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Lady At The Helm

Lady At The Helm

Article written by Tanya Rabe

Lisa Greig is not only the proud owner of a brand new Whittley CR2600, her second 2600 and third Whittley Boat, but she is also a sales assistant for the brand at the Coomera Boat Works Showroom and secretary of Whittley Club Queensland.

You wouldn’t know it, but Lisa is relatively new to boating. After spending many years joining friends on their boats and recently empty nesters with a newfound freedom, Lisa and her husband Steve decided it was time to invest in their own boat.

She went for her boat licence with Steve, to enjoy a bay runabout they had acquired, Lisa soon discovered she wanted a boat that was set up to spend weekends onboard and would handle Moreton Bay conditions comfortably with stability at rest.

The boat Lisa chose was a Whittley CR2080, an entry level cruiser that ticked all of their boxes. She fell in love with her Whittley. Seven months later, when her confidence had grown, they upgraded to the bigger CR2600, and has further upgraded to a new CR2600 model.

When asked why she loved boating so much, she lights up.

“I’m a fish! When I’m not swimming, I love sitting on the swim platform simply gazing upon the beautiful waters of Moreton Bay. I might flick a line in or have a cold bevvie, but just being in the water is simply living my best life! The social side to boating is probably the biggest plus, making lifelong friends through the club and travelling with them at least once a month on planned trips, as well as day trips with family and friends on the alternative weekends, weather permitting”.

Lisa’s enthusiasm prompted an invitation to take the seat of secretary for the Whittley Club Queensland, which she claims has enormously enhanced her boating experience. It is within the club that Lisa has learned so much about how to manage and maintain her boat. Aside from the administrative functions, the club creates a calendar of events where club members enjoy weekends away together at various anchorages typically not on the itinerary if you were boating alone all over Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

“The club used to be known as an old person’s club, but we’ve transformed it into a modern club that is attracting a mixed crowd. Younger people are coming; families with kids are bringing a whole new vibe to the boating experience. Seeing these kids playing with each other in the water, building sand castles and amusing themselves without an ipad is a complete joy to see”. As a mum of six herself, she values the special memories families create on the water especially now she has grandchildren as well.

As Lisa proved herself in boating, she was offered a role as a Whittley sales assistant at their Gold Coast showroom at The Boats Works. “The role at Whittley Marine Group has given me exactly what I wanted from the position: experience and knowledge. I can speak with confidence about the brand with customers and fellow boaties, and my role at Whittley is growing every day. Even picking the brains of the newly appointed service manager, Aaron Herd, has given me so much more confidence when being on my own boat and knowing it better.”

When Lisa first joined Whittley, she was often asked “if her husband was in” referring to Laurie Jackson, the sales manager who is of course not her husband at all. For some reason, the client, at that time, felt more comfortable talking to a man about boats. But now a year down the track, Lisa is quite well known in the industry and reference to her being a woman in a man’s world has been left behind. Lisa has earned her position with great success, which she celebrates with her male counterparts.

It is the same when it comes to their boat. Lisa and her husband have a shared investment, shared responsibilities and shared knowledge about the vessel. They have the ability to reverse roles without being under pressure. If women need any motivation to take a more active role on boats, it is to ensure their safety, knowing they have the ability to act independently should anything happen to their partner.

Whittley encourages women to be involved in boating. The club will be initiating a girls’ weekend, focused on wives and daughters at the helm. Lisa says, “It’s a great opportunity for women to grow confidence on the boat. Most times they might hesitate to just have a go, but it is these weekends where the ladies can learn to manoeuvre the boat, to anchor, dock and get the boat up on the plane”.

“Launch and retrieve can also be a daunting experience” Lisa explains. “But with patient mentoring and lots of practice, she will be able to handle the trailer and the boat confidently.”

Mechanically, Lisa learns as she goes. At work, she follows the technician and Whittley sales manager, watching with inquisitive eyes. “I am a sponge,” she says. Of course, as a sales assistant for Whittley she needs to know the ins and outs of the boats, but she gets involved for her own sake as well.

So, get your boat licence, ladies! Hop behind the helm and join Lisa for sundowners in one of the Broadwater’s spectacular anchorages.