US SAILING’s 2009 Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship

North Texas Road to Rolex Clinic Graduates 41 Women Sailors

Coach Elizabeth Kratzig (on boat) instructing Road to Rolex Clinic participants on the docks at Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club

From Oct. 31 – Nov. 2, in Oak Point, Texas, 41 women sailors representing six U.S. states, Canada and Mexico took part in the Road to Rolex Clinic at the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club (DCYC). Coached by international competitor and coach Elizabeth Kratzig (Corpus Christi, Texas/Miami Beach, Fla.) and designed to prepare women sailors for US SAILING’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC), the three-day clinic featured drills on the water in International J/22s, as well as classroom learning about keelboat racing. At the conclusion of the clinic, organizers held a short series of races where Lynette Edenfield (Fort Worth, Texas) and her team were victorious. A three-time Rolex IWKC participant, Edenfield will receive a $200 credit toward her entry fee in the 2009 Rolex IWKC, scheduled for October 7-10, 2009 at the Rochester Yacht Club in Rochester, N.Y., USA.

“We had 10 teams sailing in J/22s generously loaned by club members and local Southwest Circuit racers,” said Gayle Finster, DCYC’s Road to Rolex Clinic organizer. “This Road to Rolex Clinic was an experiment of sorts as there had never been one in which individuals could sign up with borrowed boats provided. Most clinics are conducted with complete four-person teams and participants bring their own boat. It turned out to be a successful endeavor and many more women were able to participate and network with other women interested in forming teams. More planning was involved in matching up team members and rounding up boats, but everyone agreed it was worth the effort.”

The weekend started on Friday with Kratzig leading a discussion with assistant coach Bryan Calk on sail controls and the effects of each adjustment on the shape and performance of the jib and main sails, and how to adjust upper and lower shroud tensions for varying wind conditions. Later that evening the DCYC club members hosted the group for a casual get-together.

Saturday’s schedule started with a chalk talk in the clubhouse by Kratzig and Calk, and then the group hit the water for short windward/leeward legs to practice roll tacking and teamwork. “Elizabeth hopped from boat to boat providing individual team coaching,” said Finster. “She handily adapted to the varying levels of skill and the variety of teams that were new to sailing with each other. Before the winds died for the day, we did some tacking-on-the-whistle drills. After the morning sail, we spent the rest of the day in the clubhouse discussing tactics, starting strategies and interpretation of the new racing rules for 2009.”

Sunday was devoted to sailing and racing, from 8:30am until 3:30pm. “It was nonstop learning and drills,” continued Finster. “At mid-day the wind started to ease up, so the Race Committee decided to hold the mini regatta early at 1:00.”

Although the group thought they were done with drills, Kratzig had one more trick up her sleeve: She instructed the fleet to do 10 rolling starts. “The average age of our participants was 45 and everyone hung in there and gave 150 percent,” said Finster. “The many starts allowed us to experiment with different types of start strategies in a group of 10 boats. Tired yes, but everyone gained new experience. After that we did downwind starts leading to big pile ups at the leeward mark. This drill tested our mark rounding skills in a crowd, and we all took away some good lessons.”

Though there was a sigh of disappointment when participants learned the event will not be in Houston in 2009 due to damage from Hurricane Ike. “We know the event will be exceptional at the Rochester Yacht Club in New York,” said Finster. “We're hopeful there will be a good showing of these fine women who sailed this past weekend.”

The Road to Rolex Clinic in Oak Point, Texas, is the first scheduled on a calendar of clinics leading up to the 2009 Rolex IWKC. The Road to Rolex Clinics were initiated by US SAILING and Rolex Watch U.S.A. in 1997 to provide women sailors with additional opportunities to hone their sailing skills. Locations where past clinics have been held include a dozen U.S. locations, South Africa and Holland. Each participant received a copy of the Road to Rolex Clinic manual written by Betsy Alison, a five-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Alison has won the biennial Rolex IWKC five times and is the coach of the U.S. Paralympic Team. Additionally, each participant received a copy of a DVD from Kratzig featuring video analysis taken during the clinic.

Competitors included :

  • Debbie Adams, Dallas, TX
  • Ginger Armstrong, Dallas, TX
  • Jill Ball, Oak Point, TX
  • Linda Bays, Edmond, OK
  • Patricia Bazan, San Diego, CA
  • Laurie Berger, Dallas, TX
  • Ann Binion, Webster, TX
  • Dagny Boaz, Garland, TX
  • Lisa Carlson, Santa Fe, NM
  • Louellen Coker, Denton, TX
  • Dawn Darling, Centennial, CO
  • Megan Doren, Dallas, TX
  • Shawn Dulemba, Flower Mound, TX
  • Lynette Edenfield, Fort Worth, TX
  • Patricia Escorihuela, La Jolla, CA
  • Gayle Finster, Pilot Point, TX
  • Laura Grunewald, Benbrook, TX
  • Heather Hamilton, Tyrone, GA
  • Christina Hamlet, Plano, TX
  • Peggy Henderson, Plano, TX
  • Ann Hicks, Frisco, TX
  • Allyson Hopper, Euless, TX
  • Kathy Irwin, Heath, TX
  • Julie Jacob, Grapevine, TX
  • Emily Macfarlane, Englewood, CO
  • Stephanie Meadows, Dallas, TX
  • Tiki Miller, Heath, TX
  • Pam Newton, Carrollton, TX
  • Bowman O’Connor, Dallas, TX
  • Jeannie Odza, Plano, TX
  • Debbie Pace, Grapevine, TX
  • Michelle (Shelley) Peterson, Dallas, TX
  • Susan Pollan, Dallas, TX
  • Kathy Roach, La Mesa, CA
  • Tonja Sanchez, Denton, TX
  • Sue Strasia, Placitas, NM
  • Gillian Thomson, Kelowna, B.C.
  • Susan Torney, Houston, TX
  • Amy Williams, Blue Ridge, TX
  • Marsha Wulff, Dallas, TX
  • Vicky Zink, Albuquerque, NM

About the Rolex IWKC: Inaugurated in 1985, the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship quickly became the premier women’s sailing event in the U.S. and worldwide. Held biennially, the event provides women keelboat and offshore sailors high-quality racing and an opportunity to compete with top national and international sailors.

About Rolex Watch U.S.A. Since Rolex Watch U.S.A. first presented timepieces to America’s Cup defenders in 1958, the company has consistently recognized and encouraged excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing, including elite athlete preparation, US SAILING championships, disabled sailing, and offshore, one-design and women’s events.