Swett's crew clinches semifinal spot SANTA MARIA CUP

June 12, 1992|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

After two days and 40 races, three things are clear: Hannah Swett's team will be in the semifinal round today, six other crews still have a shot, and three crews cannot advance beyond the round robin of the Santa Maria Cup being sailed on the Inner Harbor.

Swett, of Jamestown, R.I., won four of five races she sailed yesterday and is in first place with a 7-1 record. Even if Swett loses her final match of the round robin today against Dawn Riley of Detroit, Swett will still have the best record among the 10 teams.

Riley, Diane Burton of Annapolis, Mary Brigden Snow of San Diego and Nicky Bethwaite of Australia are tied for second with 5-3 records.

Susie Minton of the United States Naval Academy and Betsy Alison of Newport, R.I., are tied for third with 4-4 records.

In yesterday's racing, said Swett, who finished third here last year, experience was a big factor because the winds were light and fluky, putting a premium on tactics and crew work.

"We haven't had any problems with teamwork," said Swett, who is sailing with Ellie Field, Alyce Robinson and Melissa Purdy. "Mainly, everyone has been able to switch around, and that is probably 90 percent of why were are doing so well."

Field and Robinson sailed with Swett here last year.

Among the better matches yesterday was Swett against Burton and later against Alison.

"We were behind against Alison on the first leg," Swett said. "I thought we won the start, but they accelerated faster and were able to pinch us off."

On the first downwind leg, however, Swett was able to play the wind shifts better, passed Alison on the inside and built a good lead by the leeward mark rounding.

Against Burton, the race was close throughout, but Swett again played the light southerly nicely.

"We were able to get some speed up from underneath [Swett] going on port tack to the starboard layline," said Burton. "But then we ran into Betsy Alison's bad air, who was sailing in front of us . . . I was almost in the passing lane.

"I screwed up twice today and it cost me two races."

Burton's other loss came against Riley, who faces Swett today and can make the semifinals with a victory.

Burton, however, must sail against Snow, and the loser of that match will be eliminated.

"It is going to be very interesting," Burton said. "She has a very good crew. . . . I will just have to be right on her."

If Riley loses to Swett, she will have to rely on the tiebreakers to get a spot in the semifinals. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition, and Riley has beaten Burton, Snow and Minton but lost to Alison.

Alison is matched with Titch Blachford of England today and would finish the round robin 5-4 with a victory -- and perhaps squeeze into the semifinals through the tiebreakers.

Judy Lugar, Susan Madrigali and Blachford will race today but cannot make the semifinals.

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