Junior women sailors interested in gaining international sailing experience are invited to participate in the 2009 Next Step to Rolex Program. The three-day learning experience takes place early October 2009 and is held in conjunction with US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC) at Rochester Yacht Club.

The Next Step to Rolex Program was established in 1997 to expose juniors to advanced women's sailing in a mentoring atmosphere. Since its creation, the Next Step to Rolex Program has served as an inspiration for hundreds of young women from across the U.S. and abroad. Several participants in the Next Step to Rolex Program over the years have come from our area.

"The goal of this program is to give junior sailors a chance to improve their skills in a different type of boat they would normally sail, and to reach beyond what they know, to set their sights a little higher," said 2007 clinic chair, Joanne Kolius. "We decided as a group that one of these girls will one day win the Rolex Women's Keelboat."

Many, like 2007 participant Alexa Cavalieri (Annapolis, MD), have never sailed on a keelboat. "It was a great learning experience being on a big boat," said the then 14-year-old. "It's not everyday that girls like me get that kind of chance. It was really fun working on communication and teamwork. It's nice to get along with everyone." Junior women sailors, 13 to 17 years old, can apply online later this year. Entries should include a letter of recommendation from a sailing coach or instructor as well as an essay about the junior sailor's desire to be part of the Next Step program. For additional information on the Next Step to Rolex Program, contact Liz Walker at

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has announced the lineup of skippers who will contest the Grand Final of the 2009 ISAF Nations Cup, to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil from 23-28 March. The ISAF Nations Cup is a global competition to find the world's top match racing nation and develop match racing infrastructure around the world. Nelson Ilha (BRA), chairman of the Organizing Committee in Brazil, said "We are looking forward to welcoming some of the world's best match racers to Porto Alegre for the Grand Final of the ISAF Nations Cup. We have a fantastic team in place and everyone has been working incredibly hard to make sure 2009 is a memorable event." A series of worldwide Regional Finals has narrowed the competition down to 10 nations and the lineup of skippers announced today features some of the world's leading match racing talent. Representing North America will be Dave Perry, who was here in Port Washington speaking on the new racing rules, and Anna Tunnicliffe, who won gold in the one person Laser Radial dinghy, but is also a highly skilled match racer, having won the US national title last year. "One of the legacies of the event will be the creation of the first match race training centre in Brazil for women's match racing. This is fantastic news for Brazil, especially with Women's Match Racing selected as one of the sailing events for the 2012 London Olympic Games."

With the official first day of spring this week, it might be nice to start thinking of getting in shape for summer racing. Scuttlebutt, the online sailing newsletter, had some good information this past week about this very topic. Specifically geared to the bowman on a boat, whose job is to make sail changes go smoothly, jibing the spinnaker pole, and, in general, run the front end of the boat, this information would be good for anyone who wants to increase their flexibility, agility, balance and strength - which would probably include all of us who sail and race on Manhasset Bay. This could be combined with a strong cardiovascular program, and you would be good to go...ready to take on the most formidable opponent (after learning the new racing rules, of course!) Several exercises that were mentioned follow: 1. Squat thrust/Shoulder press: It's a great exercise that challenges the heart rate, incorporates many different exercises all in one (synergistic) and will challenge the best athletes. This exercise can be intensified by first pre-exhausting the arms and legs. 2. Rows: These can be done one arm or two. Adding a Bosu ball or Stability ball will assist in working the core (throw in some pullups, as many as possible). For details on each, go to:

Crossing the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne at 12h43min19sec GMT, Rich Wilson, of Marblehead, MA, completed the 28,590.2, miles Vendee Globe solo non stop round the world race in ninth. Wilson, the race's senior skipper at 58 years old, becomes only the second American ever to finish the Vendee Globe after Bruce Schwab finished ninth from 20 starters in the 2004-5 race on his Ocean Planet.

His finish is a great triumph for the amateur solo skipper whose career has progressed steadily, regularly proving that he has the steel and the skill to take on big challenges. Between 1993 and 2003 on his 50-foot trimaran Great American II he set world records on clipper routes. In 1993 he set a record for San Francisco to Boston of 69 days 20 hours. In 2001 he sailed from New York to Melbourne in 68 days and 10 hours; and in 2003 he sailed from Hong Kong to New York in 72 days and 21 hours setting a world record Great American II vs. Clipper Sea Witch, with Rich du Moulin as crew, after which he competed in the 2004 Transat finishing second in class 2.

In a field which is mainly populated by die-hard professional solo skippers, Wilson stands out with a long academic, teaching, consultancy and investment career which has run successfully alongside his sailing programs. He has three university and college degrees from Harvard, from MIT, and Harvard Business School. He has also been an inspiration to asthma sufferers all over the globe. Afflicted since the age of one, he went on to run the Boston marathon in 1982 and has taken four daily medications to keep his asthma under control.

Rich does not just race his boat to victory. Since 1993, a quarter million students have followed Rich's quests via an interactive classroom on Prodigy and a 12-part weekly series written aboard ship. The series was published as part of "Newspapers in Education" by 12 major daily newspapers, including the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Boston Globe. The program evolved into a series of educational programs now available through the Sites Alive Foundation and Rich's mission is simple: excite, engage, and teach students. Rich's two passions, education and sailing, earned him one of sailing's highest honors, the Cruising Club of America's (CCA) prestigious Blue Water Medal. Rich joins such luminaries as Rod Stephens, Sir Francis Chichester, Eric Tabarly, and Bernard Moitessier. More information, and Logo
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