McGrath AWKR Lecture Series – Thursday 23 May – Sharon Ferris-Choat

Come and join the AWKR Committee for the next installment of the McGrath AWKR Lecture Series on Thursday 23 May at 7pm in the Harbour Room, with guest speaker Sharon Ferris-Choat. 

Dinner will be available in the Olympic Bar from 6pm.
Bookings are appreciated to

Sharon Ferris-Choat
Olympian, Volvo Ocean Racer & Extreme Racing Series Skipper

Sharon was a teenager heading for trouble when she discovered sailing. Watching Maiden race around the world with an incredible international team of women inspired her and gave her the belief that if they could do it, then maybe with a lot of hard work and determination so could she. Every opportunity to sail was taken, there was passion, a need for the comradery, adventure seeking and challenges to overcome.

She wanted to race around the world, but the opportunity to compete in the Europe Class at the Olympic Games came first. At the age of 22 in Atlanta in 1996 she finished 5th, then again in Athens in 2004 she placed 7th in the Yngling Class.

Sharon has raced 3 times around the world completing over 107,000 offshore miles.
Firstly, as part of Tracy Edwards’ first all-female crew to attempt the Jules Verne non-stop around the world, then the Volvo Ocean Race.

In 2005 Sharon was part of the wining team in the Oryx Quest. (Non-stop around the world in 62 days), thus becoming one of the 1st women alongside Karine Fauconnier to win a round the world race.

With Tracy on Royal & SunAlliance and Maiden II Sharon was part of the team that broke and set several World Sailing Speed Records. 

Sharon is the skipper of Thalassa Magenta Racing, the first all-female team in the Extreme Sailing Series, racing the GC32 foiling catamarans. They’ve also been a recipient of the Lisbon Sea Sustainable Award. In 2016 she was the only woman on the GC32 racing tour, as the skipper of Armin Strom Racing Team, placing 2nd in Palma and 3rd overall.

In 2018 Sharon skippered Ave Gitana, a Crowther 45-foot Tri (Solar powered for battery, electronics and engine) with a female crew. Sharon and her team won Hamilton Island’s Race Week Multihull Islands Racing Division and took home the Gun Boat Trophy for winning the most races over the line throughout all divisions. They finished 2nd in the Groupama Race (Round New Caledonia), Brisbane to Keppel Race and Magnetic Island Race Week.

Just last month Sharon Co-Skippered Maiden alongside Aussie legend Wendy Tuck, the 1st female Skipper to ever win a round the world yacht race! Sydney to Auckland in 6 days! It was a fantastic trip with a very talented group of women supported onshore by an amazing shore team.

Her goal is to encourage and inspire women all over the world to gain qualifications and experience to boost female participation in elite racing teams, design, engineering and production, that will not only benefit the marine industry but all innovative industries using circular economy practices.