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11 March 2008, 10:35 am
Rolex IWKC Returns To Houston In 2009
Sally BARKOW and her crew at the 2007 Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship
Houston will host the 2009 Jennifer CHILDS at the 2007 Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship

Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship 2009
Houston, Texas, USA

Organizers of US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship have announced the dates for the next running of this biennial event.
Houston Yacht Club (HYC) in La Porte, Texas will once again host the regatta, scheduled for 14-17 October, 2009. As part of US SAILING's Championship calendar, the event's mission is to provide women sailors of all ability levels with high-quality racing and an opportunity to compete against top national and international sailors, while providing skills development through nationwide Road to Rolex clinics and mentoring to young women through the Next Step to Rolex programme and the Junior Road to Rolex clinic. The current champion, Sally BARKOW (USA), recently received US SAILING's highest honour as the 2007 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year based in part on her accomplishment of winning the Rolex IWKC a third straight time.

Taking the helm of the local organizing committee is Marie WISE (USA), while Taran TEAGUE (USA) will step into the role as chair of US SAILING's International Women's Keelboat Committee, which oversees the Rolex IWKC. Founded in 1985 by US SAILING and considered one of the world's pinnacle events for women sailors, the Rolex IWKC utilizes the International J/22 class keelboat, suitable for four-person teams.

"There are so many ways in which this regatta brings out the best in our sailing community, both locally and internationally," said WISE, who competed in the 2007 running. "There is such camaraderie between teams - such friendliness - and at the same time some of the fiercest competition to be had on the water. That is exactly why Houston Yacht Club is proud to be host again in 2009. Our club brings a spirit of southern hospitality to the top-level competition that this regatta is known for, and we are planning for even more teams, more guests, more fun, and, of course, some awesome racing. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to Houston for another extraordinary regatta."

As local chair for the 2005 Rolex IWKC, TEAGUE brings a unique perspective to her role as the national committee chair. A certified national race officer, she served as the co-principal race officer at the 2007 event in Houston. TEAGUE echoed WISE's thoughts on the special qualities evident at each running of the regatta.

"We all learned that when you are in Texas everything is big. As Ginny GARRETT, the 2007 HYC regatta chair, passes the helm to Marie for the 2009 regatta, we are confident that Houston YC will come through with Texas hospitality, and do another horizon job in regatta and on-the-course race management," she said. "Already we have received inquiries from competitors, both here and abroad, looking to add the Rolex IWKC to their sailing resumes. It is an unforgettable experience for women sailors. I really encourage anyone who has not taken part to explore the idea of forming a team and competing in 2009."

A Preliminary Notice of Race will be posted online in early 2009 at www.ussailing.org/riwkc and at the event website www.riwkc.com.

Adult and Youth Development

Furthering the event's 22-year mission to provide opportunities for improvement to women sailors of all ages, organizers will offer:

A series of Road to Rolex skills clinics

Clinic will be held around the country, supported by a grant from Rolex. On-shore workshops combined with on-the-water drills prepare sailors for the intense competition of one-design sailing. Where there are enough boats to hold short, windward/leeward races, the winner receives a credit toward her Rolex IWKC registration fees.

Opportunities for youth sailors

1. Next Step to Rolex Programme - An intensive two-day introduction to keelboat racing taught by leading sailing coaches that takes place during the Rolex IWKC.

2. Junior Road to Rolex Clinic - An optional weekend keelboat clinic offered to participants of the U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship, held 7-13 July 2008, in Sausalito, California.

Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship - www.riwkc.com
Dana Paxton
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