The 2005 edition of US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC) will return to the historic maritime city of Annapolis, Maryland and the beautiful waters of the Chesapeake Bay from September 17-23.
The Annapolis Yacht Club also returns as host for a third time, with Taran Teague, an experienced sailor and race committee veteran, serving as the event chair. The biennial regatta, which was founded in 1985, is considered one of the world's pinnacle events for women sailors and utilizes the International J/22 class keelboat, suitable for four-person teams. Entries are expected from across the U.S. as well as Europe, Asia, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
The previous two Rolex IWKC regattas each experienced an increase in the number of competitors, and the same is expected for the 2005 event. "In 2003, over 250 women sailors of all ages and abilities, from across the U.S. and abroad, convened on Annapolis to create a truly one-of-a-kind competition,"
said Denise MacGillivray (Portsmouth, R.I.), chair of US SAILING's Women's International Keelboat Committee, which oversees the Rolex IWKC. "Twenty-two years ago when Rolex joined in partnership with US SAILING to create the first Rolex IWKC, the idea for an international open women's regatta was new and different, and there was a need to give women more opportunities in sailing. Since the event's creation, that idea inspired countless regattas, programs and organizations that today focus on women's sailing."
Previous contestants have included Olympic medallists, America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veterans, world champions and Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year, in addition to women of all ages with varying levels of racing experience. The regatta does not require pre-qualification for entry, however each team must be a member of its country's national governing authority for sailing. Prospective entrants can register online at for direct email updates about the 2005 regatta.
"Annapolis and the Chesapeake have become a hub of activity for the J/22 fleet,"
said local event chair Taran Teague (Annapolis, Md./Raleigh, N.C.). "The Annapolis Yacht Club hosted the J/22 world championship this past May with 130 teams from around the globe, and the club's members are extremely enthusiastic about hosting the 2005 Rolex IWKC."
Returning for the third time as Rolex IWKC race committee chair is Chip Thayer (Annapolis). "Our highly experienced and dedicated team of international race committee officials guarantees the competitors world-class racing and professional race management in a venue well known for its awesome sailing conditions,"
he said. "We admire the training and determination it takes to participate in this kind of international sailboat racing challenge and we will provide the sailors with the very best racing available anywhere."
The Rolex IWKC will feature 11-races in five days and will be preceded by two days for registration, measurement and a practice race. Evening social events will culminate with the traditional Rolex gala and awards presentation. A Rolex timepiece will be awarded to the winning boat's skipper.