Abbie Carlson Wins Close Leiter Cup/Junior Women’s Singlehanded Champs

Some press releases are just a lot more fun than others to repost. Seattle Yacht Club Sailing Director Brian Ledbetter clued us into this one. His Seattle Yacht Club race team, and Seattle sailors, continue to establish themselves as a force on the national scene. Brian’s quick to point out that this is the third time SYC women have won the Leiter Cup in recent years, including Hanne Weaver in 2012 and Talia Toland last year. Congratulations Abbie and the support network we know you have!

2017 U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship Comes Down to Final Race

us-junior-womens-single-champ-logo-w-leiter/SHOREACRES, Texas (July 11, 2017) – The 2017 U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship finished as one of most closely contested US Sailing National Championships in recent history on Tuesday. In the end, it was Abbie Carlson (Bellevue, Wash.) who earned first place honors and the Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy following a strong showing over three days on Galveston Bay in the Laser Radial. She placed third at last year’s championship in Seattle. For the second straight year, a sailor representing the Seattle Yacht Club has won the Leiter Trophy.

Carlson trailed leader Grace Austin (Greenwich, Conn) by seven points through five races in a very competitive fleet. The first five races of the series were dominated by light wind, but just before the sixth race the seabreeze filled from the Southeast at 8 to 10 knots, providing the best sailing conditions of the week.

Abbie Carlson winning race 1.

Carlson placed fourth in the final race, ahead of her rivals for the overall title. This, combined with the dropped score that came into effect upon the completion of six races, gave Carlson an 11-point turnaround and a four point win over Austin. Marianna Shand (Chula Vista, Calif.) finished third overall and posted the top results in Tuesday’s three races.

The top five sailors on the leaderboard at the conclusion of the championships were separated by only seven points. There were also six different race winners in six races. Due to insufficient wind and stormy conditions, only one race was conducted on Sunday and two races on Monday.

Final Standings – Top 5
1. Abbie Carlson, Seattle Yacht Club, 1-[15]-5-2-8-4- ; 20
2. Grace Austin, Belle Haven Club / LYC, 5-2-2-10-5-[15]- ; 24
3. Marianna Shand, Mission Bay Yacht Club, 9-[27]-9-1-3-3- ; 25
4. AnaLucia Clarkson, Seattle Yacht Club, 13-1-3-3-[20]-6- ; 26
5. Anika Boicheff, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 3-4-[13]-11-7-2- ; 27
Full Results

“Honestly, I was kind of surprised because everybody was so close in points, so I didn’t find out until I came in,” said Carlson. “It was hard to stay positive during all the postponements, but I stayed focused. It was really shifty today and it wasn’t what I was expecting. Overall, I thought my speed was pretty good on the upwinds and downwinds.”

High-level coaching and skill development is a key component of this championship. Prior to racing, teams took part in a two-day clinic on Friday and Saturday led by a collection of top coaches from around the country.

“One of the things that sets the Leiter Trophy apart from other regattas is the clinic and the US Sailing provided coaches for all competitors,” said John Pearce, Youth Director of US Sailing. “It creates an atmosphere of collaboration and pushes the sailors to focus on building their skills while also striving for a great result in the Championship.”

“Our coaching staff comprised of Head Coach, Richard Feeny, and coaches Elizabeth Kratzig, Scott Ikle, Beka Schiff, and Hannah Tuson-Turner have worked with all of the sailors as a group throughout the event. During the on-shore postponement Monday, Elizabeth presented to the sailors about her career as a sailor, including her current work with the Magenta Project, and other opportunities for women in sailing. It really inspired the sailors to seek out big challenges and leadership roles within the sport.”

“I was really impressed with all the girls and the close racing, especially on the last day,” said Kratzig. “It’s an honor to be here as a coach, especially having participated in this event growing up and now to give something back towards women’s sailing and helping grow the knowledge and enthusiasm of the young female sailors is really exciting. This is a broad spectrum of sailors with varying experience. By bringing them all together it shows everybody that we have a strong contingency of women in sailing and we need to continue to build on that. This event is critical to their development as a sailor.”

The 2017 U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship for the Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy was hosted by the Houston Yacht Club.

Clinic Coaches

  • Richard Feeny – US Sailing Junior/Youth National Championships Head Coach
  • Elizabeth Kratzig – Seven-time US Sailing Team member
  • Scott Ikle – Head Coach, Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
  • Hannah Tuson-Turner – Sailing Director, Sail Orcas
  • Beka Schiff – San Diego Yacht Club

Results & Coverage

  • For Twitter updates from the racecourse, results and standings, photos (to come later in the week), final report, and more information from the 2017 U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship, please visit the event website.
  • Take part in the conversation on social media using #Leiter17.

Championship Notes

  • Support of the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship as well as the clinics associated with the event is made possible by funds provided by the late C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. to perpetuate his unwavering dedication to junior women’s sailing. This support is intended to encourage young American women to enhance their sailing ability, with emphasis on sportsmanship, by providing the opportunity to compete in national-level competition with guidance from high-level coaching. Tom Clagett’s family continues to assist in fulfilling his vision
  • The U.S. Junior Women’s Championships Committee annually hosts two events: a Singlehanded and a Doublehanded championship. Both championships are open events.
  • The U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship started in 1980.

Prizes

  • The Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy is the perpetual trophy presented to the winning sailor.
  • US Sailing Championship medals were awarded to competitors who finish first through fifth.
  • Trophies were awarded to competitors finishing in the top three places.
  • The C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Sportsmanship Prize was awarded to a sailor based on the results of the competitors’ ballots. *To be announced at awards ceremony Tuesday night.

Ed. Note: We’ll try to get the story straight from the winner’s mouth, plus hopefully some good photos. 

Kurt grew up racing and cruising in the Midwest, and has raced Lasers since the late 1970s. He has been Assistant Editor at Sailing Magazine and a short stint as Editor of Northwest Yachting. Through Meadow Point Publishing he handles various marketing duties for smaller local companies. He currently is partners on a C&C 36 which he cruises throughout the Northwest. He's married to the amazing Abby and is father to Ian and Gabe.

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