La Porte, TX (July 20, 2006) – If any sailor has had a good opportunity to prepare for the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship, which starts this coming Sunday at Houston Yacht Club, it would be Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.). Roble is currently competing against the world’s best young women sailors at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Great Britain. As soon as the event wraps up later this week, the 17-year-old will be packing her bags and head to La Porte, TX, to defend her title and possibly qualify for another spot on the starting line at the Youth World Championship next year.
Roble will be one of nearly 60 young women sailors competing for US SAILING’s Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy, presented to the winner of the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship. The event, sponsored by Vanguard Sailboats, will kick off on Sunday, July 23, with a two-day clinic and followed by three days of racing, wrapping up on Thursday July 27.
Since the event was first held in 1986, the Championship has played a major role in the country’s development of junior women sailing. Past winners of the event have gone on to compete at the highest levels of the sport. For example, three-time champion Paige Railey (2001, ’02′ and ’04) is the reigning Laser Radial World Champion. Julia Trotman (1986) went on to win a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic Games. Numerous others have qualified for the US Sailing Team, including the defending champion Stephanie Roble, who in 2005 was one of the youngest members on the Team.
There is no doubt that one of the major reasons for this event being so important in youth development is because of the two-day racing clinic held before racing starts. The clinic, a tradition at all of US SAILING’s Junior Championships, is taught by several of the country’s best sailors. This year, the clinic will be taught by four past US Sailing Team members: Brett Davis, Leah Hoepfner, Matt Sterett, and Kurt Taulbee. Scott Ikle, coach of the successful sailing team at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, is leading the clinic.
The exciting competition will be raced in Laser Radials provided by leading boat manufacturer and event sponsor Vanguard Sailboats. An Olympic class, the Laser Radial carries similar performance characteristics as the very popular Laser, but the Radial’s slightly less powerful sail plan makes it the perfect boat for smaller singlehanded sailors and youth sailors. This design has done much to advance the sport of sailing and sailboat racing among women.
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