A total of 56 entrants from six nations and three continents are already confirmed for the 2001 Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship
A total of 56 entrants from six nations and three continents are already confirmed for the 2001 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship (RIWKC), to be held in Annapolis, MD, USA from 22-28 September.
The standard at this year’s event will be higher than ever with many of the crews already setting their sights on a place in the Yngling Class at the 2004 Olympics. In addition to some of America’s top sailors the entry list includes Bermuda’s Paula Lewin, leading South African sailor Shellee Potts, Hikari Sano from Japan and Cayman Islander Jane Moon. For the American contingent, defending champion Pat Connerney, RIWKC regular Cory Sertl (crewed by Olympic silver medallist Pease Glaser) and past winner Jody Swanson will be amongst those giving the overseas visitors a run for their money. Sertl, Glaser and Swanson are all past winners of the Rolex Yachtswoman Of The Year Award.
Shellee Potts is one of those with the Athens Olympics in her sights. She first represented South Africa in the Laser Radial at the ISAF Worlds in La Rochelle then again in the J/22 in Dubai. Shellee campaigned for a place at the Atlanta Olympics in the Europe but was disappointed when South Africa elected to send only a Finn class representative. She has sailed J/22s extensively including the 2001 worlds in Port Elizabeth and was delighted when the RIWKC moved to this class.
The move to the smaller J/22 has done much to encourage this year’s large entry. The number of crew required is fewer, the boat is already a popular choice for women’s events and is more easily handled by the smaller female sailors than the J/24, in which the RIWKC was previously sailed. To highlight the international standard of this year’s event a non-US Jury Chairman has been appointed for the first time. Charlotte Greppe of Sweden will lead the five-strong all woman jury, the other members being Barbara Farquhar (USA), Sally Burnett (UK), Lynne Beal (Canada) and Ann Newton (USA).