Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Woman's Perspective Sailing World Championship

Canadian team- Isabella Bertold(Vancouver, BC, Canada)-  Isabella Bertold provided some wonderful perspective on her team's experience sailing J/70s at the recent Women’s World Championships at American YC in Rye, New York.  The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club Team finished 6th at the International Women’s Keelboat Championships!

“From August 15 to 19, I had the privilege of competing with three other British Columbia women at the International Women’s Keelboat Championships in Rye, New York. 

Along with myself, the team consisted of fellow Royal Vancouver Yacht Club member Maggie Drinkwater, Royal Victoria Yacht Club member Maura Dewey, and Vancouver sailor Elizabeth Dier.

Our team was unique in that both Maggie and Elizabeth had never raced outside of the Vancouver area, the team had never actually sailed together, and we were brand new to the J/70 sailboat. The other teams were made up of past Olympians, experienced international J/70 sailors, and former All-American college crews.  Even former America’s Cup champion, Dawn Riley, captained a team.   Needless to say, we went in with low expectations!

Canadian J/70 women's team- BertoldOur Canadian entry rounded out a truly international fleet including teams from Germany, New Zealand and 15 U.S teams.

American Yacht Club in Rye, NY hosted an incredible regatta, and wowed us with their hospitality. The regatta was raced following the league sailing format in J/70’s. J-boats provided a fleet of brand new J/70’s for us to race with, and even in strong breeze, the boats were not only manageable but also incredibly fun for the all female teams. It didn’t take long for us to understand why there have already been over 1100 J/70’s sold.

The championship was also unique for me in that it was my first time racing in a league sailing regatta, and it was my first time skippering a team.

Canadian women J/70 sailor- Isabella Bertold in Women's WorldsThe regatta was a 5-day event with up to 10 races each day.  The races lasted an average of ten minutes and consisted of a windward leeward twice around racecourse.   After five races, a crew would sit out one to three races before switching back into a new boat. The racing was intense, tiring, and I have never been involved in as many photo finishes as I was that week.

As the results show, we had a few races filled with learning moments, but otherwise we had consistent top 5 finishes, a couple of race wins, and finished 2nd overall in round two.

One of the more memorable moments happened on the final day of the regatta. Our team had come together seamlessly, and we were suddenly disappointed to finish races outside of the top three. We flew to New York ready for a learning experience, and with low expectations; we flew home to Vancouver satisfied with our 6th place finish at this prestigious championship, but hungry for more and with a clear goal of winning the 2017 championship to be held in Bermuda.”

Isabella Bertold is a member of the Canadian National Sailing Team in Laser Radials.  She has represented the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club on the international stage since joining the race team in 2001.