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20 sailors from five-member clubs made up nearly half the fleet for the Sunfish Women's N.A.s

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

FWSA Competes in Sunfish Women’s North American Championship in Delaware! By Dee Gill, Salty Sister/Dinghy Dame


FWSA members turned out in force for the Sunfish Women's North American Championship Aug. 19-20, 2023 in Lewes DE.

Our 20 sailors from five member clubs made up nearly half the fleet for the event, which was a qualifier for the 2024 Sunfish World's event in Dallas. Amanda Callahan of Bristol Yacht Club in Rhode Island and head sailing coach at Roger Williams University took first place overall.

Dinghy Dame Gail Heausler took second, Luffing Lassies MaryEllen Brown took sixth and Lisa Brown Ehrhart of Luffing Lassies finished eighth. Third place went to Susan Tillman Berg, who traveled from Seattle to continue her family's tradition of racing the event. The event trophy is named after her parents, Linda and Dick Tillman.

Much of the Florida contingent arrived towing boats and a lot of leftover snacks from the road trip. Many of us stayed in homes in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach with hosts that helped us easily navigate the logistics of parking, unloading trailers and the beach launches. The hospitality in these homes was very much appreciated.

Host club Lewes Yacht Club offered a practice race on Friday to help acclimate participants to the local conditions. The club sits near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and the incoming and outgoing tides create very strong currents. Higher wind also can make launching over the waves challenging.

On the first day of racing, winds were about 15 knots with gusts up to about 29 and a strong incoming current, creating roughly 3-5 foot rollers for much of the day. The temperature was a pretty perfect 70s most of the day. Getting off the beach was a little daunting, but volunteers held our boats in the waves to help us out. After a particularly long first race, we sailed three more of roughly 45 minutes each. Some of us learned the hard way to think harder about currents at mark rounding!

Day 2 offered much milder conditions, with much easier launching and winds starting out at around 6-8 knots. We got in two races before the wind died and the heat rose. After some time cleaning up the boats and loading, we gathered under trees for lunch and awards. Of course, a huge part of the fun of these events is spending time with a great group of like-minded women. The club hosted dinner for us all Saturday, which was great for catching up with fellow sailors from all over. We gathered informally for other meals and sightseeing. Many of us spent our last evening at the Rehoboth boardwalk whacking rubber frogs onto lily pads (which no one managed) and riding the (easier) carousel.

A huge thank you to Connie Miller for chairing and the volunteers that made this a great event for all of us.

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Unknown member
Aug 24, 2023

Congratulations to Luffing Lassie Mary Ellen Brown. She place 6th in the Sunfish Women's North Americans!


Susan St. John
Susan St. John
Aug 24, 2023

Congratulations to everyone.

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