After three days of racing marked by variable breeze, Team BAAM (Allie Blecher, Katja Sertl, Beka Schiff, Ali Blumenthal) overtook Bow Down Racing (Bridget Groble, Maddie Bashaw, Lucy Klempen, Samantha Foulston) with two straight wins in the finals to claim their third U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship title.
“It feels great to be back-to-back champions,” said Allie Blecher. “It’s been great sailing with Katja, Ali and Beka; I couldn’t ask for a better team. Mental toughness was key to our success this weekend. We didn’t start off the event as well as we would have liked, but we were able to shake it off and come back stronger on Saturday and Sunday.”
Allie Blecher and her team were able to rise from an inconsistent start in the round-robin to make it to the semifinals and finals. Bridget Groble, ranked #3 in the US and #16 in the world, took second overall, her best finish to date at the championship.
Third place finisher Hailey Thompson traded places with her skipper from last year’s event, Nicole Breault, for the championship. Thompson sailed a consistent event, finishing second in the round-robin and advancing to the semifinals, where she was able to take a race off of first-place finisher Blecher.
#2 ranked U.S. Women’s Match Racer Janel Zarkowsky had a strong start to the event, going undefeated in the round-robin and quarterfinals. As the event progressed, Zarkowsky’s team had difficulties adjusting to the light and shifty breeze, leaving points on the table in the semifinals and petite finals and finishing fourth overall.
The championship attracted sailors from across the country to Annapolis Yacht Club from August 18-20, where they battled for the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy against the top-ranked women’s match racers in the US.
The competition saw a wide range of weather patterns. A dry cold front brought a big, westerly breeze and shifts on Friday, clearing out overnight for a light and variable breeze on Saturday. Sunday saw more typical Chesapeake Bay conditions, with a moderate sea breeze building enough to finish nearly all the final races.
US Sailing would like to thank the umpires, race officials, race committee and Annapolis Yacht Club for their tireless work on this event. Events like this would not be possible without the strong support from clubs and volunteers.
US Sailing would also like to thank National Sponsors Gill Marine and Goslings Rum; and Annapolis Yacht Club sponsors Beneteau, Focus & Find, Gatorade, and Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County for their support of the event. Gill Marine provided personalized travel bags to competitors, while Goslings Rum provided complementary Dark ‘N Stormy’s at the post-sailing social events.