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Rules in Practice 2021-2024 by Bryan Willis
Rules in Practice 2021-2024 by Bryan Willis

San Diego Yacht Club to host 2021 U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship

by Jake Fish 20 Aug 18:39 BST
The winning crew (from left) Ali Blumenthal, Krysia Pohl, Beka Schiff and Allie Blecher complete a roll jibe during the first day of racing at the U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship © Martin Chumiecki / Element Photography

The San Diego Yacht Club and US Sailing have invited 10 teams to Southern California for three days of exciting racing at the 2021 U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship.

Skipper Allie Blecher (Long Beach, Calif.) and her crew including main trimmer and tactician Beka Schiff (Los Angeles, Calif.), trimmer Krysia Pohl (San Francisco, Calif.) and bowperson Ali Blumenthal (Bellport, N.Y.) won the 2019 U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship in Detroit. Blecher, Schiff, and Blumenthal have returned to defend their title from two years ago and this year they will be joined by crew Simone Staff (Los Angeles, Calif.).

Returning to compete for her fourth Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy is Nicole Breault (San Francisco, Calif.). The three-time champion skipper earned U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship titles in 2018, 2016, and 2015. In 2018, Breault and her St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) crew of Molly Carapiet (San Francisco, Calif.), Hannah Burroughs (San Francisco, Calif.) and Karen Loutzenheiser (Santa Cruz, Calif.) ran the table without a single loss. Breault will be sailing this week with Carapiet, Loutzenheiser, and Julie Mitchell (San Diego, Calif.). Carapiet and Loutzenheiser sailed with Breault in all three championship runs.

The event will be sailed in the J/22 and the intended race area will be 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. The racing format is subject to change.

"The caliber of racing at this event will be high," said Betsy Alison, Adult Sailing Director at US Sailing. "The ten teams competing are skilled and eager to take it to the racecourse. Game on! It is likely that the battle will continue well into the Finals. I hope our match racing aficionados will follow this event closely."

Summer Greene, Event Principal Race Officer, also commented on this week's women's match racing in San Diego. "SDYC's match racing program is in it's 13th year and we are excited that the program has helped many of the competitors reach a level where they are able to compete in match racing championships on the national and international stage. The San Diego City Front is a great venue for match racing the club owned J/22s. Flat water and breezes of 6 to 9 knots will challenge the competitors light air sailing skills, against the downtown skyline."

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, 2021.

A coaching clinic on Thursday, 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.

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