Get to know Sailing Betties from SB20 Belgium

The Royal North Sea Yacht Club from Ostend is one of the first water sports clubs to respond to the #GirlsCan invitation of Sport Flanders and the Flanders Federation of Wind and Watersport. In late April the TV-star Lynn Wesenbeek and Olympic sailor Emma Plasschaert accepted to be the godmothers of this new women’s sailing team. It will boost the competitive ambitions that the club has been fulfilling for more than 75 years.

Although Olympic ILCA medalist Evi Van Acker and Emma Plasschaert proved conclusively that they can hold their own in the sailing world, portrayed as male. It is true that in Belgium women usually miss the boat. Daughters of two RNSYC members raised the alarm with their sailing fathers about this last fall. Six months later, a completely new women’s sailing team of twenty sailors between the ages of 17 and 55 releases the mooring ropes.

The team was assembled in a few months with an overwhelming enthusiasm and a high commitment from every sailor. Emma Plasschaert and Lynn Wesenbeek (television presenter, media coach and recreational sailor) support the program, launched as Sailing Betties.

The Sailing Betties have now three identical SB20’s for their training and competition. Our Class is extremely suitable for such inclusive sailing program due to the compliance with strict unit class rules, the sporty design and equipment and the universal format. Professional coaches will train Betties to become competitive crews. Step one is to stimulate like-mindedness within the team by going on the water together, both competitively and recreationally.

In addition, a program of 14 match days awaits, including the SB20 Open Dutch Championship and of course the SB20 Open Belgian Championship that will be sailed from the RNSYC this summer off the coast of Ostend. We are expecting to see the ‘Betties’ at the SB20 Worlds in Scheveningen and fly some pink colours sending the message of inclusiveness!



Ben Weyts, Flemish Minister of Sport, recently launched the #GirlsCan campaign. 41% of the athletes turn out to be women, in water sports this is merely 30%. The broad base of twenty Sailing Betties in this team guarantees that soon our top women will also participate in the highest echelons of international sailing.

The RNSYC has been working for more than 75 years to provide the sailing competition with more than the figurative wind in its sails. The club is therefore happy to extend its support to this new women’s sports initiative by providing three SB20 boats and the use of the marina, next to the sea.

The Magenta Project supports this local and grassroots development initiative precisely because it aims for more equality and inclusion in sailing. Meg Reilly, executive director of The Magenta Project, looks at this as a pilot to inspire even more sailing initiatives. This gives more female sailors access to the expanding international support network. The Magenta Project welcomes more women and allies to join the cause.



The Sailing Betties joins the #GirlsCan project of Wind- en Watersport Vlaanderen (WWSV), the Flemish federation of water sports organizations, to get more women into sailing. Moreover, a bridge has also been built with #SailingForThinkPink. This organization not only strives for women’s sailing but links this to fundraising for breast cancer research and prevention.




The Sailing Betties in brief for 2023:

  • 20 sailing women
  • 3 SB20 competition boats
  • 14 training days led by professional sailing trainers
  • 14 match days (including Open Belgian Championship 7 to 9 July – Ostend)
  • Closing Sailing for Think Pink fundraising event in the fall
  • Kick-off campaign for the 2024 SB20 World Championship in Dubai
  • Start-up promotion for the European Championship SB20 2025 in Ostend


Find out more about Sailing Betties:


Follow the Betties on Instagram and on Facebook to check their latest news!


For any enquiries please contact RNSYC Club Secretary and SB20 sailor Cédric De Bleye at: +32475945918.