Creating opportunity for women sailors

Published on June 26th, 2022

The Corinthian Yacht Club National Women’s Invitational Team Race for the Thayer Trophy, the only 3v3 women’s team racing regatta in keelboats with spinnakers in the USA, took place June 25-26 in the waters off historic Marblehead, MA.

Bristol Yacht Club had a dominant performance, winning all but two of their races in the round robin stages and all their races in the finals to take the 2022 Thayer Trophy. New York Yacht Club, last year’s winner, was second and Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association was third.

The sea breeze on Day One was light and patchy which placed a premium on keeping the boats moving. Aggressive maneuvers could be costly as it was difficult to get the boats up to speed again. Because of that, Bristol Team Captain Amanda Callahan noted that her team focused on staying in more of a fleet racing mode. They finished the first day with four wins, just ahead of Corinthian and New York YC who both had three.

Day Two started with similarly light conditions, but the wind eventually built to a steady 10-12mph by mid-day which meant gear changing in the middle of the second round robin. As the breeze intensified, so did the racing, but Bristol kept their mojo, winning all five of their races to move into the final rounds.

Callahan said when the team came into the semi-finals, they were ready to sail in a different mode with the breeze up. It also helped that many of the Bristol sailors have been regularly racing together in Bristol Yacht Club’s Monday night team racing, so they had gelled as a team.

Callahan and the other two Bristol skippers, Stephanie Hudson and Sophia Reineke, were joined by teammates Rebecca King

Bottom, Gayle Konys, Molly Matthews, Abby McCauley, Rebecca McElvain, Katelyn McGauley, Julia O’Connor, Megan Roach, and Elizabeth Shanahan.

Looking to create more opportunity for women sailors to compete at a high level, the Corinthian Yacht Club created the National Women’s Invitational Team Race for The Thayer Trophy in 2021. Teams from yacht clubs and college alumni sailing associations across the US are invited to compete. The event is raced in Sonars, 23-foot, one-design keelboats sailed with four to five crew.

“Now that we have the competitive Thayer Trophy to strive for each year, each of the clubs have used this as an opportunity to drive participation in practices and weekly team race nights in their respective regions,” said Thayer Trophy Regatta Chair Miranda Bakos.

“Not only does it give women an opportunity to get on the water, but also an opportunity to become skilled at each of the different positions on the boat, like bow or main.”

Team racing is an exciting and growing game in the sport of sailing. 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 and no other women’s team racing with spinnakers, which adds a degree of difficulty that has become a hallmark in the upper echelons of team-racing competitions.

Bakos added, “In addition to the mechanical skills involved in team racing keelboats, women have shared with me that they felt truly empowered to have a voice on the boat, both with respect to boat handling and overall team racing strategy.

“This event has created an opportunity for women sailors from across the country to compete, reconnect, and to get back involved or introduced to team racing and the Corinthian Sailing Committee could not ask for more.”

The Thayer Trophy 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..

Final Results
1. Bristol Yacht Club
2. New York Yacht Club
3. Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association
4. Eastern Yacht Club
5. Corinthian Yacht Club
6. NEISA Local Legends

Top row L-R: Bristol Team Captain Amanda Callahan, Molly Matthews, Stephanie Hudson , Elizabeth Shanahan, Julia O’Connor, Sophie Reineke, Rebecca King

Bottom row L-R: Abby McCauley, Gayle Konys, Megan Roach, Rebecca McElvain, Katelyn McGauley. Photo Credit: Bruce Durkee

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