronze at Sail Sydney as skipper in the Yngling class, and in 2007 as bow for Nicky Souter.
In late 2007 and early 2008, Nic trained with the Australian Yngling Olympic team to help them prepare for the Beijing Olympics, and later that year commenced Match Racing with Katie Spithill and the Wot Chicks. With the Wot Chicks, Nic competed in a number of Match Racing Grade 1’s including the Criterium in Calpe, Spain, Match Cup Sweden and the Korea Match Cup where the Wot Chicks placed 3rd.
In late 2008, Nic was named in the Australian Sailing Development Squad, Women’s Match Racing Team in a squad with 12 other girls training for the London Olympics and spent a large portion of 2009 travelling Europe. Nic won the first Match Racing World Cup event in the new Elliots at Kieler Woche with with helm Katie Spithill and Nina Curtis. Following this event, Nic was also part of Katie’s winning team at Match Cup Sweden. In September 2009, teamed with helm Nicky Souter, and Nina Curtis, Nic became a National Champion in her second class, Women’s Match Racing.
After not making selection shortly after the Match Racing Nationals in 2009 (for being too short), Nic won her second Tasar Worlds with her Dad in Japan. She then helped out Prince Frederik when he sailed her Tasar in the World Masters Games in Sydney.
A change of scenery was in order, and Nic moved to Canberra in late 2009 to work and re-group for her next adventures. Nic’s size had continually been flagged as an issue for her love of crewing, so she set to work on her skippering on Lake Burley Griffin, sailing the Laser Radial at Sail Sydney in 2009. Size again was not on her side, so she moved to the 470 for SIRS in 2010, sailing in the male division. She also spent a season crewing on the NS14 in 2011-12.
Nic jumped in at the last minute to sail the 2012 Match Racing Nationals, and made this her second nationals win in the class in a very windy series in Melbourne… there is something about tactics that really gets Nic’s heart racing!
Nic has spent a lot of time sailing single handers to learn the basics of steering, while the Radial was too big, the Spiral dinghy has been instrumental to work on boat handling. She has spent as much time as possible in the past five years working on her skippering, getting to know the blunt end of the boat. This has also involved some tactics positions on Farr 40’s and Melges 32’s to keep her mind fresh.
Her performance on the Spiral has improved rapidly, in part due to her determination. Nic started with a 15th in the 2010 Nationals, progressing to a 10th in the 2011 Nationals, a 7th in the 2012 and 2013 Nationals and then a 3rd in the 2014 Nationals, 5th in a windy series in 2015, and 2nd in 2016. She has finished 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 in the ladies division.
Nic is still competing on the Tasar with her skipper, mentor, and life-long coach, Dad – Rob Douglass. He doesn’t mind her crewing, no matter how small she is! Nic skippered on a more permanent basis after a few years of 50/50 training, and the two enjoyed a season racing in reversed positions in 2012. Nic placed 5th in her first Tasar States as a skipper, and then 10th in the Nationals. The team won the 2013 Nationals swapping positions, which is legal in the Tasar class rules. Nic and Rob have now sailed the Tasar for 20 years together, and they have won multiple World, National and State Championships. Many ask Nic why she still sails with her Dad, and she will answer that it is invaluable to her to sail in a team with her best friend, and the experience is invaluable as she strives to climb the steep learning curve that she has set for herself to become as good at steering as she is at crewing.
The last boat Rob seriously sailed before Nic was born was a 470, and Nic always loved training with his old sails. Perhaps this 158 cm, 60kg female found a size match in the 470, but it wasnt to be as Nic struggled to find someone of crew size following her permanent crew moving back to the USA. After three Olympics cycles, the “sailor girl” was longing to sail without the pressure of an Olympics over her head.
After a year back on the circuit in the 470 in 2012-13, Nic returned to her roots and is just loving her adventures on 5o5s, many on the VX One’s and of course old faithfuls like the Spiral and Tasar. She has been back on the Yngling and Thompson 8 but she loves trying new things, and has even done a bit of sailing on the 49er.
She has done a season on the Etchells in Australia in 2014-15 with Fifteen+, has done the Caribbean circuit in 2016 on the VX One, and still sails the Spiral (coming second at the Nationals in 2016 outright, first female) and the Tasar with her Dad.
Small in stature, but not of character, it seems Nic Douglass was destined to have as many adventures as possible. The rest of the story is yet to be told…