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Women Bring the Heat to Mexico on the First Day of the International Women’s Keelboat Championship

The first day of racing kicked off with an exciting opening ceremony and challenging conditions on Lake Avandaro.

August 16, 2017
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J70 boats, lake
J70’s rounding the weather mark in breeze. Courtesy Mauricio Arregui Castro

Valle De Bravo, Mexico (August 16, 2017) – The first day of the International Women’s Keelboat Championship kicked off with opening ceremony which included the official start of the event declared by the Mayor of Valle De Bravo, Mauricio Osorio Domínguez. Event Chair, Roberto Escalante had to say of the ceremony, “[There were] over 50 smiling faces gathered together across borders and language barriers to share their passion for the wind, a dream that finally came true.”

The opening ceremony included an address by US Sailing’s organizing authority Betsy Alison and five-time winner of the storied championship, a welcome by chairman Escalante and proud address by the Mayor. The Mexican flag and the championship flag was raised over the crowd gather on the lawn.

Like clockwork, the breeze filled into the valley and down the mountains shortly after one p.m. Ali Blumenthal of Team BAAM! had to say of the conditions, “The breeze, once it filled in, clicked on. The races started off pretty breezy, we had full controls and full-on hiking, and then as the races progressed it got lighter. When the rain finally came in, it made for shifty and funky conditions.”

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The steady conditions allowed the race committee to complete seven races in the rotation. Later in the day, thunder storms, typical to the rainy season in this area, caused light breeze and finally postponed racing for the day. The variety of conditions allowed competitors to showcase all facets of their abilities before heading in to the dock.

chairman, mayor and OA
The Mayor of Valle de Bravo, Mexico, stands with Betsy Alison and event chair Roberto Escalante as he addresses competitors at the opening ceremonies. Ellinor Walters

The PRO commended the sailors for fair and clean sailing with no altercations or collisions on the water and their cooperation in getting a number of races completed on the first day.

Despite a full day of racing, competitors enjoyed dinner and dancing at the club into the evening. For US Sailing’s first event outside of the United States, the Club de Vela La Peña A.C. has been an excellent host, providing competitors with a fantastic venue for racing and great cultural experiences.

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Blumenthal re-iterates that the event is a true international contest, “The J/70 is a really fun boat because it’s got equal parts physical and mental game. There is a very high level of competition on the course.” The breeze is beginning to fill in Mexico this morning and competitors look forward to another day of competitive sailing on the water and comradery at the club.

After the first day, San Diego Yacht club leads the fleet, followed by Chiquitas pero Picosas. Team Eliane Fierro, Team’Mer and Team Seattle in a three-way tie for third place.

Follow along with the action on Instagram @sailingworldmag and @womenskeelboat or at #womenskeelboat on twitter and Instagram

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