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U.S. Women's Challenge
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AmericaOne's Page on Winning Team

NEWPORT BEACH, California — Chris Page, the AmericaOne office manager, was on the winning Richmond Yacht Club crew at the U.S. Women's Challenge for the Bettina Bents Memorial Trophy.

The Bay Area team, led by skipper Liz Baylis, defeated nine other clubs from throughout the country. This pretigious biannual regatta, hosted by Newport Harbor Yacht Club, brings together the nation's top women's teams. The eight-race series was sailed April 9-12 using the Long Beach Sailing Foundation's fleet of identical Catalina 37s, the same boats used in the Congressional Cup.

The RYC team took an early lead with two second-place finishes and one win in the first three races, then overcame a bad start in the final race to defeat second-place California Yacht Club by two points.

"Our past experience in these boats definitely paid off compared with the teams who were experiencing them for the first time," Baylis said. "We had a rough couple of races Friday morning, but pulled off a huge win when the breeze picked up Friday afternoon and led by six points going into the last two races on Saturday. Our strategy was to sail conservatively in the last two races and stay clean.

"The first beat of the seventh race was agonizing, with the whole fleet slamming tacks on us while our main competitor sailed away cleanly," Baylis continued. "But the crew rallied, and we came back from sixth to third in that race with smart tactics and good boat speed."

However, the conservative strategy went out the window in the last race, when they were forced over early and restarted in last place.

"We rounded the last leeward mark in sixth with the California YC team, which was in second place overall, leading and we again fought back to finish fourth. Cal finished second, and this sealed our victory by two points," she said.

Besides Baylis and Page, who worked the bow, the winning crew included Melinda Erkelens, tactician; Stephanie Wondolleck, main trim; Aimee Hess, trimmer; Karina Vogen, trimmer; Liz Whitney, pit; and Molly McCloud, mast.

Final results:

  1. Richmond YC, Richmond, Calif. 18
  2. California YC, Marina del Rey, Calif. 20
  3. Southwestern YC, San Diego, Calif. 23
  4. Women's Yacht Racing Fleet, San Diego, Calif. 25
  5. Annapolis YC, Annapolis, Md. 28
  6. St. Petersburg YC, St. Petersburg, Fla. 32
  7. Houston YC, Houston, Texas 38
  8. Chicago YC, Chicago, Ill. 52
  9. Encinal YC, Alameda, Calif. 60
  10. Duck Island YC, Westbrook, Conn. 63


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