On February 17-18, SDYC welcomed 17 teams from all around the country to race in the first annual Women’s Winter Invitational. Teams from Southern California, Northern California, Washington, Texas and New York gathered in La Playa on a sunny and breezy February weekend for excellent racing and fellowship. The regatta was not your usual regatta – and even though the competition was close, regatta organizers went out of their way to make sure that fun was had by all.
The weekend kicked off with a practice day on Friday. The SDYC-owned J/22s were used for the weekend. On Friday afternoon, the teams gathered to take their turn to take a J/22 out for a spin. The mood on I-Dock was high as old friends reunited and new teams were formed. After racing, almost all the competitors headed to the deck and hung out for the evening.
Saturday started early with Yoga in the Frost Room. Paddleboards were available for anyone who wanted to enjoy the early morning quiet of La Playa. Around 9:30 am, teams gathered for the Competitors’ Meeting and boat assignments. The round-robin format of the regatta called for eight boats to be used – two groups of four teams would be racing against each other at a given time while the other teams would be on E-Dock (and Corinthian parked at the end of E-Dock) enjoying hospitality and massages, or watching the races to gather information for the next time.
The first day, the sun and the breeze both showed up. It was crisp and cool (for us San Diegans!) and the racing was close. As a fun surprise, instead of rounding regular old marks, pink inflatable flamingos were set as our weather and leeward marks. A treat (and sometimes challenge) for both sailors and Race Committee! After 23 races, we headed in for the day, but we weren’t finished. A delicious dinner awaited us in the Pavilion and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
Sunday again brought an early morning of Yoga and sun. The wind was a little shyer, so we started the day under postponement. It was warm out on E-Dock, though and competitors enjoyed the food, beverages, friendship, and sun. The wind finally showed up, but not as much and not as steady as the day before. Race Committee did a great job of keeping the course as square as possible with not just the wind shifts, but the added challenge of a boat dragging her anchor with nobody on it!
We got through all of the races of the first stage (in which all of the competitors had sailed against each other at least once) and four teams moved into the championship stage. Under a dying breeze, the four races of the championship series were finished as quickly as possible. At the end, though, there was a tie between the top two boats, resulting in a sudden-death one-race sail off. The final results were:
1st place: Allie Blecher, California Yacht Club
2nd place: Annie Schmidt, St. Francis Yacht Club
3rd place: Giselle Nyenhuis, San Diego Yacht Club
4th place: Carolyn Smith, Newport Harbor Yacht Club
A huge thank you to Kris Zillmann and her team of volunteers: Lisa Marie Terhaar, Katie Morton, Summer Greene, Lynlee Slater, Randall Milanowski, Marlisa Anderson, Simon Garland, Joanne O’Dea, Becky Ashburn, Ann Greene, Sarah Fleming, Ashton Covington, Gary Adler and Pete Whitby for handling. This group kept all the ladies well fed, well housed and the regatta well run. Also, thank you to Coola sunscreen for sponsoring the event and Vice Commodore Jerelyn Biehl for her unwavering support (and for sailing the “special” boat). Thank you all – and we are looking forward to next year already!