Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship preview

by Jake Fish on 24 Aug 2011
Team Lucy leading the fleet - Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship 2010 © Rolex / Dan Nerney
US Sailing’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship (IWKC), being hosted by Rochester Yacht Club (RYC), NY, starts on 28 August and concludes on 1 September.

Many of the women competing aboard the 36 teams – which represent 16 U.S. states and three foreign countries (Canada, Great Britain and The Netherlands) – are packing their pantries with non-perishable groceries, setting up auto reply on their emails, compiling lists for their loving families, and, with any leftover time, squeezing in a few last minute tacks and jibes. Then it’s off to RYC where 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. This biennial regatta, marking its 14th edition in 26 years, will offer these multi-tasking sailors the opportunity to experience top-level competition along with social activities designed to promote camaraderie. 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.

Of the 36 teams competing, almost one third have never sailed in the regatta before including the Pacific Northwest team, skippered by Jaime Mack (White Salmon, Wash.), that will represent Hood River Yacht Club. 'This is the crème de la crème of regattas and we decided that if we were going to spend all of this time doing something then it had to be big,' said Mack who will be taking time from her job as a structural and mechanical engineer and leaving her three-year-old daughter for the longest time ever to compete with close friends Kass Bergstrom, Susan Sutherland and Kateri Lohr (all Hood River, Ore.).

'Between us we have seven kids between the ages of three and 16 and this [the Rolex IWKC] is the perfect reason to give ourselves permission to have fun,' added Mack, explaining that the team has yet to experience a night of practice where the breeze has been below 20 knots in the Columbia River Gorge. 'All of us are big into windsurfing and kite boarding, but the light air work will be much more of a challenge in Rochester,' said Mack. 'Nobody on the boat, except for me, has ever done a national or international competition so going to the East Coast will be a total change and a lot of fun. If we have a few good starts and all have a good time then we’ll be golden.'

Kellie Hawkins Schaffner (Avon Lake, Ohio) first competed in the Rolex IWKC in 2001 and is back this year after taking off the last two events to balance a busy professional life while also raising a daughter and son. Schaffner will race with an all-Ohio crew that is completely new to the regatta: Mindy Sminchak (Euclid), Meredith Dreshar (Westlake) and Hilary DiCenzi (Lakewood).

'In 2003 I was about four months pregnant with my son, and in 2005 three of us on the boat were pregnant. This year a few of us will be missing our children’s first day of school to be here,' said Schaffner whose team has been practicing hard all season while juggling busy schedules. 'It’s such a wonderful opportunity and I like sailing against other women and with women. It adds a different angle, and the Rolex-sponsored events do a great job of putting together a great competition.'


Returning for her sixth Rolex Women’s is Kathy Parks (Shady Side, Md.). 'I crewed for a friend in 2001 and had such a great time that I bought my J/22 right after,' said Parks. She has been driving ever since and returns this year with Lisa Simpkins, who sailed with her in 2009, plus new additions Sarah Phelps and Regan Weaver (all Annapolis, Md.).

'We’re all busy professionals so when it comes to practice it has been very difficult and we must be strict with our calendar,' explained Parks, an Account Executive at State Farm who manages 26 agents across southern Maryland. 'In sailing I’m mid-fleet and in business I’m on top. It is one thing for me to motivate and coach my agents, but out on the water it is humbling and I have to remember to stay focused, not give up and have confidence. I really try to have a great team spirit out there. We are treating this like a vacation, but all of us love that sense of accomplishment and doing well. We’re looking forward to a really great competition and hope to be close to the strong sailors and learn from them.'

There will be plenty to learn with many world-renown sailors returning to the event, including all three podium finishers from 2009: defending champions Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly O’Bryan Vandemoer (Stanford, Calif.), Liz Bower (Rochester, N.Y.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.); hometown team and second-place finisher Cory Sertl (Rochester) with Amy Moran (Pittsford), Annemarie Cook (Rochester) and Jane Mastrandrea (Webster); and Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) with Margaret Podlich (Severna Park, Md.), Kim Couranz (Annapolis, Md.) and new addition Karina Vogen Shelton (Watsonville, Calif.).

Not only will all four corners of the U.S. be represented with teams coming from northern Massachusetts down to the tip of Florida and out west from Washington state to southern California, but also Canada with four teams and The Netherlands with the return of the sixth-place finishers from the 2009 Rolex IWKC. The Netherlands team has been sailing together for the past five years and skipper Marike Poulie (Amsterdam), an international attorney, first sailed the Rolex IWKC in 1995 in Newport, Rhode Island. Since then she has sailed many J/22 events with Bregje Lodewikus (Haarlem), Renske Verbeek (Amsterdam) and Leontien Benders (Hilversum).

The 2011 Rolex IWKC begins with registration, measurement and practice racing, followed by the official start of the championship: the Opening Ceremonies at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 28. The first warning signal for racing each day will be given at 10:00 a.m., with daily awards and social events taking place at the conclusion of racing each Rolex International Womens Keelboat Championship website

Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Barz Optics - Melanin LensesRS Sailing 660x82

Related Articles

Still all to play for in Act 2 as light airs curtail racing in Qingdao
The Extreme Sailing Series™ fleet will go into the second half of Act 2 in Qingdao split by just 12 points on day two. The Extreme Sailing Series™ fleet will go into the second half of Act 2 in Qingdao split by just 12 points after super-light winds prevented racing on day two.
Posted today at 4:31 am
Thriller around Antigua - Peters and May Round Antigua Race
The Peters and May Round Antigua Race produced a spectacular match race with an unbelievable finish. The Peters and May Round Antigua Race produced a spectacular match race between two magnificent ocean greyhounds with an unbelievable finish. Sir Peter Harrison's British ketch Sojana and Jean-Paul Riviere's French sloop, Nomad IV battled it out for the 52 miles, just a few minutes apart for the duration of the race.
Posted today at 2:15 am
FAST40+ Spring Regatta - Hitchhiker comes out fighting
Hosted by Royal Southern Yacht Club, the first day of the FAST40+ Spring Regatta produced some highly competitive racing Hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the first day of the FAST40+ Spring Regatta produced some highly competitive racing. Just a few weeks ago, Bas de Voogd's Hitchhiker was blown off its cradle and they were not sure if they would even make their debut in the class at the FAST40+ Spring Regatta, but it was the opposition that was blown away in the first two races.
Posted today at 1:51 am
Team Aqua takes control of RC44 Sotogrande Cup
With racing cancelled yesterday due to severe conditions, the fleet ventured out today in marginally improved conditions Once again the wind, although shifty, was less of an issue than the sea state, which was initially so massive that the RC44s were disappearing up to their spreaders in the troughs.
Posted on 29 Apr
Skiff success in first Hyeres World Cup finals day
Fletcher and Bithell held on tightly to the silver spot going in to the 49er finale to secure a third straight podium The French Riviera venue served up perfect conditions for the first of the event’s two medal race days, with bright sunshine and winds averaging 15 knots providing the ideal playground.
Posted on 29 Apr
All on for Team Oman Air in second half of Extreme Sailing Series
Team Oman Air have everything to play for going into the back half of the second round after racing in Qingdao Skipper Phil Robertson's men spent almost three hours poised for action as they waited for the breeze to materialise but, unlike yesterday's opener when a 15-knot wind appeared halfway through the afternoon, it wasn't to be.
Posted on 29 Apr
World Sailing Show - Video news - May 2017 - Volvo 65, America's Cup
May 2017 edition of World Sailing News, which this month features Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup and more May 2017 edition of World Sailing News, which this month features: Winding the clock back on a Volvo 65 and taking a race boat that already has over 40,000 hard miles under its keel might not be your idea of a perfect start for another lap of the planet. But the newly refurbished fleet of Volvo 65s are better than new. We went to Portugal to find out how this can be so.
Posted on 29 Apr
Top Chinese sailor aims to inspire in hometown of Qingdao
24-year-old, better known by his nickname Black, is back in his home city of Qingdao as Extreme Sailing Series™ returns The 24-year-old, better known by his nickname Black, is back in his home city of Qingdao as the Extreme Sailing Series™ returns to China’s Olympic Sailing City for an incredible seventh time.
Posted on 29 Apr
Sailing World Cup - Medal races on LIVE NOW - Day 1
Live coverage of the first day of Medal Racing at Sailing World Cup Hyeres starts at 12:00 CEST Live coverage of the first day of Medal Racing at Sailing World Cup Hyeres starts at 12:00 CEST . First up is the Mens 49er skiff
Posted on 29 Apr
Annapolis to Newport Seminar - Navigation, Routing and Weather
Navigation, Routing and Weather, being held at the AYC Clubhouse, wraps up the popular and informative seminar series. Navigation, Routing and Weather, being held at the AYC Clubhouse, wraps up the popular and informative seminar series. There are few sailors anywhere in the United States who have logged as many ocean miles as Tarry Lomax and Tom Schubert.
Posted on 29 Apr