Purdy wins women's series with 13-1 record Alison finishes second in Santa Maria Cup

June 03, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Melissa Purdy, of Tiburon, Calif., completed her domination of the Santa Maria Cup women's match racing championships in Annapolis yesterday by winning two of three races in the final round against Betsy Alison of Newport, R.I.

Purdy, skippering for the first time in a match-race event, finished the four days of competition with a 13-1 record.

Alison, a four-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and a previous winner of the Santa Maria Cup, lost only three races overall, but all came against Purdy.

"I have sailed a lot of match races," said Purdy, the mainsail trimmer aboard America3, the women's team in the last America's Cup, "but never as skipper -- and this week was exciting, different."

Purdy's crew was Joan Touchette, Whitney Conner and Hannah Swett, a teammate with America3 and a skipper in several Santa Maria Cups.

"When the invitations for this regatta went out, Hannah was involved in an Olympic campaign," said Purdy, who crewed for Swett in previous Santa Maria Cups. "So this time around we just switched roles."

Winds yesterday ranged between 10 and 4 knots.

The race Alison won yesterday, the second of the best-of-three final, featured some of the best pre-start maneuvering of the regatta, with Alison working Purdy into an overlap foul before the starting gun.

Purdy, however, started the race in the lead and built enough of an edge to complete her penalty turn before the top of the first windward leg. She rounded the windward mark with a seven-second lead.

Alison, racing with Naval Academy coach Nancy Haberland and Rhode Islanders Kris McClintock and Nancy Hood, sailed well on the inside of the course on the first leg downwind, gaining 14 seconds to round the mark with a seven-second lead.

By the top of the second windward leg, Alison had built the lead to 19 seconds and won the race by 10 seconds.

"It is always a little scary to be the lead boat on the downwind leg," said Purdy, "because the trailing boat can choose where they want to go and get the first read of the wind coming from behind them, and [Alison] made the right reads on that leg."

In the first race of the final series, Purdy led throughout and won by 55 seconds. In the third race of the finals, Purdy also led throughout and won by 1: 07.

"One thing we were not lacking in all week," said Purdy, "was speed."

Final standings

1. Purdy, 13-1; 2. Alison, 11-3; 3. Riley, 8-4; 4. Zuiderbaan, 6-6; 5. Clarke, 4-5; 6. Grosvenor, 3-6; 7. Abramson, 3-6; 8. Wilson, 3-6; 9. Berge, 3-6; 10. Klok, 0-9.

Pub Date: 6/03/96

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