Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

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

Mackay BoatsSouthern Spars - 100Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

Vendée Globe – Roura to finish Monday morning with Super Superbigou
Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race. Seven solo racers were still at sea this Sunday afternoon. Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race.
Posted today at 5:40 pm
Spectacular opening for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
The highly acclaimed Antigua Band 1761 took to the stage and lit the blue touch paper. Sailors enjoyed a traditional Caribbean welcome with the Panache Steel Orchestra opening the musical entertainment, complimentary drinks and fine Caribbean fayre.
Posted today at 5:05 pm
H.H NOOD Regatta - Local sailors make waves on Tampa Bay during Day 2
Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class. With sailors from across the country and beyond in town for the annual Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta this weekend, stand-out local skippers were a highlight of Saturday's competition. Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class.
Posted today at 3:27 am
Krabi waters deliver a spectacular Day 3 of the Bay Regatta 2017
Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls / multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for 2017 The Bay Regatta Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls and multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for the 2017 The Bay Regatta, getting the boats off early and enjoying the good breeze and eye-candy that is the Andaman triangle of Phuket-Phang Nga-Krabi.
Posted on 18 Feb
Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story
Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line Parisian political journalist turned solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February.
Posted on 18 Feb
Vendee Globe - Under a square head jury rig and storm jib - Day 104
Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail Conrad Colman updates from the Atlantic as he makes 6.2kts under Jury Rig with 488nm remaining to sail to reach the finish line of the Vendee Globe. The single handed sailor is attempting to become the first competitor in the eight editions of the solo non-stop round the world race to complete the course using only natural energy. He has 200nm under the makeshift rig
Posted on 18 Feb
Amedeo writes his own Vendée Globe story - 11th place
Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place in the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne Journalist and solo ocean race Fabrice Amedeo secured 11th place in the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne at 09 hrs 03 m UTC this morning Saturday 18th February. His excellent finish represents the culmination of a dream to take part in the famous solo ocean race around the world. Sailing Newrest-Matmut Amedeo's elapsed time for the course is 103 d 21h 1 m.
Posted on 18 Feb
EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour - Douillard avenges upset with victory
French sailing star Thierry Douillard avenged shock last-minute defeat in opening stage of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour French sailing star Thierry Douillard avenged a shock last-minute defeat in the opening stage of EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour by snatching victory in round two of the Gulf classic on Friday.
Posted on 18 Feb
2016 Community Sailing and Training Award winners recognized at NSPS
2016 Community Sailing and Training Award winners were celebrated as part of 2017 National Sailing Programs Symposium The 2016 Community Sailing and Training Award winners were celebrated on Thursday night as part of the 2017 National Sailing Programs Symposium (NSPS) at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol in Austin, Texas.
Posted on 18 Feb
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta - Day 1
Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta Series kicked off its first event of year today in St. Petersburg, Fla The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta Series kicked off its first event of the year today in St. Petersburg, Fla. Although light winds delayed racing until mid-afternoon, most of the 13 competing fleets were able to complete two races on the first day of the weekend-long event.
Posted on 18 Feb