Past champions return for Women’s Match Racing title
Published on August 19th, 2021
Ten teams will compete at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in pursuit of the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy on August 20-22 in San Diego, CA.
Skipper Allie Blecher (Long Beach, CA) and her crew including main trimmer and tactician Beka Schiff (Los Angeles, CA), trimmer Krysia Pohl (San Francisco, CA) and bowperson Ali Blumenthal (Bellport, NY) won the 2019 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Detroit.
As the 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, Blecher, Schiff, and Blumenthal have returned to defend their title and will be joined by crew Simone Staff (Los Angeles, CA).
Returning to compete for her fourth Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy is Nicole Breault (San Francisco, CA). The three-time champion skipper earned U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship titles in 2015, 2016, and 2018. In 2018, Breault and her St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) crew of Molly Carapiet (San Francisco, CA), Hannah Burroughs (San Francisco, CA) and Karen Loutzenheiser (Santa Cruz, CA) ran the table without a single loss.
Breault will be sailing this week with Carapiet, Loutzenheiser, and Julie Mitchell (San Diego, CA). Carapiet and Loutzenheiser sailed with Breault in all three championship runs.
Janel Zarkowsky (Annapolis, MD), who was on the winning team in 2014 and was third as skipper in 2019, will be representing Scuttlebutt Sailing Club in 2021. Zarkowsky will be joined by Annabelle Ayer (Marblehead, MA), Madeline Gill (Charleston, SC), and Rose Edwards (Chicago, IL).
The event will be sailed in J/22s along the San Diego city front in San Diego Bay near the Grape Street pier. The event format will consist of Round Robin(s), Knock-out Series, and a Finals Series (format subject to change).
“The San Diego City Front is a great venue for match racing the club owned J/22s,” notes Summer Greene, Event Principal Race Officer for host San Diego Yacht Club. “Flat water and breezes of 6 to 9 knots will challenge the competitors light air sailing skills, against the downtown skyline.”
The SDYC match racing program is in it’s 13th year and has helped many of the competitors reach a level where they are now competing in match racing championships on the national and international stage.
The top placing eligible skipper will be invited to the 2021 U.S. Match Racing Championship, hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club on October 1-3 in Long Beach, CA.
A coaching clinic on August 19 will be conducted by professional sailor and coach Steve Hunt, courtesy of the David Storrs Match Racing Committee fund. Hunt has won 15 National and North American Championships and three World titles.
The U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship developed from the U.S. Women’s Open Championship regatta that was founded in 1974 for fleet racing in doublehanded and singlehanded divisions. A boardsailing championship was added in 1981. In 2000, a motion to change the event from fleet racing to match racing was passed and the first U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship was held at Southern Yacht Club (New Orleans, LA) in November 2002.
The Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy is presented to the winner in honor of Allegra Knapp Mertz, a four-time winner of the U.S. Women’s National Championship and many years of service as Chairperson of the Women’s Championship Committee. The Adams Memorial Trophy is presented to the runner-up in honor of Mrs. Henry (Adams) Morgan.
Source: US Sailing