by Scott Croft
With a change in dates for the 21st Santa Maria Cup International Women's Match Racing Championship, an evolving roster of top women sailing athletes will race on Annapolis' Severn River course September 28 through October 1.
J-22 pairs will be pushed to their limit at the 2011 Santa Maria Cup hosted by Eastport Yacht Club, Annapolis, MD
The public is encouraged to meet skippers and crew, past Santa Maria Cup racers, as well as leading sailors from the sport of sailboat racing at the 'Celebrate Women in Sailing Week' in Annapolis at the BoatUS 'Meet the Champions' Public Reception at the William Paca House and Garden, September 30, 6:30pm - 9:00pm in Annapolis. Newly released footage of the 1995 America3 Team - the first all-women America's Cup with Team Captain Dawn Riley, the 1992 Santa Maria Cup winner, will be previewed.
The public is also invited to opening ceremonies on September 27 at 6:00pm at the Susan C. Campbell Park City Dock, Annapolis to welcome the sailors from who hail from five countries. Hosted by the Eastport Yacht Club, racing can be watched from the water each day and through live commentary on SantaMariaCup.org. The Santa Maria Cup is an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) grade one event.
Eight teams of four sailors in J-22 sailboats will compete in heated head-to-head duels much like the famed America's Cup. However, unlike the America's Cup, each Santa Maria Cup boat is identical, testing the sailing ability of each team, with boat design and materials not being factors.
Team skippers will be Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), Silja Lehtinen (FIN), Julie Bossard (FRA), Maegan Ruhlman (USA), Martina Silva (ARG), Becca Dellenbaugh (USA), returning champion Liz Baylis (USA) and Sharon Ferris-Choat (CAN). Olympic hopefuls can use this event to increase their world rankings for the first Olympic Women's Match Racing at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games.
See a full schedule of events and ticket information here and in Spinsheet Magazine here.
Boat Owners Association of the United States website