International Women’s Keelboat Championship Gets Relaunched
Published on January 8th, 2016
Portsmouth, RI (January 8, 2016) – The International Women’s Keelboat Championship (IWKC), which has been suspended since 2011, will be relaunched in 2016. Hosted by American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, the event will be sailed in the J/70 class sailboats on August 14-20. With the goal of attracting more international teams, the championship will rotate each year to venues within, and outside the U.S.
Twenty-four teams will be selected through an application process. Half the teams selected will represent North American countries and half will represent countries from around the world.
The format consists of fleet racing, featuring two flights of six boats each with teams rotating after every two races. Each team will race an equal number of races against the others. Races will be approximately 15 minutes in duration. Host clubs will ensure quick rotations and on-the-water judging, in addition to an improved viewing experience for spectators.
The International Women’s Keelboat Championship was inaugurated in 1985 through the efforts of US Sailing’s Women’s Championship Committee. The event became one of the premier women’s sailing event in the U.S. and worldwide. The Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I. became host for the event and hosted the championship until 2001, before it moved around the country to different venues.
The trophy is named for Bengt Julin, an international judge and strong supporter of women’s sailing. Julin presented the very first trophy to Betsy Alison and retired the original to her after she had won it three times consecutively. Alison had an unbroken winning streak competing against teams from a dozen or more nations from 1991 through 1997.
In 2007, Sally Barkow matched Alison by winning the championship for the third time. An impressive list of former champions includes Cory Sertl, Anna Tunnicliffe, Jody Starck, and J.J. Fetter. Sertl won the most recent International Women’s Keelboat Championship in 2011 at the Rochester Yacht Club (N.Y.).
Source: Jake Fish, US Sailing Communications Manager