A new Queen of the Women’s Circuit was crowned last night at the Yacht Racing Association’s awards party, which was hosted by Berkeley Yacht Club. The ‘women’s circuit’, in case you’re not familiar with it, is just a list of women skipper races collected by Latitude 38 and published on a page of the annual YRA Calendar.
It’s not an official series, but we encourage female sailors to pick a few events that are geographically practical, take the helm of their own or someone else’s boat(s), and create a series of their own. In 2016, Jennifer McKenna did just that. She may not have even noticed it at the time, but we did.
In a tradition going back 10 years, the Richmond-based sailor raced in Sausalito YC’s Women Skippers Race on August 27. "This was the most fun of all," she said. She sailed her own Santana 22, Zingaro, in that race. Next was Tiburon YC’s Joan Storer Regatta on stormy October 15, a trying day for all who braved the weather. In that race, McKenna took the helm of Pat Broderick’s Wyliecat 30 Nancy. In his Santana 22 days, Broderick was one of Jennifer’s early mentors.
The weekend of November 5-6 was a busy one. On that Saturday, RYC launched the inaugural Amazing Grace Cheney Cup, a women-only race honoring a beloved club member who passed away suddenly in April. McKenna sailed Zingaro in that race with her regular crew plus an extra guest sailor in the spirit of inclusiveness.
The women’s circuit wrapped up the next day on the Alameda Estuary with Island YC’s Jack & Jill + 1. In that triplehanded race, McKenna served as the ‘plus one’ for a new Santana 22 owner, paying forward the mentoring she had received when she was a novice Tuna sailor.
After the 2017 YRA Calendar is published on December 30, we encourage Northern California racers to check out the new Women’s Circuit page. Put together your own series of events, send us proof of your participation by November 10, and you too could be crowned Queen of the Women’s Circuit.