Eight teams of women have come to St. Petersburg this week to learn the art of America's Cup-style racing. St. Petersburg Yacht Club (SPYC), with support from title sponsor Rolex Watch U.S.A., will host the Rolex Women's Match, an ISAF Graded event.
Organized to introduce women sailors to one-on-one match racing, the regatta features a skills and rules clinic by match racing world champion and America's Cup skipper Ed Baird on Thursday, April 8 and Friday morning, April 9. Round-robin racing begins on Tampa Bay in Sonar keelboats on Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday, April 13.
Participating skippers include: Louise BIENVENU (New Orleans, La.), Kristin BRITT (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Arabella DENVIR (Irvington, Va.), Jo Ann FISHER (Arnold, Md.), Sandy HAYES (Scituate, Mass.), Pat SEIDENSPINNER (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Rachael SILVERSTEIN (St. Petersburg, Fla.), and Kris ZILLMAN (Cleveland, Ohio).
New to the Rolex Women's Match is Kris Zillman, who is keen to move into match-racing competition. "I have fleet raced my entire life and am looking forward to the intensity that match racing requires, especially the crash course on rules and how to interpret them on the water,"
she said. "A friend has done this event twice before and said that the hospitality, clinic, and weather were all worth the trip down."
The youngest team is from the SPYC and led by 15-year-old Rachael SILVERSTEIN who has competed in the past. "The experience is what brings me back every time,"
she said. "Being around such talented women is very inspiring to me, but the chance to compete against them is even better."
The oldest team is proudly led by past SPYC commodore Patricia SEIDENSPINNER. "This is a fantastic event for women of all ability levels to learn match racing,"
said Seidenspinner, who is also the regatta's chairperson. "We are pleased to see teams representing different ages, abilities, and geographic areas."
Results will be posted on St. Petersburg Yacht Club's Rolex Women's Match website at the address below.