U.S. Junior Women’s Champions Crowned

Trophy winners at the 2023 U.S. Junior Women’s Championship. US Sailing / Lexi Pline

BRISTOL, R.I. (July 21, 2023) – After three days of clinic with eight fleet coaches, the nation’s top and emerging female sailors went head-to-head at the U.S. Junior Women’s Championship presented by SouthCoast Wind, held at Roger Williams University and organized by US Sailing.

“We had very competitive racing, in varying conditions which let all sailors shine,” said Alana O’Reilly Marks. “Many thanks to sponsors and supporters including the C. Thomas Clagett Trust, SouthCoast Wind, Gill, Professional Boats, New England Ropes, and Bristol Yacht Club.”

Despite contending with light winds that tested their skills and patience, 33 young sailors gave it their all on the waters of Mt. Hope Bay in Bristol, R.I. After a nail-biting second day in the ILCA 6 fleet, 2023 US Youth Worlds Girl’s Singlehanded representative Audrey Foley emerged victorious, winning the tiebreaker with Ava Anderson. Norfolk Yacht & Country Club sailor Rebecca Schill took third.

“Winning this event feels great! It was a really good five days,” said Foley. “The Junior Women’s Championship has been great prep for Youth Worlds this December. Being able to talk with coaches and work through things during the clinic has been super helpful.” 

In the 29er fleet, Annie Sitzmann and Daphne Walsh dominated the week, winning every race of the seven-race series. San Diego Yacht Club sailors Ava Gustafson and Kaya Hancock took second over teammates Julia Stewart and Madilyn Anderson who came in third. 

“Our goals were to play the shifts and be very aware of the current,” said Sitzmann, skipper of the winning 29er team. “We were really focused on communicating about the shifts.”

  • Most improved ILCA – Petra Humphrey 
  • Most improved 29er – Leila Pfrang & 
Madison Bivins 
  • Sportsmanship ILCA- Lina Carper 
  • Sportsmanship 29er – Sabrina & Jamie Starck  

The U.S. Junior Women’s Championship focuses on both competition and learning, with a three-day clinic preceding the two-day event. Private coaching is not allowed; instead, US Sailing provides eight fleet coaches, pulled from the top college, high school, and high-performance programs in the United States. This year, a majority of the coaches, seven of the eight, were women, inspiring the next generation of female sailors.

“It was so inspiring to see the 29ers in the Ida Lewis, and the next generation of female 29er sailors developing,” said 29er fleet coach Kelly Cole.

Sailors noted takeaways beyond just improving their sailing. Many said their favorite part of the event was meeting new friends, and getting to sail in a new, exciting venue with help of the fleet coaches.

Photos: https://usst.photoshelter.com/galleries/C0000XfPnMi7f4kQ/2023-Junior-Womens-Championship  

Scores: https://theclubspot.com/regatta/eG6VtGSrpF/results   

More about the event: https://www.ussailing.org/competition/championships/u-s-junior-womens-championship/