At just past the half-way point in the first stage of the event, Australian Sam Gilmour and his Neptune Racing team remains in the lead in the 2015 edition of the Detroit Cup, hosted by Bayview YC. Gilmour suffered his only loss thus far to local-based Ryan Seago in today’s completion of Round Robin 1, and with another point earned in the first flight of Round Robin 2 has amassed a total of 9 points.
“We have been sailing well as a team, and at times got a little lucky,” admitted Gilmour. He’s right: in his final match of the round robin against Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam winner David Storrs, he was trailing on the windward leg of the second lap when Storrs strayed into the exclusion zone along the shoreline to earn a penalty, and being the second flag, had to perform his turn immediately, and thus let Gilmour take the lead. In another match, Gilmour hitting the mark on entry in the strong current was missed by the match umpires, thus allowing him to miss earning a penalty in the pre-start of that match.
Stepping up from a mediocre day yesterday, top-ranked Chris Steele and his 36 Below Racing Team from New Zealand has moved up into the 2nd place position on 8 points in 10 matches sailed. This is has second appearance at the Detroit Cup, and feels the competition here is as intense as events he’s raced on the World Match Racing Tour.
“This field is strong, the venue is challenging, so it’s not easy at all to earn a win in any match,” said Steel. “It’s just like the Tour, where you make a mistake and its really tough to recover.”
Yesterday’s runner-up – Chicago-based but Detroit-born Nathan Hollerbach, reigning US match racing champion, – has seven points after finishing the first Round Robin and the first flight of the second. He has dropped one place in the standings to third, but still feels he’s found his groove here at his home club.
“Its great to be back here at Bayview,” said Hollerbach. “I’m sailing with my brother Ian, and – who knew – he’s a pretty good sailor, along with my friend Nick Marcolini. Our teamwork is good, and we’re having fun, but this is a tough group, you have to keep your focus because you can lose to anyone in the field. Our goal is to keep going and make it to the final four.”
On the difference between the competitive level between international field in the Detroit Cup and the US national championship, Hollerbach said “Its actually not that different. At the Prince of Wales we get the best teams in the US, and here we get a lot of the same teams, along with some from overseas. Both events are tough, and anyone can win.”
The light air today that kept PRO Brian Keith and his race committee busy was at least adequate to complete 7 flights, and tomorrow’s forecast for a southeasterly promises better conditions for the day and the hope for a completing the remaining 9 flights of the second Round Robin.
The Detroit Cup is the fourth and final event on the Grade 2 USA GRAND SLAM series, with the winner of the series receiving an invitation to the Grade WC Congressional Cup at Long Beach YC in 2016.
For more information, results, photos and videos, including livestream video commentary provided by Seahorse Magazine’s Dobbs Davis, visit detroitcup.com.
2015 Grand Slam Racing Dates
August 6-9: Manhasset Bay Match Race for the Knickerbocker Cup
August 13-16: Oakcliff International
August 21-23: Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam
August 27-30: Detroit Cup