American Yacht Club wins Women’s Keelboat Champs

Published on August 18th, 2017

For the first time in event history, the revitalized 2017 International Women’s Keelboat Championship, a US Sailing Championship, was held outside the United States. Club de Vela La Peña A.C. in Valle de Bravo, Mexico hosted the 16th edition of this historic event and provided the competitors with a unique experience.

Eleven teams representing Canada, Germany, Mexico, and USA raced in J/70 boats on August 15 to 18, with the team representing the American Yacht Club (Rye, N.Y.), led by skipper Megan Ploch (Pelham, N.Y.), edging the competition in a closely contested 6-team Championship Round. After beginning the final day in third place, their victory earned them the right to compete at the 2018 Sailing Championship League World qualifier.

The winning team featured crew members Alix Hahn (Norwalk, Conn.), Carolyn Russell (Greenwich, Conn.) and Erin Sprague (Greenwich, Conn.). This trio won the 2016 International Women’s Keelboat Championship with helm Clemmie Everett in last year’s event, hosted by American Yacht Club.

Placing second was a local team representing Club de Vela La Peña A.C skippered by Camila Flores (Mexico City, Mexico) with teammates Casilda Flores (Mexico City, Mexico), Ana Clare Sole (Houston, Texas) and Manuela Legorreta (Mexico City, Mexico). Flores was in first place entering the Championships Round, and although they sailed well in each of the six races, they were unable to stay atop the leader board.

Emily Maxwell (New York, N.Y.), Elizabeth Dudley (Boston, Mass.), Avery Field (New York, N.Y.) and Katy Nastro (Huntington, N.Y.) finished third. The racing was so tight in race six that any of four teams could have finished second through fourth. Flores had 17 points, and Maxwell was tied at 19 with Giselle Camet (San Diego, Calif.), so it was anyone’s race to take. In the end, Maxwell just edged out Camet on the final run to secure the Bronze medal.

The top six teams entering the Championship Round
1. Camila Flores (MEX) – 1 points
2. Eliane Fierro (MEX) – 2 points
3. Megan Ploch (USA) – 3 points
4. Giselle Camet (USA) – 4 points
5. Emily Maxwell (USA) – 5 points
6. Liz Barker (USA) – 6 points

Final Standings – Championship Round (Top 6 of 11 teams)
1. Megan Ploch (USA) – 15 points
2. Camila Flores (MEX) – 19 points
3. Emily Maxwell (USA) – 23 points
4. Giselle Camet (USA) – 24 points
5. Eliane Fierro (MEX) – 28 points
6. Liz Barker (USA) – 38 points

To ensure fast and competitive racing, the round robin format for the championship featured team rotations after every five races. Each team raced an equal number of races against the other teams. Races were approximately 15 minutes in duration. The racing featured quick rotations and on-the-water umpiring, in addition to a quality viewing experience for spectators.

The lake sailing venue framed by mountainous land formations offered new and exciting challenges to the competitors. Conditions for the regatta were spectacular with a SW breeze and 5 to 14 knots of breeze daily. Each day the threat of an afternoon thunderstorms was a reality, as evidenced by the last race of the Repechage Round on day three being cancelled due to thunder and lightning.

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Source: Jake Fish, US Sailing

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