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Women's Winter Invitational Regatta at San Diego Yacht Club

by San Diego Yacht Club 7 Feb 16:31 PST February 4-5, 2023
Women's Winter Invitational Regatta © Cynthia Sinclair

The team from New York Yacht Club (NYYC) is heading out of the sun and back to the chilly Northeast with a well-deserved title in the books: 2023 Women's Winter Invitational Champions! Skipper Marly Isler and crew Hope Wilson, Sarah Williams, and Marlena Fauer were first-time competitors in the Women's Winter Invitational. Teams from 24 yacht clubs competed over two days in 66 races to award the winner of the San Diego Yacht Club's fifth annual Women's Winter Invitational Regatta (WWIR), February 4 and 5, 2023.

Isler attributes her win to the team working together. "Each race posed unique challenges - but my crew tirelessly kept our boat rumbling," she said. "Hope is likely icing her biceps today from her detail-oriented jib trimming. Marlena was an animal calling tactics downwind. She made sure we didn't lose sight of the breeze oscillations even when packs of boats got too close for comfort. And Sarah was constantly adjusting our heel and controls."

The WWIR is sailed in La Playa Cove, with easy spectating from the SDYC docks. In the crowd for NYYC were SDYC Staff Commodore Tom Fetter and Jane Fetter, Isler's grandparents. Isler grew up sailing at SDYC and said, "It was memorable to sail with my teammates on the body of water where I learned to sail. I spent countless hours in my green sabot in La Playa during the SDYC junior program, and it was special being back home."

Coronado Yacht Club won second place, with skipper Samantha Hartsell, also an SDYC member, and crew Heather Furey and Lina Carper. San Diego Yacht Club won third place with skipper Christina Lewis and crew Julie Mitchell and Erika Barth.

The WWIR began in 2018 with the intention to encourage women to participate in keelboat racing by bringing sailors from around the country together for a warm Southern California experience in the cold of winter. The regatta continues to grow in popularity and is a sought-after invitation among yacht clubs. Just recently, the regatta won the US Sailing One Design Regatta Award.

Regatta Co-Chair Jessica Sweeney said, "Fierce competition at the regatta made it an exciting event, with a final round that featured thrilling moves from the top competitors." She noted it is the social events that set the regatta apart, "The laughter and good times on shore create the unique camaraderie of this fantastic event."

The weekend festivities kicked off on Friday, February 3 with a Commodore's welcome reception, which gave competitors and Club members the opportunity to meet. Participants and volunteers enjoyed yoga, paddleboarding, and pickleball throughout the weekend. Saturday night's competitor's dinner gave teams a chance to unwind together with karaoke and dancing.

Racing began Saturday, February 4, with light winds that built through the afternoon. The all-women volunteer Race Committee, led by PRO Susi Graff and Race Committee Chair Summer Greene, completed 42 races on the first day, which gave each team seven races. On day two, Sunday, February 5, winds filled in after noon but remained variable, challenging the tactical and windfinding skills of the teams. After the 60th rotation, the top six teams moved into the gold finals and the next top six moved into the petit finals. They each finished three races to determine the final standings.

The San Diego Yacht Club is excited to plan the next Women's Winter Invitational Regatta for 2024 and continue building on this iconic weekend of racing. Yacht Clubs worldwide can register their interest for 2024 via this form.

Thank you to our sponsors Helly Hansen, Old Harbor Distilling, Sipwell Wine Co., Bay Club Hotel and Marina, and Ashland Hard Seltzer.

Overall Results:

PosTeamSkipperClubRR Carryover PointsR1R2R3Pts
Gold Fleet ‑ Finals
1NYYCMarly IslerNew York Yacht Club1.51125.5
2CYCSamantha HartsellCoronado Yacht Club2.525110.5
3SDYCChristina LewisSan Diego Yacht Club234413
4CALSimone StaffCal Yacht Club0.543613.5
5BWYCShelley CaplanBay Waveland Yacht Club362516
6NHYCCarolyn SmithNewport Harbor Yacht Club156315
Silver Fleet ‑ Petits
1EYCKelsey WheelerEastern Yacht Club0.52237.5
2AmYCFiona WalshAmerican Yacht Club31149
3SSAPam CorwinSevern Sailing Association255113
4SPYCAmy Baxter‑FelderSt. Petersberg Yacht Club1.546213.5
5NFYCGinjer YachechakNorth Flathead Yacht Club134614
6SSCLaura DagleishSeabrook Sailing Club2.563516.5

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