Santa Maria Cup sails back to the Inner Harbor

OUTDOORS

June 07, 1994|By PETER BAKER

The Santa Maria Cup Women's Match Racing Championship returns to the Inner Harbor this week, with a 10-boat field but without some of the big-name women sailors who have raced in this event since 1991.

The race -- in its fourth year -- will lose some of the better-known women to preparations for the America's Cup, which for the first time includes an all-women challenge to be the defender.

Julia Trotman, Dawn Riley and Hannah Swett are among the missing. Riley and Swett are on Bill Koch's America3 team in San Diego where the America's Cup will be sailed next year.

Trotman, who beat Swett last year to win the Santa Maria Cup, this spring married Jim Brady of Annapolis. Brady is a skipper with Dennis Conner's defense challenge and will not sail here this year.

Scott Steele, the champion board sailor from Annapolis who took over for Susan Taylor as Santa Maria Cup race director this year, said that while "there definitely is a difference" in the field this year, in the long term it might work to the advantage of the regatta and women's sailing.

"The America's Cup activity has allowed us to broaden the base of talent for this regatta," Steele said. "Skippers who might not otherwise have had a chance to sail here and at this level, now have the opportunity.

"We have a good mix this year. Top international sailors and top collegiate sailors. I think the racing will be wide open."

Among the 10 skippers are several who have sailed here previously, including the fourth-place finisher from last year.

The skippers:

* Nancy Graham, St. Petersburg, Fla. -- Second in 1993 Adams Cup finals, winner of 1992 Women's Keelboat Invitational.

* Karen Johnson, Canada -- Sixth in 1993 Santa Maria Cup, Canada Women's match racing champion, fourth in Grand Finals of the Nations Cup, 1988 Olympian.

* Diane Burton, Annapolis -- seventh in 1993 Santa Maria Cup, fourth in 1992 Santa Maria Cup, member of 1992 U.S. Women's Olympic sailing team.

* Melinda Berge, Baltimore -- eighth in 1993 Santa Maria Cup, 10th in J/22 East Coast Championships, committee chairman for J/22 World Championships to be sailed in Annapolis later this year.

* Judy Lugar, Canada -- Second time entrant in Santa Maria Cup, top Etchells 22 sailor, ranked No. 1 in the world in 470 class in 1986.

* Stephanie Wondolleck, San Rafael, Calif. -- Crewed in 1993 Santa Maria Cup, Adams Cup skipper 1992, 1987, 1988, top-notch Express 27 sailor.

* Paula Lewin, Bermuda -- Fourth in 1993 Santa Maria Cup, top Europe Dinghy racer, All-American sailor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

* Ellie Field, Little Compton, R.I. -- Crew in previous Santa Maria Cups for Swett. Takes over entry.

* Katie McDowell, Barrington, R.I. -- Member of women's national championship team from Tufts University, on which she finished second as skipper.

* Bridget Creney, Hyannis, Mass. -- Top-flight sailor from Georgetown University program, which qualified for nationals this year largely on her performance. Top dinghy sailor with keelboat racing background.

AT A GLANCE

What: Santa Maria Cup Women's Match Racing Championship sponsored by BOAT/U.S. and MBNA America Bank, N.A.

Where: Races will be sailed on the Inner Harbor off Fort McHenry. HarborView Marina and Yacht Club on Key Highway will be the base for shoreside activities.

When: Racing will be Thursday through Sunday in J/22s, with 10 teams sailing a round-robin series followed by semifinals and finals. Racing begins at noon on Thursday and 10 a.m. the other days.

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