Thanks to Nicole Breault for this report:
On "Mothers’ Day Eve" Saturday, May 13, eight boats of J/105 Fleet 1 rallied for the second running of the San Francisco Bay J/105 Women Skipper Invitational, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. The teams were led by women skippers who had been invited by boat owners to take the helm and show the world their mettle. While some were crewed by the regular team (with the owner or owner-rep taking another job on board), two teams were crewed by an all- or predominantly all-woman crew, expanding impact in another impressive way. Acknowledging the lack of female J/105 owner-drivers, Fleet 1 conceived of this regatta to celebrate the talented women who already sail in the Class as crew and to attract others interested in getting a taste of the largest one-design racing on the Bay. More specifically, this event provides an opportunity for women sailors to take the lead – or the conn – smashing any real, perceived or accidental barriers to the notion that women can be owner-drivers in this popular, competitive Class. Around North America, other J/105 fleets have created or re-energized similar regattas that invite women into the competitive spotlight: Toronto has an all-women championship, Charleston just ran an all-women regatta, Annapolis has a majority-women crew quota for its women-skippered event, and Seattle, Cleveland and Houston have showcased J/105 participation attached to women-specific multi-class regattas. To fan the flame of this veritable grass-roots women sailors’ movement, the National Class leadership has earmarked funding for trophies for fleets that undertake a project to make a lasting impact on the women sailors of their local racing communities. Under a beautiful blue sky and the dancing fog of the Golden Gate, Principal Race Officer Peggy Lidster, her all-women signal team, and the skilled mark set teams ran four races to complete a series full of spirited competition and camaraderie. Team Arbitrage took wins in Races 1 and 3, but still had their hands full in securing the overall win. Team Niuhi, all women and skippered by Maggie Bacon, played the currents strategically well and managed speedy downwind lanes with expert spinnaker handling until one bad drop at the leeward mark earned them unwanted points to leave them in third place overall. Blackhawk’s exceptional team led by co-owner Kristin Simmons took firsts in Races 2 and 4 to secure second overall, only two points behind Arbitrage. After racing on Saturday, Nicole Breault, both Regatta Chair and current J/105 Class Vice President, raised the new perpetual trophy for the SF Bay J/105 Women Skipper Invitational – first, to show it off as a new symbol of blending diversity into skipper ranks, and then also as the winner of the regatta as skipper of J/105 Arbitrage. "I expect all of you to race again next year and try to take it from me!"
Full results: https://theclubspot.com/regatta/aJA1IoRPa6/results
Regatta photos by Chris Ray:
Pictured L-R: Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer, Karen Loutzenheiser, Olivia Corzine, Sophia Corzine, Nicole Breault, Wendy Corzine, Colin Duffy.