September 21, 2012: ANNAPOLIS, MD - As the world watches many of the best sailors in the world compete for the Gold in the Summer Olympics, Eastport Yacht Club (EYC) has joined yacht clubs across the nation and around the world in making a tough call for a 2012 non-Olympic event. The Santa Maria Cup Women’s Match Racing Championship has been an outstanding week of racing on Chesapeake Bay every year since 1991 when JJ Isler won the first event. Since then, sailing icons including Americans Dawn Riley, Betsy Alison, Liz Baylis, Sally Barkow and 2012 Olympians Claire Leroy (France) and Team Maclaren/Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) have held the Santa Maria Cup title. Santa Maria Cup holds the highest International Sailing Federation (ISAF) event ranking, Grade 1.
Women’s Match Racing was designated an Olympic event for the first time for 2012. In 2011 the redesigned ISAF World Cup schedule forced EYC to move Santa Maria Cup from its traditional dates in the week following Memorial Day to late September. Although Annapolis is absorbed in preparation for Boat Show then, both the athletes and the EYC Race Committee agreed that the September dates provided more consistent winds on the Bay. USA’s Team Maclaren (Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, Deb Capozzi, with Liz Bower) who have held the #1 ISAF World ranking in Women’s Match Racing continually for the past year, won the Santa Maria Cup in September 2011. Despite the grueling 2012 Olympic schedule, Team Maclaren was poised to return to Annapolis to defend their championship next month.
However, the 2012 Santa Maria Cup has fallen victim to three uncontrollable factors that have caused the cancellation of Women’s Match Racing events across the US and throughout the world: the struggling world economy, the intense schedule and cost to compete for an Olympic berth, and the announcement that Women’s Match Racing will not be an Olympic event in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Each of these factors have put time and money/sponsorship constraints in the lap of the top teams in Women’s Match Racing. EYC had hoped to be able to overcome these challenges but it has become apparent that September 2012 is too soon after the Olympics to secure enough high-ranking competitors to remain a Grade 1 event this year. Thus, like so many other outstanding Women’s Match Racing events worldwide, Santa Maria Cup 2012 has been cancelled and EYC will begin planning Santa Maria Cup 2013. Watch www.SantaMariaCup.org, www.EastportYC.org and follow on Facebook for announcements of 2013 dates, competitors and sponsors.