Jun 10, 2021
The twelfth Dubarry Women’s Open Keelboat Championship was held by the Royal Southern Yacht on the 5th and 6th June 2021 after being cancelled due to Covid-19 in 2020. This year’s event was combined with the British Keelboat League and successfully attracted more sailors than ever before. Twenty-five teams competed in this year’s event in IRC 1, IRC 2 and the BKL.
The event kicked off on the Friday with some on the water training with Jochem Visser and Emma Westmacott. The coaches met with teams onshore to discuss what they’d like to get out of the day before heading out on the water and getting the sailors ready for the event. This training was invaluable for the teams, some of which had not been on the water in almost 2 years!
Friday was rounded off with individual debriefs, some drinks at the Royal Southern and registration with wonderful goody bags from Dubarry, Salcombe Gin and Triggernaught Sunglasses.
Saturday morning was still and very sunny - the boats motored out to the racecourse in glassy conditions. With no breeze evident around John Fisher (4Q) the committee vessel Vellamo hoisted the AP for around an hour. The forecasted seabreeze started to come in from the south west at around 11am and Tanya Robinson got some races in the IRC fleet off shortly after, meanwhile Nicole Ames was also getting race 1 of 34 short quick fire windward leewards in on the BKL course.
The IRC boat’s headed off up on a 2 lap windward leeward to East Knoll and back down around a laid mark on the shore at Hill Head. First over the finish line of the first race of 2021 was Dee Caffari’s Team on Cape 31 Katabatic - Haven KJ Go Greener helmed by Josie Gliddon - they had however unfortunately been called OCS and not heard the recall so Journey Maker II, the reigning IRC champions, took the first race in IRC 1 and Jronimo, Libby Greenhalgh took their first bullet of the event in IRC 2.
With the conditions slowly building to a fresh 12-16 knots the race committee sent the teams orienteering around the bramble bank for the next 2 races. The Cape 31 loved these conditions and took off planning away from the other IRC 1 boats and came home with 2 bullets. The other podium positions were shared by Journeyamker, Cobra skippered by Hannah Stodel and Mojo Risin’ skippered by Lucy Jackson. In IRC 2 these two races were closely contested between Jronimo and Frank 3 with some exciting conditions and wind angles to test the crew work!
On the BKL race course the team got 16 races in. The clubs shining at the top of the leaderboard were Ali Mo’s Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club team, Catherine Macquire’s Lymington Town Sailing Club, Royal Thames and Poole Yacht Club. With 13 teams swapping in and out of races all day - there was a massive variety of racing and lots of teams to line up against. It was great to see 4 RORC teams on the start line as well as many others from all over the country.
On Saturday evening the Royal Southern, in association with Dubarry and Salcombe Gin put on a wonderful BBQ with gin and tonic for all! Over £800 was raised for Breast Cancer Care in the covid friendly ‘wheel of fortune’ style raffle and Dee Caffari spoke to competitors about her experiences and inspired everyone with her motivational words.
Sunday was overcast with a lot less breeze. PRO’s Tanya and Nicole did well to get so many races in. The IRC classes went off in some tactical light wind’s round the cans races. IRC 1 had some very competitive racing, with Cobra, Journeymaker and the Cape 31 fighting it out in one pack and the three J109s in the other. In IRC2 Jronimo and Frank 3 shone through again with the team on Becky Walford’s Brenda’s J also putting in a great shift too.
It was the day for the J boats with all but one of the bullets (Frank 3) coming from Journeymaker, Mojo Risin’ and Jronimo.
After another great day on the water and with some wonderful prizes up for grabs from Dubarry and Salcombe Gin, the teams eagerly waited to see who had won the overall trophy and who came out on top of the BKL tiebreak.
The winners of the 2021 Women’s Open Keelboat Championships were Jronimo, Libby Greenhalgh (IRC 2 and Overall IRC0), Journeymaker, Louise Makin (IRC 1) and Lymington Town Sailing Club, Catherine Macquire.