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Next Step

Junior women sailors interested in gaining international sailing experience are invited to participate in the 2011 Next Step to Rolex Program. The two-day learning experience is held in conjunction with US SAILING's Rolex International Women's Keelboat Championship (Rolex IWKC) at Rochester Yacht Club. Junior women sailors, 13 to 17 years old, can apply online until 15 June.  Entries should include an online essay about  the junior sailor's desire to be part of the Next Step program.  

This year's clinic will be held August 25-26 with arrival the afternoon of August 24th. Space is limited and applications will open on May 11.  All applications must be received by 15 June 2011.  Space is limited to 24 sailors and in the event that more than 24 sailors apply, a lottery will be held.  Interested sailors are asked to submit a brief essay on why they would like to participate.

The schedule for 2011 is below

Wednesday, August 24 - registration from 3 - 5; followed by dockside demonstration and dinner
Thursday, August 25 - clinic and dinner
Friday, August 26 - clinic, departure in the afternoon

The  Next Step to Rolex Program was established in 1997 to expose juniors to advanced women's sailing in a mentoring atmosphere. Event organizer Cory Sertl said, “Next Step to Rolex gives high school age girls the opportunity to experience a high level of training on J22s that is geared towards learning teamwork and racing on a larger boat than they are accustomed to. The coaches in the program are hands-on and teach these young women how to perform various jobs and how to work together as a team. Everyone has a chance to try each position on the boat,” continued Sertl, a former Rolex IWKC Champion and two-time winner of US SAILING Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award. 

“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.” 

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.  This clinic is also eligible for US SAILING's Sailorship program. To apply, click here.  For additional information on the Next Step to Rolex Program, contact organizer Cory Sertl.