On Saturday night at the Australian Sailing awards evening, Nicole Douglass, the woman behind the online sailing news outlet Adventures of a Sailor Girl, was recognised with the Sport Promotion Award for her tireless efforts in promoting sailing.
As a good friend and supporter of Down Under Sail, we know how hard working and passionate Nic is about seeing the sport grow and also about entertaining and informing the fans through her interviews.
From the team here at Down Under Sail, we would like to congratulate you Nic on an amazing journey, that has still got a long way to go.
To celebrate Nic’s great achievement, we’ve put the entire feature article about Nic’s adventures that was in the inaugural edition of the DUS Yearbook online for you all to read… Enjoy!
First a nickname, then a blog, now a sailing media outlet with a global following…
Every sailor has a different dream—some want to compete at the highest level, others want to sail around the world and many just want to enjoy themselves every time they get on the water. But for Nicole Douglass, the woman behind Adventures of a Sailor Girl, her dream is already a reality by sharing her “adventures” from around the world through social and online media.
As a country girl from the south coast of New South Wales, Nic quickly became known to her friends as “Sailor Girl” because of her passion for the sport and willingness to show it. She wore the name as a strong part of her personality, which quickly caught on to others.
“I started getting called Sailor Girl quite early on in my schooling…I was the only person at my primary school that sailed, let alone a girl. When I went to high school in Canberra, Sailor Girl morphed in to Girlie, a name that many still call me,” she said.
It started as a nickname but as the world of online media grew, the online “Sailor Girl personality” developed further in to her chat space, blogging site and eventually the social media network we know so well, Facebook. She is also a fair sailor herself, having competed in a number of classes such as the Tasar with her father, the Yngling on the Olympic circuit, women’s match racing and the 470.
Nic completed a degree in Communications (PR/Advertising) in 2006 and started a career in corporate communications that spanned more than 10 years, while also completing postgraduate marketing communications and psychology degrees. But traveling the world and telling her own stories was what she was truly passionate about and willing to pursue further.
“When I realised the Olympics were never going to be a reality for me, I needed something more in my life and Adventures of a Sailor Girl began to morph from an athlete’s blog to a news source, initially during the 2012 Olympics when coverage in Australia was lacking,” she said.
“In 2014 I left my Federal Government communications role and ventured out full time on Sailor Girl as a business. Many thought I was crazy at this point, including at times myself, but I guess I just love sailing that much.”
It’s been about 16 years since Nic took on the ‘Sailor Girl’ persona online, 12 years since she started writing under the name and about two years since the business went full time, with no signs of slowing down. The spark that encouraged her to take it to the next level however was during one of her Olympic campaigns when her team was realising how difficult it was for sailors to secure sponsorship.
She learned the media needed more audio, visual and immediate content of sailing, which would help get potential investors on board. As well as being bored of sitting behind a desk, Nic bit the bullet and took the adventures full time. Living the dream overseas does have its challenges however and Nic said sometimes it might not actually be as glamorous as it seems.
“I gave up my house in March 2015 and I have basically been on the road ever since, basing myself from my parents house. Most of my stuff is in a shed on their block in Milton (NSW). There are some days where I have to choose to pay to get to an event rather than eat, or to buy a new computer or microphone rather than have a bed to sleep in,” she said.
“I am extremely grateful to all the ‘adventurers’ out there, which is the name for the Adventures of a Sailor Girl followers, who are so willing to help me out wherever I go as I aim to bring as much coverage of sailing events directly to the sailors.”
Nic said the way she covered events represented her own unique style, which was based around the updates being live or as close to live as possible. She said she also focused on giving her audience a closer look at the lifestyle outside of the racing for each event to “really give the adventurers the ability to live vicariously, as if they themselves were at the event”.
Throughout Nic’s life she has been on many adventures and has had the opportunity to share stories from a range of different regattas. From winning the 2005 Tasar Worlds with her father and writing about it on her blog to covering the first two instalments of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in Bermuda and New York City just recently—Nic has definitely got some miles up her sleeve.
“Taking the Sailor Girl to the next level is an amazing way to keep showing myself that immersing in your passion can make a difference and also make your dreams a reality,” she said.
“Being in Lorient when Team SCA won their first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race for 2014-15 was incredible, as was being at the finale in Gothenburg; the first Americas Cup event in Bermuda; bringing live coverage of the Rolex Sydney Hobart last year; and especially sailing on Comanche at Les Voile Des Saint-Barth are significant highlights.”
Nic said her adventures were definitely about the people she meets along the way as all sailors and their stories they have to tell were what made it so enjoyable for her. She said there were also some exciting new projects in the pipeline that could take the adventures to an even wider audience so stay tuned.
“We are all the same as sailors. We love our sport, often to the point of madness, and we are all in it for the family and the adventures. This is why Adventures of a Sailor Girl exists and why I am doing all I can to give back to the sport I love,” Nic said.