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Posted by on Oct 7, 2009 in Sailboat Racing, UK, US |

Rolex Women Across Generations

Waiting for the wind to abate on Lake Ontario, an Olympic Yngling sailor (Athens, 2004) studies the multi-generational makeup of her fleet of J/22 keelboat racers.

Editor’s Note: Boats.com correspondent Carol Cronin sent us a different kind of race report after the first day of a unique regatta being held in Rochester, New York, this week. No racing was held in Wednesday’s nasty blow; but Carol says the forecast is good for Thursday and promises to send us a wrap-up after the racing concludes on the weekend.

Lake Ontario wind and waves conspire to blow out the first scheduled day of racing at the 2009 Rolex Womens International Keelboat Regatta

Lake Ontario wind and waves conspire to blow out the first scheduled day of racing at the 2009 Rolex Womens International Keelboat Regatta, hosted by Rochester Yacht Club. Rolex/Dan Nerney photo.

At my very first Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship in 1991, I made so many new friends I lost count. Fast-forward 18 years to this year’s event, and I find myself reunited with many of those women. The difference? This time around, their daughters are here, too.

Mother/daughter outings don’t usually include an international regatta, but several teams here are combining the two ideas. Annapolitan Cathy Parks has her daughter on her team – and her newborn granddaughter greets them when they come ashore. Canadian Katie Coleman Nicoll is sailing with her daughter, college student Clarity Nicoll. The list goes on.

Multi-generational team: Bridget Lawless, Martha Parker, Merrit Moran, K Sertl. Rolex/Dan Nerney photo

Multi-generational team: Bridget Lawless, Martha Parker, Merritt Moran (skipper), Katja Sertl. Rolex/Dan Nerney photo

And then there’s local favorite Cory Sertl, a two-time winner of the event. She’s doing the mother/daughter outing a bit differently; teenaged Katja is crewing on a separate boat, for Merritt Moran – seventeen year old daughter of Cory’s longtime teammate Amy Moran. The two daughters have a ten year old in their crew.

And just to prove that sailing is a lifetime sport, 80 year old local Teresa Smith is crewing for 57-year-old Janice Ziobrowski.

Those of us in the middle of the age spectrum are here to enjoy a week of sailing with and against friends new and old. For over 20 years, this regatta has brought together a wide range of skill levels and goals as well as ages, creating a stew that includes every aspect of competitive women’s sailing.

Back in what seems now like the early days of the Rolex (as it’s referred to by followers, after the perennial title sponsor), teams of six women – or in some lightweight cases, seven – battled the wind and waves off Newport in J/24’s. I’m sure we had some light air sailing, but those aren’t the stories we still tell.

This year, teams of four or five women are racing J/22’s in Rochester, and the first day has been abandoned due to high winds and seas. Will the next generation reminisce about today’s weather at the Rolex in 2027?

Kim Couranz, Carol Cronin (skipper), Margaret Podlich, and Kate Drew Fears, a.k.a. "Team Spidey"

Kim Couranz, Carol Newman Cronin (skipper), Margaret Bonds Podlich, and Kate Drew Fears, a.k.a. "Team Spidey"

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