Published on August 13th, 2012
The inclusion of Women’s Match Racing as an event of the 2012 Olympic Games led to significant growth among participants and events. However, with the decision by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to discontinue the event for the 2016 Games, the fallout has been equally significant. Case in point is the Grade 1 Santa Maria Cup Women’s Match Racing Championship.
Hosted every year since 1991 when JJ Isler won the first event, 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. But the trickle effect of ISAF’s decision has forced the Santa Maria Cup to cancel the 2012 edition. Regatta Chairperson Susan Nahmias explains:
“Santa Maria Cup has been a grade 1 event for 21 years, and even if we could have secured sufficient competitors to drop a ranking, that would compromise the event’s reputation. We have no intention of stopping SMC, in fact we have received widespread interest in Santa Maria Cup 2013. Should that fail to materialize, Eastport Yacht Club will look to create a new and different match racing event with a new name.
“Once the announcement was made that WMR would NOT be in the 2016 Olympics, some skippers decided 2012 was time to have a family, while others were pushed to other sailing classes in preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and still others decided that with the world economic issues that their careers had to come first. Even some of the 2012 Olympians are facing the same realities.
“We had hoped 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 we will begin planning Santa Maria Cup 2013.”