US SAILING's 2011 Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship (IWKC), hosted by the Rochester Yacht Club (N.Y.) gets underway on Monday, August 29 in the first of four days of fleet racing in J/22s on Lake Ontario
The Rolex Gala, on Thursday, September 1, will conclude the event with the presentation of US SAILING's Bengt Julin Trophy and a Rolex timepiece to the winning boat's skipper. For a team roster, results, video, photos, Facebook/Twitter updates and daily racing reports, please visit the event website at http://riwkc.ussailing.org.
Many world-renown sailors are returning to the event this year, including the top three teams from 2009. The defending champion team is back for another shot at the title. They compete full-time as "Team Maclaren" for a 2012 Olympic berth in Women's Match Racing as members of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. Team Maclaren includes Olympic Gold medalist and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer, Debbie Capozzi and Liz Bower.
After a break from the 2009 competition, three-time champion and Olympian Sally Barkow returns with her US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics crew Alana O'Reilly along with Annie Lush (GBR) and Jacqueline Campbell.
They'll face stiff competition from 2009 second-place finisher and top hometown team of Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Cory Sertl, Amy Moran, Annemarie Cook and Jane Mastrandrea; and from third-place finisher, Olympian and past champion Carol Cronin returns with Margaret Podlich, Kim Couranz and new addition Karina Vogen Shelton.
A number of promising young newcomers have entered to compete in this talented and diverse fleet. Skipper Allie Blecher is a four-time ICSA All-American and the 2010 Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year. Blecher's team includes, Alyssa Aitken, Molly Robinson and Sarah Somes. All four have sailed, or are still sailing, for College of Charleston. Blecher and Aitken won the 2010 ICSA National Women's Championship.
In her three years at Boston College, Anne Haeger has been named an ICSA All-American each year and was crowned the Quantum Female College Sailor of the Year for 2011. She is currently helming a 470 campaign for the 2012 Olympics and a member of the US Sailing Development Team. Haeger's crew includes, Stephanie Roble, Maggie Shea and Darby Smith. Roble, also a three-time ICSA All-American at Old Dominion University (class of 2011) and 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 Darby, an outstanding crew from the University of South Florida, is currently doing bow for the same match race campaign.
Skipper Kristen Lane's team features several standout crew members, including current US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Genny Tulloch, who is campaigning in women's match racing for the 2012 Olympics. Also joining the team are Molly Carapiet and Jennifer Morgan-Glass.
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 (NED), first sailed the Rolex IWKC in 1995 in Newport, R.I. Since then she has sailed many J/22 events with Bregje Lodewikus (NED), Renske Verbeek (NED) and Leontien Benders (NED).
The 2011 Rolex IWKC begins with registration, measurement and practice racing, followed by the official start of the championship. The Opening Ceremonies take place at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 28. Racing begins Monday, August 29. 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 day. View the 2011 Rolex IWKC roster for a complete list of competing sailors.