By Lori Draz
This one is for the ladies.
August 20 is the date for the 12th Annual Ms. Race, the women-only sailboat race crewed by girls from age seven to women in their 70s. The Ms. Race is an annual charity sailing regatta hosted by the Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club (AHYC) each August, sponsored by and for women, with the support of the AHYC race committee and sponsored for the third year in a row by AT&T. The Ms. Race was inaugurated in 2005 by a group of female sailors at AHYC, to encourage women to sail. Proceeds from the Ms. Race, as well as other related special events throughout the year, are donated to 180 Turning Lives Around, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in our community.
This year’s theme is “United We Sail” and sail they shall on Sandy Hook Bay in Atlantic Highlands. Ms. Race committee co-chair Aleen Colitz explained, “Women throughout Monmouth County race and contribute to a wonderful cause. We are supporting the essential services provided by 180 Turning Lives Around, which helps women dealing with domestic and sexual violence. We hope to have many women join us for this year’s race, because not only are we supporting a good cause, we believe our sailors gain a lot of confidence in their own abilities on the water. You can find out more about entering the Ms. Race and making a donation to 180 by going to www.180nj.org and looking for the Ms. Race under Special Events. Additionally, we welcome anyone with a boat to be a spectator. There are no fees to cheer on the sailors. If you can’t make the race, you can still make a donation to benefit this wonderful organization. If you’d like to learn more, please visit the website at www.ahyc.net and look for the Ms. Race under Premier Events or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The Ms. Race is open to all women from the local community and they are always looking for women with boats to participate in the race and women who want to crew, any or no experience needed. The Ms. Race committee members and experienced sailors come from all over the area, including:
Aleen Colitz, Ms. Race committee co-chair and Ms. Race captain every year since inception, is a retired lawyer living in Holmdel.
Diane Kropfl, Ms. Race committee co-chair and longtime Ms. Race sailor, is an executive director at AT&T and works in Middletown.
Eileen Campbell is a Ms. Race committee member and Ms. Race captain for every race.
Janice Miller, Ms. Race Committee member, is a former 180 advisory board member. She is a lawyer in Red Bank.
Marion Bartholomew, a Ms. Race sailor every year since its inception, lives in Shrewsbury.
Kay Curtiss, Ms. Race Committee member and longtime sailor, lives in Little Silver.
Emily Smith, winner of the 2014 Ms. Race and Ms. Race committee member, is a realtor at Weichert Realtors in Rumson.
Donna Syers, Ms. Race Committee member, is a two-time winner of the Ms. Race (2012 and 2013) with her four daughters, who live in Sea Bright. Donna Syers’ daughter Lauren Pepsny was also the second place captain of the 2015 Ms. Race.
Arlene Bordone, longtime Ms. Race sailor, is an engineer at AT&T in Middletown and a resident of Colts Neck.
Director of Development for 180 Lynn Lucarelli, from Fair Haven, thanked the race committee, AHYC, racers, and donators. “180 is so grateful for this support, especially in this 40th anniversary year of 180 Turning Lives Around. With the recent opening of our new and expanded Safe House, we are serving more Monmouth County families than ever before. The funds raised through the Ms. Race will support the many programs and lifesaving services of 180, including our emergency shelter, Safe House, for victims of domestic abuse, as well as other programs that provide advocacy, outreach, education, and training.”
The AHYC Ms. Race is open to sailboats with female-only crews and must follow the directions in the Notice of Race at www.regattanetwork.com/event/12959. Boats that race are typically 21 feet or larger and race non-spinnaker. One-design fleets with smaller boats will also be accommodated.
The AHYC is located in Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor in Atlantic Highlands and is a popular stopover for boaters cruising or in transit to Sandy Hook and New York Harbor. Members of AHYC operate the Atlantic Highlands Sailing Education Program (AHSEP), a non-profit school open to all area children and teens through age 17 who want to learn to sail. Visit www.ahyc.net.
(All photos by Jeff Smith @JeffSmithPhoto.net)