Louise Morton's Espada beat 16 other teams to win the Women's Open Keelboat Championship 2010. It's the third time Louise has claimed the trophy, but this year the competition was hot on her heels. In a closely contested championship, Pip Hare came second, with Elaine (Elan 37), and in third was JOS of Hamble (J105) , skippered by Clemency Ives.
160 women from all over the UK and abroad took part in the event, which was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble, and supported by championship sponsor Coffin Mew LLP, race sponsor Dubarry of Ireland and drinks sponsor Wight Vodka.
Six races over two days were spilt into three classes - IRC1, IRC2 and J80. Espada (1/4 tonner) won all six races in IRC2 to claim the class victory, but Elaine came close to pushing her off the top of the Championship, winning five races in IRC1 to claim class victory, but not quite the Championship. Swallow, skippered by Viks Lincoln, came out on top in the J80 class, in the inaugural year for one-design racing at the event.
Racing in the Solent was challenging with competitors having to contend with gusty winds of 22 knots on Saturday afternoon and the postponement of racing for an hour due to light winds on Sunday morning. Peter Bateson (PRO), from the Royal Southern Yacht Club, set a series of challenging courses accommodating the range of boats participating, and creating some exciting mark roundings as the fleet mixed with the Farr 45 class, who were also racing with the RSnYC.
One of the event's organisers, Jody Slater, commented: "It was a fantastic weekend, with all the competitors really getting into the spirit of the event, whether at the front or back of the fleet. It was also great to see the Championship so well supported by both our sponsors, but also other sailors. The Frock's & Flip-Flops Party was a great success, attracting lots of sailors from the local area, and raising £800 for Breast Cancer Care, a charity that WOKC is proud to support."
Winner Louise Morton added: "I'm delighted to win the Women's Open Keelboat Championship for the third time. It was a challenge as there were several new crew members on Espada and the first races on Saturday were very hectic!"
Several other teams took awards including Sheactive, skippered by Julie Fawcett, winning the 'spirit of the event' prize, and Cathy Vise's Wizard named most improved team.