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Event HistoryInaugurated in 1985 at the instigation of US SAILING's Women’s Championship Committee, of which Helen K. Ingerson was a long-time Chair, the International Women’s Keelboat Championship quickly became the premier women’s sailing event in the U.S. and worldwide. Held biennially, the event provides women keelboat and offshore sailors high quality racing and an opportunity to compete with the top national and international sailors. The Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Newport, RI became host for the event, and Rolex Watch, U.S.A. Inc. - sponsor at its inception - subsequently became the title sponsor.
The trophy is named for Bengt Julin, an international judge and strong supporter of women’s sailing. A modest man and sailing philanthropist, Julin championed the event from its inception and was instrumental in making it an international competition. Julin presented the very first trophy to Betsy Alison and retired the original to her after she had won it three times consecutively. Alison of Newport R.I. had an unbroken winning streak competing against teams from a dozen or more nations from 1991 through 1997. In 2007, Sally Barkow matched Alison by winning the championship for the third time.
Ida Lewis Yacht Club hosted the championship until 2001, when it moved to Annapolis Yacht Club who hosted it in 2001, 2003 and 2005. Houston Yacht Club first hosted the championship in 2007 but in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in 2008, the championship was moved to Rochester Yacht Club. Bids are currently being accepted for the 2013 and 2015 event.