Sarah Burn, Patricia Gerli Win U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (July 10, 2016) – Sarah Burn and Patricia Gerli tamed the fleet of 29 Club 420s this week to earn the U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship for the Ida Lewis Trophy. This year’s championship was decided on the waters of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and hosted by Bay-Waveland Yacht Club. The regatta consisted of three racing days, preceded by two days of clinics.

JWD16_winnersThe fleet completed one race on Sunday, four on Saturday and three on Friday. The Mississippi heat couldn’t slow down Burn and Gerli, who won three races overall and their worst place finish was sixth (twice). Placing second by eight points was Michelle Lahrkamp and Gabriella DelBello. They won three of the final five races, including Sunday’s race.

“We are both new 420 sailors,” said Sarah. “The clinics were great. There were a lot of great coaches working with us every day and we learned and focused on different things, which helped throughout the regatta. There was a lot of instruction on land on how to make the boats go as fast as possible. To win is great. I’ve always admired those who have won this championship in the past.”

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 Wednesday, July 6 and Thursday, July 7. Led by Richard Feeny, US Sailing Junior National Coach, the clinics will feature several college sailing coaches including Roger Williams Head Coach, Amanda Callahan, South Florida Assistant Coach, Zack Marks, Navy Assistant Coach, Dillon Paiva, and former US Sailing Team members, Alana O’Reilly and Elizabeth Kratzig.

What was on the line?

  • The top two eligible teams not already qualified received an invitation to the 2016 U.S. Youth Championships (August 5-9 /Coronado, Calif.), the premiere youth sailing regatta in the country, in a doublehanded boat of their choice.

Results & Coverage

  • Final results and standings
  • For Twitter updates from the racecourse, results and standings, photos, and more information from the 2016 U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship, please visit the event website.
  • Take part in the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using hashtag – #IdaLewis16.
  • Local coverage in The Sun Herald – Bay-Waveland will host U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded sailing this weekend

Weather & Conditions

  • Sunday – Very light wind and not enough breeze for the second of two races planned. Scattered storms surrounded the racecourse creating light northerly conditions for the first race. The attempt at the second race saw 20-30 degree wind shifts. A 60 degree shift at the start of the second attempted race caused a general recall. Continued shifts called an end to racing for the day.
  • Saturday – Mostly clear with 30% cloud coverage in the form of fair weather thermal cumulus clouds.
  • Friday – Light seabreeze of 8-12 knots at 180-210 degrees, which was being controlled by a series of storms in the area. Temperature was in the low 90s by race time. Chop was less than 12 inches high but quite steep as the bay is only about 10 feet deep.

Quotes & Commentary

  • Sarah Burn (on her experience at the championship) – “It’s great group of competitive girls out here and I’m learning a lot. I’ve been working a lot on keeping my downwinds fast and sailing downwinds on the right shift. The shifty and puffy conditions are fun. Sometimes you think it’s coming in but you need to be patient and try and win your side.
  • Theodora Horangic (on her experience at the championship) – “My sister, Helen, and I just started sailing 420s these past few months. We’ve had thermals coming through so you have to watch for the clouds and anticipate when fronts are coming through. Helen and I have lived on a boat for the past two years so we are happy to be with the other kids. It’s kind of like summer camp.”
  • Victoria Oldham (on her experience at the championship) – “The coaches have been supportive and helpful on and off the racecourse. A lot of these coaches have experience in different boats, so they bring an important perspective. We need to keep sailing fast, keep getting the clear air, and not allow scores get to our heads.
  • Richard Feeny (about the championship and venue) – “The bay is a fantastic place for sailing when that seabreeze is pumping. We’ve got young women here representing all areas of the country. In the clinics we focused on a lot of drills that helped us teach skills to sailors of all levels. It’s hot, but the girls are showing a lot of energy and they are also eager to learn and share information with each other.
  • Elizabeth Kratzig (on the clinics and venue) – “We had two days of outstanding clinics and practice racing. We’ve had a variety of sailors at different skill levels in the 420. Everyone is improving and ready to start racing. The girls are adjusting and prepared for the Mississippi heat. This venue is really interesting because the wind is puffing and shifty, so you have to work through a lot of transitions with your weight and sail trim on the boat. It’s been challenging for some of our newer teams. The smart, strategical sailor that can connect the puffs and get on the right shift closest to the mark will benefit most.”
  • Elizabeth Kaplan (on the clinics) – “The clinics have been a lot of fun. I’ve had a chance to meet other sailors from around the country. I’ve learned about how to look for puffs and how certain elements can affect how fast you can go. The coaching has been great. They have worked specifically with our crew and as a group.”
  • Elizabeth Crocker (on the venue) – “This is my first time in Mississippi, so its a change to me. It’s hotter than anything I’ve experienced. The wind is interesting in the bay. It’s a lot different than anything I’ve sailed in before. You really have to look out for the puffs.”

Championship Notes

  • Support of the U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship as well as the clinics 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
  • Sailors racing this week were ages 13 to 18.
  • 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 Doublehanded Championship started in 1995.


  • The Ida Lewis Trophy is the perpetual trophy presented to the winning team.
  • US Sailing Championship medals were awarded to competitors who finish first through fifth.
  • Trophies will be awarded to competitors finishing in the top three places.
  • The C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Sportsmanship Prize was awarded to a team based on the results of the competitors’ ballots.

Social Media Highlights

#idalewis16 leaders at top mark practice race @ussailing

A video posted by BWYC Jr. Sailing (@bwycjrsailing) on

End of Race 2 #idalewis16 Race Day 1 ⛵️

A photo posted by BWYC Jr. Sailing (@bwycjrsailing) on

Coach Feeny coaching tacks on the wire. #idalewis16

A photo posted by BWYC Jr. Sailing (@bwycjrsailing) on

Happy girls! Great dinner tonight #idalewis16 Thanks to the many BWYC volunteers for hosting this wonderful evening.

A photo posted by BWYC Jr. Sailing (@bwycjrsailing) on


The 2016 U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship is sponsored by Gill North America and Switlik Survival Products. Zim Sailing is the exclusive charter provider. This US Sailing National Championship is a Sailors for the Sea – Clean Regatta.