Photos Tim Wilkes/Rolex
This past weekend, 25 young women sailors traveled to the Rochester Yacht Club in Rochester, N.Y., to take place in the Next Step to Rolex Program. The young women, ranging in age from 14-17 and representing junior programs from across the U.S. and as far away as Hawaii, were selected to participate in the once-of-a-lifetime keelboat clinic, the core outreach program of US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, scheduled for October 7-10 at RYC. Organized by 1988 U.S. Olympian and two-time winner of the Rolex IWKC Cory Sertl (Rochester), the weekend featured all-day clinics with the focus on making the transition from dinghies to keelboats.
“The girls really came with a lot of experience in different kinds of boats,” said Sertl, noting that the caliber of sailors participating was more advanced than when she first coached the program, in 2001. “They picked things up quickly and we got more accomplished than we ever thought we would.”
In addition to Sertl, a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, coaches included Sertl’s Rolex IWKC crew Amy Moran, along with 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist and US SAILING’s 2008 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Justin DaMore, RYC’s sailing director Jon Faudree and RYC’s junior sailing director Liz Bower.
The program utilized International J/22s, the same keelboat used in the Rolex IWKC, with four sailors on each accompanied by a coach. The weekend centered around teamwork, communication and the skills essential to racing keelboats. Easily identified by their bright buoy-yellow caps, with the Rolex IWKC logo and ‘2009 Next Step to Rolex’ embroidered on the back, the young women concluded their learning experience with a video debrief by coach Faudree, who followed the J/22s throughout the two days. For comparison, he showed the same maneuvers executed by Tunnicliffe and team on a J/22. The enthusiastic group noted the significant difference in style and boat handling.
“We talked about doing a mini regatta at the conclusion,” said Sertl, “but we didn’t want to risk having the boats damaged before regatta. For most of the girls, their time-on-distance wasn’t as good because they’re new to these boats. They were all together, learning to sail in a non-competitive atmosphere. They’re always in a competitive environment when they’re racing, so they were comforted by the fact they didn’t have to race.
Three of RYC Next Step to Rolex Program participants will get to take what they’ve learned straight to the race course this week when they make their debut as a team in the Rolex IWKC. Merritt Moran, Katja Sertl and Julie Wiesner will team up with veteran bow person Martha Parker (Newport, R.I.) for racing this Wednesday through Saturday.
At the conclusion of the weekend, Sertl presented the coaches and junior sailors with a commemorative group photo commissioned by Rolex.
2009 Next Step to Rolex Program participants:
1. Lindsey Andrade, Kaneohe Yacht Club
2. Jennifer Borshoff, Rochester Yacht Club
3. Claire Brodie, Rochester Yacht Club
4. Rachel Bryer, Conanicut Yacht Club
5. Jaimie Chicoine, Hoover Sailing Club
6. Kelsey Corbishley, Rochester YC
7. Katia DaSilva, East Greenwich Yacht Club/FAST
8. Arielle deLisser, Coral Reef Yacht Club / Barnegat Light Yacht Club
9. Kayla Ellis, Brant Beach Yacht Club
10. Olivia Graham, Rochester Yacht Club
11. Abby Hartmann, Port Madison YC
12. Emma Huntress, Rochester Yacht Club
13. Emily Johnson, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
14. Christine Moloney, Buffalo Canoe Club
15. Merritt Moran, Rochester Yacht Club
16. Kayla Oak, Buffalo Canoe Club
17. Sarah Redmond, Bainbridge High School Sailing Team
18. Abby Rohman, Beach Point Club/Lisot
19. Kendall Sanson, Port Madison Yacht Club
20. Taylor Scheuermann, Coral Reef Yacht Club
21. Katja Sertl, Rochester YC
22. Sarah Stubbs, American Yacht Club
23. Linnhe Thomson, Rochester Yacht Club
24. Julia Wiesner, Rochester Yacht Club
25. Lindsay Wright, Buffalo Canoe Club
The Next Step to Rolex Program was established in 1997 to expose and mentor juniors interested in taking the “next step” toward advanced women’s sailing. Since its creation as a complementary component of the Rolex IWKC, the Next Step to Rolex Program has served as an inspiration for hundreds of young women from across the U.S. and abroad.
For more information about the 2009 Next Step to Rolex Program, contact Cory Sertl at email@example.com or the Rochester Yacht Club at 585-342-5511. To follow the 2009 Rolex IWKC, visit www.riwkc.com or follow www.twitter.com/ussailing.
About the Rolex IWKC: Inaugurated in 1985 at the instigation of US SAILING's Women’s Championship Committee, the Rolex IWKC quickly became the premier women’s sailing event in the U.S. and worldwide. Held biennially, the event provides women keelboat and offshore sailors high quality racing and an opportunity to compete with top national and international women sailors. The winning team will receive US SAILING’s Bengt Julin Trophy.
About Rolex Watch U.S.A. Since Rolex Watch U.S.A. first presented timepieces to America’s Cup defenders in 1958, the company has consistently recognized and encouraged excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing, including supporting elite athlete preparation, US SAILING championships, disabled sailing, and offshore, one-design and women’s events.
The Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship is part of the Rolex Yachting Portfolio that includes over 20 world-class sailing events taking place around the world such as the Rolex Miami OCR, New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Rolex Big Boat Series, Rolex US-IRC National Championship, Rolex Osprey Cup and Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
About the Rochester Yacht Club: Incorporated in 1877, the Rochester Yacht Club celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2002 and is still going strong. The first regatta was held in 1877 with eight sail boats competing and most recently it hosted 102 boats at the J/22 World Championship. Its purpose is to provide and encourage interests and instruction in areas of yachts and yachting, seamanship, racing and traditions of yachting. By car, RYC is seven miles from the heart of Rochester, Monroe County, New York, and it is located on the south shore of Lake Ontario and accessible from the Genesee River.
About US SAILING
The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS