SDYC to Host Largest PCISA Girls Invitational Yet

Posted on October 19, 2017

San Diego Yacht Club will host the Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Association's (PCISA) Girls Invitational from October 21-22, 2017. This regatta is an all-girls event that draws high school teams from all across the country to participate. There will be 21 teams participating in the 2017 running of the event, with 15 of those teams traveling to San Diego from out of town.

The only one of its kind in the country, the Girls Invitational was first held in the spring of 2010. Race organizers held it again in October 2010, and it has been held in the fall every year since. This event was founded by SDYC member and former College All-American Sailor for the United States Naval Academy, Mary Brigden Snow.

Defending champions Corona Del Mar High School will be back for the 2017 running of the regatta, which will feature the largest participation ever to date. Other recent winners are Newport Harbor High School (2015) and Coronado High School (2014). 

Maddy McGrath will sail the Girls Invitational for the last time this year, as a senior for the Francis Parker School. “I love competing in this regatta because it provides such a unique opportunity to race against girls-only teams in a high school style format—the only other major all-girls junior regatta I know of is Ida Lewis. This is such an important event because all too often regattas are dominated by male skippers. While there may be an award at events for a 'top girl' team, I feel like often female teams don’t receive the recognition that they deserve.”

McGrath, who is a San Diego Yacht Club member, also touches on how this event is helpful for girls who are looking for skipper experience. “This regatta is a great opportunity for girls (who primarily crew in the high school circuit) to practice skippering in an environment where pretty much everyone is a fairly new skipper. They may be high level sailors, but are used to only crewing, like me. I love this regatta because it gives me the opportunity to be at a competitive level among other girls, rather than being destroyed on the start line by the Gold A-division boys during race days at practice.”

Competitors will race in CFJs and racing will be held on the Shelter Island Shoal, just south of the Harbor Police dock. Racers will rotate from Kellogg’s Beach. The very best spectating will be from the tip of Shelter Island.

Marlisa Anderson and Judith Wattson will co-chair the event. Wattson explains how though this regatta is for high school students, it can make a large impact on women's college sailing.

“It's fun for me to be involved with the PCISA Girls Invitational once again. My older daughter Greer was a freshman skippering for Newport Harbor High School and I served as chaperone for the inaugural event. She went on to sail in college (skipper/crew) due in large part to this event. Many girls on the larger (deeper) teams don’t always have the opportunity to 'drive' in their district co-ed events. Many owe their success in women’s college sailing to their participation and the fostering they received through this regatta. My oldest is now a college sailing coach and my husband and I are thrilled to be back on the high school sailing circuit with our younger daughter Shaye, a freshman at The Bishop’s School.” 

There will be a practice day on Friday, October 20 with racing starting at 11am on Saturday and Sunday. Following racing on Sunday, October 22 will be an awards ceremony held at San Diego Yacht Club where prizes will be awarded to schools placing first, second, and third in the regatta.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Emily Willhoft.

Emily Willhoft
Communications Director
o: 619-758-6316
e: emily@sdyc.org