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Filling a void in women’s team racing

Published on June 29th, 2021

Corinthian Yacht Club’s first National Women’s Invitational Team Race for the Thayer Trophy attracted six teams from across the East Coast and as far as San Diego to compete in a three-versus-three boat format on June 26-27 in Marblehead, MA.

A total of 69 women sailed 50 races in Sonars with spinnaker as the first all-women team racing event of its kind. A steady southwest wind blew both days ranging in the low to upper teens and at times gusting higher.

After sailing 30 races in two round robins on day one, Eastern Yacht Club looked dominant, winning nine out of ten races, but New York Yacht Club (NYYC) came on strong day two after winning only half of their races the first day. Team NYYC won all nine of its races in the repechage, semi-final and final rounds to take the top spot on the podium.

“We were shaking off the rust a little in day one,” said NYYC Team Captain Emily Maxwell after noting that the event was the first time all of the three skippers had sailed together on a team. “Going into day two, we talked about being consistent and sailing fast so we could be in stronger positions around the course.”

There are currently more than 20 national, adult team-racing regattas on the calendar each year in the United States, but very few women’s events. Until the Corinthian Thayer Trophy, there were no women’s 3v3 team racing with spinnakers.

“When we were planning our event schedule, we felt like there was a missing piece to the women’s team racing calendar,” explained Chair Miranda Bakos. “It sounds like a simple enough idea, but we didn’t realize how powerful the event would be. With the age range from 18 to 65, every woman’s story of why they were so appreciative to be sailing in the event was as powerful as the next.”

While the on-water action was exciting, the off-water experience was equally important to regatta organizers and competitors.

“This was the first sailing event we’ve done with any socials (since COVID),” commented NYYC’s Maxwell, who went on to say how great it was to be with women she competed with and against in high school and college.

The Corinthian Yacht Club plans to make the Thayer Trophy an annual regatta with eight teams competing. Due to COVID uncertainty, this year’s event capacity was limited which put some teams on a waitlist.

The trophy itself honors Joan and Elynore “Elli” Thayer’s significant contributions to women’s sailing – Joan as a passionate one-design skipper and organizer of the National Women’s Sailing Association Conference, and Elli as the first women skipper in the 110 Class and Marblehead Racing Association officer for more than 20 years.

Winners – New York Yacht Club

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