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Love Moms at J/105 Women Skipper Invitational

by J/Boats 20 May 19:53 BST May 13, 2023
2023 SF Bay J/105 Women Skipper Invitational © Chris Ray

On "Mothers' Day Eve" on Saturday, May 13th, eight boats of J/105 Fleet 1 on San Francisco Bay rallied for the second running of the 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. While some were crewed by the regular team, with the owner or owner-rep taking another job on board, two teams were comprised of all women, expanding the impact of women in sailing in another impressive way.


Acknowledging the lack of women J/105 owner-drivers, Fleet 1 conceived of the 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, the event provides an opportunity for women sailors to take the lead, 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 similar regattas that invite women into the competitive spotlight:

  • Toronto has an all-women J/105 championship
  • Charleston just ran an all-women regatta
  • Annapolis has a majority-women crew quota for its J/105 women-skippered event
  • 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 J/105 Class leadership has earmarked funding for trophies for fleets that undertake a project to make a lasting impact on the women sailors in their local racing communities.

The Regatta

Under a beautiful blue sky and with ghostly whisps of fog flowing from the Golden Gate, Principal Race Officer Peggy Lidster, with her all-women Race Committee and PRO team and the skilled mark set teams, ran four races to complete a series full of spirited competition and camaraderie.

Led by World Champion Match Racer Nicole Breault, Team ARBITRAGE took wins in Races 1 and 3 but still had their hands full in securing the overall win.

Team NIUHI, an all-women team 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 3rd 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. As the winner, she showed it off as a new symbol of blending diversity into the skipper ranks, and then also as the winner of the regatta as skipper of J/105 ARBITRAGE. Commenting on her win with a wry smile, "I expect all of you to race again next year and try to take it from me!"

See results here

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