Columbus Cup collecting clout Local regatta gets international note


April 04, 1993

A Peter Baker outdoors column, originally published last fall, mistakenly appeared again in yesterday's editions of The Sunday Sun. The Cadillac Columbus Cup regatta mentioned in the column will be sailed the week of Oct. 10, 1993, at the Inner Harbor.

* The Sun regrets the error.

The Cadillac Columbus Cup will be sailed on Baltimore Harbor off Fort McHenry this week with a new cast of contestants and a slew of new sponsors that indicate this match-racing regatta is being noticed in international sailing circles.

In its first three years, the Columbus Cup was sailed in J/44s on loan from private owners, and each boat had its idiosyncrasies. Some were fast, others were faster and still others were dreadfully slow -- no matter which skipper sailed them.


This year, the regatta will be sailed in Beneteau First 310s supplied by their French builder. This is significant in at least two ways -- one, the boats are likely to be much more evenly matched than the J/44s, which had been outfitted to their owners' tastes, and two, Beneteau backs top-flight regattas that it believes are good showcases for its products.

Having Beneteau bring the Columbus Cup on board is a major

achievement for Cup organizers.

Equally impressive is the addition of Omega Watch, which is a major sponsor of world match racing events.

Yachting Magazine had been added, along with Boat/U.S., Mount Gay Rum and IOU Sportswear.

Add those to holdovers Cadillac, HarborView Marina and Yacht Club, Crown Central Petroleum Corp., Alex. Brown and Sons and the Blakeslee Group, and backing for the regatta is upper crust.

This year's field is top-flight as well and for the first time includes a woman skipper, Dawn Riley of New York.

Riley recently capped off a stint with America's Cup defender America3 by winning the Santa Maria Cup women's match racing championship here.

Another newcomer is Kevin Mahaney of Maine, who won the silver medal in the Soling at the Summer Olympics. Mahaney is ranked 10th in the world match racing standings issued Aug. 24 and finished second to Russell Coutts of New Zealand in the Mazda World Championships.

A familiar name in Columbus Cup circles is Gary Jobson of Annapolis, who will return to race in the series this year.

France will be represented by Bertrand Pace, an America's Cup sailor who ranks 21st in the world standings.

Chris Law of England returns this year after a strong performance here last year. More evenly matched boats may go a long way toward making Law's regatta more successful. Law is ranked No. 16 in the world.

Robert Fry of New Zealand, who has worked in the Nippon Challenge for the America's Cup since 1987, is a darkhorse along with Brad Butterworth of New Zealand.

John Kolius of the United States, who was the trial horse skipper for the Italian team that challenged America3 for the America's Cup in San Diego this spring, may be the sailor to keep a close eye on in this regatta.

It is fair to assume that Kolius pushed Il Moro skipper Paul Cayard hard in training for the America's Cup and will push equally hard here.

Just for chuckles, let's call it Mahaney, Law, Kolius and Jobson in the final four.

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