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America 3 1995

Womens Team

America 3- Women's team

1995 -

The brainchild of 1992 America’s Cup winner and business maverick Bill Koch, the 1995 America3 women’s team brought together top female athletes from across the country, with an unprecedented goal; to race at the same level as the top male sailors in the most prestigious yacht race in the world – the America’s Cup.


The team was created with dual goals in mind – to earn the right to be the defender in the 29th Match, and to break down barriers. The women of America3 onboard Mighty Mary (named for Koch’s indomitable mother) more than held their own through the grueling defender trials before losing to Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes. Along the way, they captured the imagination of women (and men!) all over the world, showing everyone just what women can do with their skills, drive and determination.


Team Members:


  • Stephanie Armitage-Johnson (Auburn, Wash.) Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of Washington and world class weightlifter.
  • Amy Baltzell (Wellesley, Mass.) Member of the 1992 Olympic Rowing Team.
  • Shelley Beattie (Marina Del Rey, Calif.) Professional body builder, most recently featured on the TV weekly show, “American Gladiators.”
  • Courtenay Becker (The Dalles, Oregon) Accomplished sailor, ranked no. 1 on U.S. Sailing Team for five years in a row from 1989 to 1994.
  • Sarah Bergeron (Middletown, N.J.) A top-ranked collegiate rower and recent graduate of George Washington University.
  • Merritt Carey (Tenants Harbor, Maine) Currently foredeck/rigger for Dawn Riley on Heineken, the only all-women’s crew in the 1993-94 Whitbread Round the World sailboat race.
  • Sarah Cavanagh (Denver, Colo.) Extensive racing experience includes the first all-women’s crew in Southern Ocean Racing Circuit (SORC) and three-masted ships.
  • Elizabeth (Lisa) Charles (Providence, R.I.) Experienced racing and cruising sailor on a variety of boats throughout the Northeastern U.S., Caribbean, Southern England and the Mediterranean.
  • Leslie Egnot (born in Greenville, S.C.; lives in Auckland, NZ) Numerous racing titles include 1992 Olympic Silver medal in women’s sailing; New Zealand’s Women’s 470 champion every year since 1985; first place in the 1990 Women’s World Keelboat Championships .
  • Christie Evans (Marblehead, Mass.) A sales manager with extensive experience in sailboat racing, including the U.S. Rolex International Women’s Keelboat championships.
  • Jennifer “JJ” Isler (San Diego, Calif.), NSHOF Class of 2015, 1992 Olympic Bronze medalist and two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, winner of numerous national and international titles and first woman to skipper on the international match racing circuit. Ex-Husband Peter Isler was navigator for Stars & Stripes in 1988.
  • Diana Klybert (Annapolis, Md.) Ten-year veteran of dozens of international races. Also a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain and divemaster.
  • Linda Lindquist (Chicago, IIl.) Experienced sailor with 23 years of racing experience. Also Co-Director of Development for America3.
  • Stephanie Maxwell-Pierson (Somerville, N.J.) 1992 Olympic Bronze Medalist in the Women’s Pair rowing competition in Barcelona. Named by U.S. Rowing Association as 1990 and 1991 Female Athlete of the Year. Director of sales with Embassy Suites in Philadelphia.
  • Susanne (Suzy) Leech Nairn (Annapolis, Md.) Aerospace engineer and consultant to NASA’s Microgravity Division with 17 years of racing and sailing experience.
  • Annie Nelson (San Diego, Calif.) Her 26 years of racing experience includes three times as part of the U.S. Women’s World Sailing Team and more than 50 championships. Silver medalist in the 1984 Olympic Board Sailing Exhibition.
  • Jane Oetking (Wellington, New Zealand and Rockwall, Texas) Has competed in 50-foot yachts in more than 30 international World Cup races since 1989.
  • Merritt Palm (Detroit, Mich.) Veteran of a variety of races, including the Adams Cup, and currently ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. in the European Dinghy Class circuit.
  • Katherine (Katie) Pettibone (Port Huron, Mich.) Student at the University of Miami, certified diver and racing sailor for most of her life, mostly in Michigan and Florida.
  • Marci Porter (Oakton, Va.) Member of the national rowing team from 1991 to 1993, 1992 alternate for the Olympic rowing team, and holder of numerous national and international rowing titles.
  • Melissa Purdy (Tiburon, California) All-American Woman Sailor of 1990 and 1991 with extensive racing experience internationally, including numerous titles.
  • Hannah Swett (Jamestown, R.I.) Winner of many U.S. and international sailing races. Named All-American Woman sailor in 1989 and 1991 while at Brown University.
  • Joan Lee Touchette (Newport, R.I.) Former captain of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy women’s sailing team with extensive racing experience in a variety of crew positions.
  • Dawn Riley, NSHOF Class of 2021, skipper of Heineken, the only all-women’s crew in the grueling nine-month Whitbread Round-the-World race.




December 13, 2021 by mshehzad

On January 13, 1995, America3, an all-female sailing team, wins the first race of the America’s Cup defender trials, easily beating Team Dennis Conner by a little more than a minute. The team is the sport’s first all-women team to compete in the 144-year history of the America’s Cup, the world’s oldest continually contested sporting trophy. The Cup represents the pinnacle of international sailing yacht competition.


America3 (pronounced “America Cubed”) was the brainchild of Bill Koch, a millionaire businessman and skipper of the 1992 America’s Cup-winning vessel. Koch wanted to pique American interest in the sport and field a competitive sailing team. So, he assembled a 23-member team that included female sailors, rowers and professional weightlifters to take on Conner’s team in the defender trials.


The navigator aboard Koch’s boat was 26-year racing veteran Ann Nelson, who had won more than 50 championships as part of the U.S. Women’s World Sailing team. The silver medalist in the 1984 Olympic board sailing exhibition didn’t shy from confrontation with Conner, who reportedly made crude comments to Nelson and her teammates the summer before the race.


The pre-race controversy made for great theater leading up to the race, which was expected to be an easy victory for Conner’s newer boat and more experienced team. However, Conner’s team made a critical prestart gaffe by not allowing America3 right of way, resulting in his boat having to take a penalty turn. That swung the race.


“In essence, the race was over at that point,” Conner said. “America3 had a 600- to 700-foot lead and did a good job with it through the rest of the race.”


However, America3 team lost the defender trials to Conner’s team.


At the end of the trials, Koch was proud of what his team had accomplished, saying, “We had a top team that can compete with anyone… Next time an all-women’s team sails in the top of the competition, they can go all the way. That’s what this team has meant to the sport.”


No all-female team has won the America’s Cup.



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