2017 Robie Pierce Women’s Invitational
Published on June 3rd, 2017
Rye, NY (June 3, 2017) – This year marks the ninth Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta, named after one of the founding fathers of adaptive sailing. Over the years, the “Robie” has become one of the country’s foremost regattas for sailors with a broad array of disabilities including physical, neurological, and visual impairments. Competitors sail in specially adapted Ideal 18s.
Last year, the combined Women’s Invitational and One-Design (men and women) had over fifty sailors with disabilities on the water over the weekend. Add to that headcount the 50+ volunteers from the host Larchmont and American Yacht Clubs plus community supporters, the Robie is one of North America’s largest adaptive regattas.
The 9th Annual Robie Pierce Once Design Regatta is being held at the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY. The one-day Women’s Invitational was run on June 1, 2017, followed by the three days of the Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta (men and women) from June 2-4.
Pauline Dowell won the 2017 Robie Pierce Women’s Invitational with crew Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, a gold medal winner in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Race Committee PRO Bill Sandberg said that he had never seen such a close race. Of the 4 races, Dowell had two firsts and two second places for a total of 6 points, beating Sarah Skeels by one point. Julia Dorset finished third.
In all, seven boats competed in this year’s Women’s Invitational. The skipper, who is disabled, sails with a crew member and an able-bodied (AB) sailor, who serves as an extra pair of hands. “Everyone has some kind of talent that comes into play,” said Siobhan Reilly, co-chair of the Robie Pierce Regatta. “The competitors, whatever their skill level, all had a fantastic time on a bright, sunny day with winds ranging from 20 mph gusts to calm spells. Two women competing in the Women’s Invitational had never sailed before and their reports were glowing.”
Amanda Gruber, who has MS, came with her family (husband Keith and daughter Sophia) and they all had a great time. She had sailed when she was young, but hadn’t sailed in a while. “Sailing in the Robie Pierce Invitational got me involved again. Sarah Skeels, suggested I come for the Women’s Invitational so I did and it was a great opportunity. Once I got on the boat, it was like I had never stopped sailing. I had such a good time.”
Hannah O’Reilly, an AB sailor, also raced for the first time, sailing with Julia Dorset, a Paralympian in several sports, and Deb Frankel. They placed 3rd in this regatta. O’Reilly suggests that people who haven’t raced before should do it, even though it’s competitive and intense. “If I get another chance, I’d certainly do it.” Julia Dorset added that this was the first time she’d sailed since retiring. “We were consistently in the middle of the pack and at the end; I could tell we did well. I sailed with two Greenies and they came out longhorns.”
Women’s Invitational Results
1 Pauline Dowell, 6 points
2 Sarah Skeels, 7 pts
3 Julia Dorset, 13 pts
4 Chris Slavin, 19 pts
5 Barbara Hopkin, 20 pts
6 Judy Kowalski, 20 pts
7 Jo Ann Stead, 27 pts
Eighteen boats are competing in the One Design Regatta, one of the largest fleets in the Robie’s history. Duane Farrar, the first blind sailor to win the Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta is crewing with Maureen McKinon-Tucker.
Report by Event Media