The first day of racing in Chicago at the M32 North America Championship saw multiple storylines unfold as battle lines were drawn throughout the leaderboard with four sets of teams separated by only two points.
The eleven-strong fleet of M32’s took to Lake Michigan under blue skies with consistent eight – ten knots of breeze creating near-perfect conditions for seven races to be completed.
The close proximity of the racecourse to the city skyline combined with a mix of amateur and professional crews created the perfect blend of close, owner-driver racing in a big-city, stadium venue that thrilled sailors and spectators alike.
Following an opening win by local Chicago favorite, Convexity skippered by Don Wilson, Sally Barkow and The Magenta Project laid down a marker with three back-to-back wins.
However, two eighth-place finishes in the final two races of the day meant that their position at the top is not guaranteed going forward as Blicksem, REV, and Convexity stand within striking distance, only separated by two points.
“The racing was very up and down today”, said Pieter Taselaar skipper of Blicksem Racing.
“Half of the races we had bad starts and came back and the other half we had good starts and stayed ahead. It’s a pretty stacked fleet. In this fleet there are no slouches. Many boats have America’s Cup sailors or gold medalists onboard.”
Further down the standings, Extreeme 2 skippered by Dan Cheresh and Torrent skippered by Markus Edegran were also separated by only two points fighting for sixth place, still with a shot at the podium.
However, the youngest member of the fleet, 15-year-old Ava Wilson, racing with Convergence, set the tone back at the dock buzzing about her team’s narrow one point deficit with Grave Digger Racing.
“Today we had some pretty good races but there was a lot of improvement since two weeks ago at the Chicago Regatta which was the most important thing”, said Wilson. “I like racing the M32 because every time I go out it’s such a fun time, they go so fast.”
Convergence skipper Jennifer Wilson agreed, noting that an added benefit for many of the teams was the chance for amateurs to race alongside professionals in an exciting learning environment.
“The boats are very tricky but having Matt Cassidy and Andrew Campbell onboard was awesome”, said Wilson. “The fitness level on these boats is so high and to learn from their experience added to our racing today.”
M32 North America Championship – Day 1 Results
1. The Magenta Project, Sally Barkow (USA) – 26 pts
2. REV, Rick Devos (USA) – 31 pts
3. Blicksem, Pieter Taselaar (NED) – 33 pts
4. Convexity, Don Wilson (USA) – 35 pts
5. XS Energy, Ryan Devos (USA) – 35 pts
6. Extreeme 2, Dan Cheresh (USA) – 43 pts
7. Torrent, Markus Edegran (USA) – 48 pts
8. Down Under Racing, Harry price (AUS) – 49 pts
9. Grave Digger, James Prendergast (USA) – 51 pts
10. Convergence, Jen Wilson (USA) – 52 pts
11. Red Gear Racing, Charles Tomeo (USA) – 59 pts
by Aston Harald