The undefeated Radcliffe sailing team will vie for the Jerry Reed Trophy on the Charles River this weekend in the most important contest for the team so far during this season.
Arch-rival MIT is sponsoring the two-day event, which will be held tomorrow and Sunday. The top two finishers this weekend will qualify for the National Women's Championship in June, at an undetermined site.
Veteran sailor Barbie Grant will skipper the A division boat for Radcliffe with Marie Roehm as her crew. Janice Stroud and captain Kathy Angell will alternate as skipper and crew on the B division boat. That foursome is the same one which brought Radcliffe the national championship last year.
The chance to qualify for the nationals should draw a large field of New England teams to this weekend's competition. However, the Reed Trophy in the past has usually been a two-team dual between Radcliffe and MIT. They are likely once again to be the teams that will qualify for the nationals.
"Ever since 1968, the Radcliffe team has been the best women's team in the country," coach Mike Horn said yesterday. The 'Cliffe sailors have won four of the last five national championships.
Radcliffe has continued to exhibit championship form this season. Last weekend the sailors took all eight races en route to capturing the President's Trophy, symbolic of supremacy in Greater Boston. Teams from B.U., MIT and Northeastern finished well behind.
Two weekends ago, Radcliffe sponsored and won the Sloop Shrew on the Charles over a field of seven teams. Stroud and Angell won a phenomenal 12 of 14 B division races and finished second in the other two to pace the Radcliffe victory.
Grant and Roehm finished a close second to MIT in the A division by winning 7 of 14 races. Radcliffe's combined total from the two division was easily enough for victory.
The sailors will participate in four more contests before the national championships in June. "We're strong enough so that there's no reason we should lose the national championship," Grant said yesterday. "We'd be really disappointed if we did lose," she added.