August 29, 2011
Rolex International Women's Keelboat
Rochester, NY, USA
Rochester Yacht Club Welcomes Competitors for 14th Biennial Regatta
Rochester, N.Y., USA (August 28, 2011) – While Hurricane Irene battered the eastern seaboard of the U.S.A., 36 teams of all-women sailors – from 16 states across the U.S.A., Canada, and as far away as The Netherlands – were making their way to Rochester Yacht Club (RYC) for US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship. “Irene” did have an effect on local conditions in the form of a northerly breeze in the mid-20s that whipped up whitecaps on Lake Ontario and sent four-foot waves crashing over the seawall at RYC – something not seen in the 15 years since a breakwater was installed at the mouth of the Genesee River roughly half a mile away. The net result was that the day’s planned practice race was cancelled, Opening Ceremonies were moved indoors, and the warning signal for the first day of racing (Monday, August 29) moved back two hours to 1200 to allow boats to finish weighing and measuring in. RYC has a well-established reputation for being adaptable from having stepped in to host the 2009 edition of the Rolex IWKC – with only a year to plan – after Houston Yacht Club was devastated in Hurricane Ike (2008) and had to give up hosting the event for a second time.
“We love hosting this event and we were thrilled when they liked what we did in ’09 enough to give us a second opportunity to host it,” said Regatta Chairman Chris Dorsey (Irondequoit, N.Y.). Explaining that RYC is excited to have many of the competitors back as well as quite a few new faces, Dorsey said competitors should be prepared for “everything” this week. “For instance tomorrow, they’re probably going to have a lot more sea than they have wind because it will take a while for the lake to lay down from what is blowing through here now. And I think later in the week they’re going to have to adjust to having significantly lighter air than what they’re going to have tomorrow. So the good news is they will all be tested under a variety of conditions and it [the winner] won’t be that whoever is good in heavy air is going to walk away with a watch.”
Among those newer faces are two teams of college sailors who are able to compete because the event was moved up to late summer, from its traditional October dates, allowing the many students and teachers who will shortly return to school a chance to come to come to Lake Ontario to compete.
One of those teams is helmed by Allie Blecher (Fullerton, Calif.), a four-time Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association All-American (2007-2010) who was named ICSA’s 2010 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year. Blecher and the rest of her team are all veterans of the College of Charleston sailing team: Molly Robinson (Sausalito, Calif.) is an alumnus, while Sarah Somes (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) will be a junior this fall and Alyssa Aitken (Sandwich, Mass.) a senior. Aitken and Blecher won the 2010 ICSA Women’s National Championship sailing in A-Division, and Robinson also crewed for Blecher during her time at Charleston.
Even though they have not had much time to sail together as a team Aitken was confident that, in terms of communication, their prior experience will pay off. “I have grown up sailing J/22s on Thursdays and Sundays at my home club [Hyannis Yacht Club],” said Aitken. “Sarah has a good bit of experience on keelboats and she did bow on our sloop team this fall at College of Charleston. I have been practicing and racing in J/22s over the summer and Allie, Sarah and Molly have spent time racing together out in California over the past few months.”
Another team of college sailors is helmed by Anne Haeger (Lake Forest, Ill.), who sails for Boston College (class of 2012). A three-time ICSA All-American, Haeger was named the Quantum Women’s College Sailor of the Year for 2011 and is currently helming a 470 campaign for the 2012 Olympics. Sailing with Haeger is Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.), Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) and Darby Smith (Marblehead, Mass.). Roble, also a three-time ICSA All-American (at Old Dominion University, class of 2011), is currently driving a match race campaign for the 2012 Olympics. Shea, a two-time ICSA All-American at Connecticut College, is currently trimming main for a match race campaign for the 2012 Olympics, while Smith, an outstanding crew at USF, is doing bow for the same match race campaign.
Keynote speaker Dawn Seymour (Canandaigua, N.Y.) provided the highlight of today’s Opening Ceremony. At 94 years-young, Seymour movingly inspired the competitors as she seamlessly wove together her love of flying, including a stint as a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilot) in World War II, her experiences learning to sail on a Snipe with her husband Mort, and the opportunities and advances for women.
“After WWII there was little advancement for women until the 1960s, and when Title IX legislation passed it affected your careers and opportunities immensely,” said Seymour, whose daughter Amy Seymour Moran, and granddaughter, Merritt Moran, are both competing in the Rolex IWKC. “Oh how many long years it’s taken for you to be racing in this Rolex IWKC! Three cheers for Rolex, three cheers for you women sailors today!” Born before her mother could vote, Seymour explained that the challenges of WWII brought opportunities to women once found only in their dreams. “Flying and sailing are closely aligned. Pilots have an extra advantage, the ability to leave earth. But the air and the wind are unifiers and that is the bond shared between us, this ability to wait, to endure patience until the sky clears, and winds decrease in speed. There is beauty in the two environments and risk too. I share your desire to be the best or the safest pilot or sailor. I thank those teachers, coaches, instructors and leaders who have opened doors of opportunity to me and to girls and to women. I admire you for your dedication to a way of life that shows your ability and skills and tenacity. You are contributing to women’s history. You are champions.”
Racing at the 2011 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship begins tomorrow, Monday, August 29, with the warning signal for the first race sounding at 12:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 29, through Thursday, September 1, the first warning signal on each day will be given at 10:00 a.m. Daily awards and social events take place at the conclusion of racing each day. The four days of racing on Lake Ontario, under the leadership of Principal Race Officer Hank Stuart, will culminate with the crowning of a new champion on September 1. The Rolex Gala will conclude the event with the presentation of US SAILING’s Bengt Julin Trophy and a Rolex timepiece to the winning boat’s skipper.
About the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship
Every two years women from around the globe set sail for the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, hoping to lay claim to one of sailing’s most revered titles while experiencing high-caliber racing alongside top competitors of the sport. One of the longest running women’s one-design regattas in existence, “The Rolex Women’s,” as veterans often refer to it, has hosted over 2,400 sailors from 23 countries since its founding in 1985, and has been credited with advancing the overall level of women’s competitive sailing and encouraging more participation in the sport. For more information: http://riwkc.ussailing.org/RIWKC_Home.htm
About Rochester Yacht Club: Incorporated in 1877, Rochester Yacht Club celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2002 and is still going strong. The first regatta was held in 1877 with eight sail boats competing and most recently it hosted 102 boats at the J/22 World Championship. Its purpose is to provide and encourage interests and instruction in areas of yachts and yachting, seamanship, racing and traditions of yachting. Seven miles from the heart of Rochester, Monroe County, New York, RYC is located on the south shore of Lake Ontario and is accessible from the Genesee River.
August 30, 2011
No Racing for Day One of Championship Series
Rochester, N.Y., USA (August 29, 2011) – An almost total lack of breeze today prevented the 36 teams who traveled to Rochester Yacht Club for the 14th biennial edition of US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC) from starting their assault on the championship title. In stark contrast to yesterday’s conditions which forced the cancellation of the practice race due to too much wind, the usual thermal breeze needed for racing was impeded because the water temperature matched the air temperature. The wait for the elusive breeze on Lake Ontario was utilized by the Race Committee who ran several practice starts to make the time productive. Ultimately, however, the decision was made to bring the competitors ashore for the day.
Of the 36 teams competing here this week, at least three include crew fresh from the Next Step to Rolex program which attracted 26 participants from eight states, including Hawaii. The two-day clinic precedes the championship and was held at the same venue, Rochester Yacht Club, on August 25-25. It focused on advanced keelboat racing skills and techniques using the same J/22s that are being sailed in the championship races. Since being established in 1997 as an outreach program of the Rolex IWKC, the Next Step to Rolex program has exposed junior women sailors, ages 13 to 17, to successful women sailors who have gone on to sail at the college level or pursue Olympic dreams.
For 15-year-old Anna Huebschmann (Youngstown, N.Y.), attending the Next Step to Rolex program was a first, as will be racing in the Rolex IWKC as a skipper. "It was a lot of fun,” said Huebschmann of the Next Step to Rolex. A member of the Buffalo High School Sailing Team, she complimented the coaches – one of whom was Allie Blecher (Fullerton, Calif.), a four-time Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association All-American (2007-2010) who was named ICSA’s 2010 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year -- for their patience and acknowledged learning a lot during the clinic.
Huebshman was also enthusiastic about the upcoming racing. "My team works really well together and it’s gonna be fun! The biggest challenge will be the starting line because it will have so many good people on it," she added. "I’m most excited about being able to meet and sail against so many incredible women sailors."
All four of the high school sailors based on the Jersey Shore participated in the Next Step to Rolex as practice for sailing the Rolex IWKC together. At the helm of the New Jersey team will be Kayla Ellis (New Gretna) with crew Amanda Attardi (Cedar Run), both 16, and Emily Raleigh (Brant Beach) and Ange Nissen (Long Beach Township), both 17. Ellis and Nissen attend Southern Regional High School, while Raleigh and Brooks attend Monsignor Donovan High School.
And while this is the second time Ellis has participated in the Next Step to Rolex, it will be the first time she will compete in the Rolex IWKC, and it will be the first regatta in the J/22 for the entire team.
"I'm excited to be sailing against world-class Olympic sailors," said Ellis explaining that the team is expecting to learn a lot and looks forward to the whole experience of meeting new people. "We don't know much about the boat yet so it will be keeping up that will be the hardest part."
Not only did local sailors Katja Sertl (Rochester) and Christine Moloney (Glenwood) participate in the Next Step program in 2009, they returned for the 2011 Next Step to Rolex to prepare for their second time competing in the event along with Merritt Moran (Pittsford) and Julie Wiesner (Rochester). Both Sertl and Moran have additional ties to the event – their mothers are two fourths of a team that has competed together in the previous two Rolex IWKC events: Cory Sertl (Rochester) and Amy Seymour Moran (Pittsford) who sail as Team Lucy with Annemarie Cook (Rochester) and Jane Mastrandrea (Webster), and are racing again in this 14th edition of the championship.
The senior Sertl, in fact, is a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and was also one of the coaches for the Next Step to Rolex clinic. “The goal of the program is to give junior sailors a chance to improve their skills in a different type of boat they would normally sail,” she said explaining that the clinic focuses on teamwork, communication and skills essential to racing keelboats – which also translates to other pursuits – and pushes the junior women “to reach beyond what they know and to set their sights a little higher.”
Racing at the 2011 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, August 30, with the warning signal for the first race sounding at 10:00 a.m. with racing continuing through Thursday, September 1. Daily awards and social events take place at the conclusion of racing each day. The racing takes place on Lake Ontario and will culminate with the crowning of a new champion on September 1. The Rolex Gala will conclude the event with the presentation of US SAILING’s Bengt Julin Trophy and a Rolex timepiece to the winning boat’s skipper.
Four Winners in Five Races Set The Pace As Racing Gets Underway
Rochester, N.Y., USA (August 30, 2011) – There were smiles all around when five races were sailed today on Lake Ontario as competition at the 14th edition of US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC) got underway in earnest. With no races able to be held yesterday due to lack of breeze, today saw the official first championship races held under abundant sunshine with temperatures in the upper 70s. More importantly, the breeze, ranging from 8-12 knots, was “idyllic” according to Regatta Chairman Chris Dorsey (Irondequoit, N.Y.) who said that the Rochester Yacht Club Race Committee, spectators, and the competitors especially, were all happy with their day on the water.
Four winners in five races, along with a tight mix of competitors finishing second and third in individual races, has resulted in a tight battle at the top of the scoreboard, as some of the most elite women sailors in the U.S.A. strutted their stuff in J/22s on Lake Ontario.
The defending champions – Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Liz Bower (Rochester, N.Y.) – won the first race of the day and were followed across the finish line by the local team of Donna Faust (Webster), with crew Sarah DePeters (Rochester), Joy Martin (Stanley) and Jennifer Norton (Rochester). Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wisc.), who won this championship three consecutive times (‘03, ‘05, and ‘07) before sitting out the 2009 event because of scheduling conflicts, drove to a third in the race. She is competing with Annie Lush (Poole, Dorset, GBR), Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Jackie Campbell (Washington, D.C.).
The second race of the day was won by Olympian Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.), who has Kim Couranz (Annapolis, Md.), Margaret Podlich (Severna Park, Md.) and Karina Vogen Shelton (Watsonville, Calif.) in crew. Cronin, who finished the 2009 Rolex IWKC in third overall sailing with Couranz and Podlich, is sailing the championship for the 10th time. She won the title in 1991 as a crew. Second in the race was the young team of local sailors Katja Sertl (Rochester), Christine Moloney (Glenwood), Merritt Moran (Pittsford) and Julie Wiesner (Rochester). Another local sailor, Kristen Werner (Rochester), was third in race two with help from her Canadian crew of Brandy Cocoroch (Toronto), Katelyn Thompson (Whistler) and Samantha Webster (Toronto).
According to one observer Barkow’s team “crushed it” in race three to edge out Tunnicliffe’s team for the win. Third in that race was JoAnn Fisher (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.), Lesley Cook (Annapolis), Linda Epstein (Arlington, Mass.), Terry Hamilton (Charleston, S.C.) and Lynda Hiller (Annapolis).
Cronin’s team took their second win of the day in the fourth race, with the local team of Cory Sertl (Rochester), Amy Seymour Moran (Pittsford), Annemarie Cook (Rochester) and Jane Mastrandrea (Webster) finishing second. Third in race four was Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.), Molly Carapiet (Belvedere, Calif.), Genny Tulloch (Tiburon) and Jennifer Morgan-Glass (Seattle, Wash.).
Sertl, who has won this championship twice and is a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, won the final race of the day, while Donna Faust’s local team picked up their second second-place finish for the day. Third for the race was Elizabeth Backus Barker (Rocky River, Ohio), Kate Backus Keane (Bay Village, Ohio) and Taylor Robinson (Palo Alto, Calif.). Barker and Keane are cousins, and have been friends with Robinson since age four or five. The trio, who grew up sailing together on Lake Erie, has a unique relationship with this event.
“Our mothers first introduced us to the Rolex IWKC at a young age, not by having us sail with them, but rather always missing the first week of us going back to school,” said Barker. “From an early age, we knew this regatta had to be something special.”
Overall standings after five races have Barkow’s team holding the lead. Their 18th-place finish in the final race of the day has been counted as their drop score, for a total of 13 points. Tied at 17 points each is Cronin Racing followed by Sertl’s Team Lucy. Tunnicliffe’s Team McLaren stands fourth overall with 18 points and Faust’s Team WWJD is fifth with 21.
“It was really hard sailing today,” said Carol Cronin explaining that the breeze was very shifty with streaks of pressure that were narrow across the course. “Because it [the breeze] was off the land, there were puffs and lulls and streaks of breeze and you’ve got to stay in the puffs and out of the holes.” She commended her crew for a great job spotting the breeze, adding “All I had to do was get off the starting line and drive.” Of her position in the overall standings, she said that she was not feeling any pressure and was just happy to be here. “There are a lot of good sailors here.”
Racing at the 2011 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship continues tomorrow, Wednesday, August 30, for the 36 competing teams, with the warning signal for the first race sounding at 10:00 a.m. Daily awards and social events take place at the conclusion of racing. Racing concludes on Thursday, September 1, and will culminate with the crowning of a new champion. The Rolex Gala closes the event with the presentation of US SAILING’s Bengt Julin Trophy and a Rolex timepiece to the winning boat’s skipper.
Leap Frog on Lake Ontario
Rochester, N.Y., USA (August 31, 2011) – When they say the wait is worth it, it usually is, and in this case the wait for the elusive breeze on Lake Ontario paid off for 36 teams on the second day of racing at US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC). It was early afternoon before the light and variable wind gave way and breeze began to build from the east, eventually settling in around 12 knots which allowed a spirited game of leap frog to take place amongst the teams at the top of the standings.
The first win of the day went to an experienced local team, which briefly moved them up from third to second in the overall standings. Team Lucy is helmed by Cory Sertl (Rochester), a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year who has won this championship twice, sailing with long-time crew Amy Seymour Moran (Pittsford), Annemarie Cook (Rochester) and Jane Mastrandrea (Webster).
When the defending champions won race two of the day – Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.), Molly Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.) and Liz Bower (Rochester, N.Y.) racing as Team Maclaren – they too made a leap, going from fourth to first in the overall standings. Finishing fifth in the race sent yesterday’s leaders – Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wisc.), Annie Lush (Poole, Dorset, GBR), Alana O’Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) and Jackie Campbell (Washington, D.C.) – down to third overall, while Sertl’s Team Lucy remained second overall on the strength of a third-place in the race. Things were heating up though, as Tunnicliffe and Sertl were now tied on points at 21, with Barkow just one point behind.
Winning the third and final race of the day was Kirsten Werner (Rochester), with Brandy Cocoroch (Toronto, CAN), Katelyn Thompson (Whistler, CAN) and Samantha Webster (Toronto, CAN). Werner was followed across the line by Barkow and Tunnicliffe, a result that popped Barkow back up to second overall.
“The racing was great,” said Debbie Capozzi, Tunnicliffe’s crew on Team Maclaren, who has crewed to the win of this event four times. “It was a great day. We had to wait a little bit for breeze, but it was well worth it. It’s a great fleet, it’s a really deep fleet and we felt we did pretty well today. The fleet is so good that if you miss one little decision, you’re going to get stalled. It’s grinding it out, keeping with the top pack and then making gains where you can. We made a lot of good decisions that we’re psyched with and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
With today’s three races added to the five completed yesterday, the standings point to a dramatic showdown when the final day of championship racing takes place tomorrow, Thursday, September 1. Anna Tunnicliffe’s Team MacLaren is first overall, followed by Sally Barkow’s team, both tied at 24 points. Cory Sertl’s Team Lucy is five points back, followed by Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) and JoAnn Fisher (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.), who are tied on 29 pts.
Racing at the 2011 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship concludes tomorrow, Thursday, September 1, for the 36 competing teams. The warning signal for the first race of the day will sound at 10:00 a.m., with the crowning of a new champion at the conclusion of racing. The Rolex Gala closes the event with the presentation of US SAILING’s Bengt Julin Trophy and a Rolex timepiece to the winning boat’s skipper.
Full results and additional information are available on the event website: http://riwkc.ussailing.org/ and daily videos are available on T2P: http://www.T2P.tv/
Dramatic Finale on Lake Ontario As Sertl Wins Championship Title
Rochester, N.Y., USA (September 1, 2011) – Only Hollywood could have scripted a more dramatic and exciting finale as racing for US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC) came to its nail-biting conclusion today on Lake Ontario.
When the 36 teams of all-women sailors – who hail from 16 U.S. states, Canada, Great Britain and The Netherlands – left Rochester Yacht Club this morning, there were eight races on the scoreboard and a very tight point spread among the top-three in the standings. First overall was skipper Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), the defending champion, followed by Sally Barkow (Nashotah, Wisc.), equal on points at 24. Just five points back was local favourite Cory Sertl (Rochester), while Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) and JoAnn Fisher (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.), rounded out the top-five tied on 38 points.
The first race got started in roughly eight knots of breeze and Sertl was in the lead by the weather mark; going on to handily win the race. She was followed across the line by Kirsten Lane (San Francisco, Calif.), Meghan Jordan (East Amherst, N.Y.) and Sally Barkow. Anna Tunnicliffe was eighth. Barkow’s fourth put her back on top of the standings with 28 points, while Sertl was second with 30. Tunnicliffe was third with 32 points.
Racing was postponed after storms in the area sucked away the breeze, and two general recalls took place before the Race Committee was able to start race 10 in roughly eight knots of breeze. Kirsten Lane (San Francisco, Calif.) won the race, followed across the line by Katie Coleman Nicoll (Etobicoke, CAN) and Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.). Katja Sertl (Rochester) was fourth, JoAnn Fisher (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) fifth and Cory Sertl sixth. Barkow was eighth, and Tunnicliffe, who had a bad start and went to the wrong side of the course, picked up an 18th place finish that became her drop score. The recalculated overall standings saw Sertl take over the lead ahead of Barkow, although they were tied with 36 points. Tunnicliffe remained third overall with 42 points.
With only 30 minutes left before the 3:00 p.m. deadline after which no race could be started, the 11th and final race of the day began in 10-11 knots of breeze from the east. Sertl led for much of the race, but Barkow edged past her to cross the line first followed by Sertl’s daughter, 17-year-old Katja Sertl, and Anna Tunnicliffe, before Cory Sertl heard the horn for her own third-place finish. Barkow’s subsequent disqualification for an incident at the start not only added 37 points to her scoreline but also thwarted her from winning the championship. She finished third with 54 points, behind Anna Tunnicliffe with 44 points, and Cory Sertl with 39.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Sertl of her third win of this championship title. “To do this with all four of us from Rochester Yacht Club, and especially since our focus this summer has been on taking our kids to events and not so much on our own personal sailing. To be able to relax and pull together our experiences – sailing together, sailing here and sailing the J/22 – is just really satisfying.”
Sertl had given her boat to her daughter to sail, and had chartered another boat to race herself which her husband, Mark, set up like her boat so that she could be very comfortable in it. “It’s so great to see Katja and the girls do so well,” said Sertl. “I know my boat’s fast, but she really made it go real fast.”
Sertl and her team – Amy Seymour Moran (Pittsford), Annemarie Cook (Rochester) and Jane Mastrandrea (Webster) – competed together at both the 2007 and 2009 Rolex Women’s International Keelboat Championship. A two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, Sertl has competed in the Rolex IWKC 11 out of the 14 times it has been held in the 26 years since its inception, winning twice previously: as crew for Betsy Alison at the first running of this event in 1985 at Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I.; and as skipper in 2001 when the event was held at Annapolis Yacht Club in Maryland.
Full results and additional information are available on the event website: http://riwkc.ussailing.org/ and daily videos are available on T2P: http://www.T2P.tv/