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Local students set sail with Cup team

BY VICKI NIENBERG

Contributor

The A3 Women’s America’s Cup teamed up with high school sailors for a day aboard the Stars & Stripes over Memorial Day weekend. Among them were junior sailors from La Jolla High School and The Bishop’s School, along with girls from California, Michigan and Washington.

This event was the brainchild of Annie Gardner and some of her teammates from the 1995 America3 women’s team, including San Diego Yacht Club member Mary Snow — who was the first collegiate sailing all-American at the U.S. Naval Academy — and Carrie Schluter.

They kicked off the weekend by sharing their history, experience and enthusiasm for sailing and a “We can do it” determination with the next generation of collegiate or possible Olympic women competitors of sailing.

Aboard the Stars & Stripes, they spent the day exercising their skills, manning the sheets, grinding out a tack or a gybe while a high school skipper shouted orders over the pops and creaks and thuds of this beautiful vessel.

Making history, 20 young women high school sailors each took turns navigating the massive deck of USA11. As they stood shoulder to shoulder at the helm, they found themselves standing by Gardner or discussing sail trim, wind direction or perhaps technique at the grinder with Katie Pettibone, Marci Porter Lucier, Suzette Smith, Sarah Bergeron or any one of the other veteran sailors.