Growing Older, Not Up


And then one of my favorite regattas is cancelled, and I realize if I were really still a kid, it would look like a big disappointment instead of a step forward.

I grew up with the Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship, at least as a sailor. My first event in 1991 marked my entry into high level racing; in those days it was a “must-do” for women looking to improve as sailors. After that I never missed it, though I did upgrade my position from bow, to middle, and eventually all the way back to the helm. It was a great cross-training event while we were preparing for the Olympics. And then it became a great chance to sail against the next generation of Olympians, on a fairly even playing field.

My last event, in 2011, turned out to be the final event of that name, though it’s possible some offspring regatta will eventually replace it.  The 2013 regatta was scheduled for this week, but due to lack of interest it was cancelled at the last minute.

If I were still trying to gain experience, I’d be really bummed that this biennial celebration of women’s sailing is no more. Instead, I’m celebrating that today’s hopefuls have the opportunity for top-level international competition more than once every two years. Those coming up through the ranks now have so many options that the Rolex was getting lost in a sea of sailing. And that’s a good thing.

So I guess I have to admit to growing up after all, along with the Rolex. We both had our day, and now we both are sailing off to other adventures. It was a great ride, and I won’t let go of the many great friendships and teammates that came my way in the past twenty years. But I have already let go of the event that brought us all together. The Rolex is dead, long live the Rolex.