2014 Yachtswoman is East Troy sailor
Stephanie Roble is as competitive as anybody, and her aspirations are to be the best. However, the East Troy native and Burlington Catholic Central graduate never imaged she would win such an award — at least not yet.
Roble, 25, recently was named the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year for 2014.
A first-time nominee and one of seven finalists, the selection committee recognized Roble for her versatility, accomplishments as a skipper and a crew and her success in a variety of platforms while sailing against men and women.
“I was happy just to be on this list and be considered one of the best sailors,” Roble said via phone recently from Key West, Florida, where she was competing in a regatta. “I didn't expect this at all. I'm so humbled by all of this. It's amazing.”
A member of the Etchells World Championship winning team, Roble also crewed on the seventh-place finisher at the J/70 North American Championship and the fifth place-finisher at the Melges 20 North American Championship.
As a skipper, she won the U.S. Women's Match Racing Championship and placed third at the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship. Based on her 2014 results, the 2011 Old Dominion University (Va.) graduate began the new year as the top American match racer with a No. 3 ranking in the world.
One panelist remarked in a news release that Roble “has made bold and courageous choices in her post-collegiate sailing life,” while another lauded her as “the latest in a generation of women sailors who are working hard to make a name and a living at sailing. She is a trailblazer; she is a tremendous ambassador for the sport.”
Roble began her sailing career in dinghies and scows from Lake Beulah Yacht Club in her hometown. A successful junior sailor, she also earned collegiate All-American honors three times.
Her goals include winning the ISAF World Championship while continuing to compete in the Melges 20, J/70 and Etchells classes.
“Growing up on Lake Beulah, I started (sailing) when I was pretty young,” Roble said. “I attended sailing school at the yacht club, and I started going to more and more competitions. I knew I wanted to travel all over the world.”
Roble has been doing just that, and making a name for herself.
Her team got the real itch for match racing in 2010 because it was an event in the 2012 Olympics, and they made the semis in the 2016 Olympic Trials.
“The past year has been a fun adventure and true test of personal determination as I dove into professional sailing,” she said in the news release announcing the award. “I love sharing my passion for sailing with others and learning more about the sport each day. I was fortunate to be a member of several teams throughout the year, including my own match race team, which allowed me to reach many personal goals.
“In the end, it was through the massive support of my teammates who pushed me to become a better sailor and ultimately receive this coveted award. I am thrilled to join this admirable list of American sailors.”
Roble competed in cross-country and track in high school, and her interests include wake boarding, snowboarding and running. But sailing is her passion.
“I fell in love with match racing, and this year I've been working really hard,” Roble said. “Winning this award makes me want to work harder and harder and keep pushing and pushing to become a better person and a better sailor.”
Stephanie Roble, front left, competes during the Lysekil women's match race.