Women From Around the World to Race in this Weekend’s Regatta
Flying their colorful spinnakers to harness the gusting winds of New York Harbor, the J/24 sailboats racing this weekend in the Lady Liberty Regatta will be easy to identify. Look closely: each spinnaker (a large, ballooning sail attached to the vessel’s bow at three points) will sport the colors of the flag of an international, all-woman team.
Women from around the world are converging on the harbor and the Hudson River for the event, hosted by the Manhattan Yacht Club (MYC) and sponsored by the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation. First organized in 1989 as the Betsy Ross Bowl, the event was reintroduced as the Lady Liberty Regatta in 2019, with American and Canadian teams participating. When regatta participation was widened last year to competitors beyond North America, teams arrived from the United Kingdom and Sweden. For 2023, the international field includes all-women sailing teams from Australia, Canada, France, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Monaco, and Sweden. The eight international competitors are joining three American teams (two are local and one team is from Maine) for three thrilling days of racing.
“The competition is very hard,” said Danielle Gallo, MYC vice commodore and one of the organizers of the regatta. “This is high caliber, international racing. Everyone who is coming has huge accolades.”
Ms. Gallo has skippered a women’s team at MYC for more than 20 years. “I wanted to make sure women had chances to get better at sailing,” she said. “As more opportunities became available for women to sail, I’ve seen women become more empowered.”
Practice begins this afternoon, and races will be held throughout the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the top four teams declared at day’s end on Sunday. All races will start and finish from the Honorable William Wall—familiarly known as the Willy Wall—Manhattan Yacht Club’s floating clubhouse anchored north of Ellis Island. Spectators may watch the races from the shore, but the best experience, no doubt, will be aboard the Willy Wall, which is open to the public. Lower Manhattan fans can get to the Willy Wall by taking a ferry, PATH, or taxi to Jersey City, and then boarding the MYC’s Admiral’s Launch, docked at club headquarters at the Newport Yacht Club and Marina (140 Dudley Street). Tickets are $10 on Friday and Sunday, and $30 on Saturday.