After a full day of round-robin competition in sunny skies, solid breeze and big waves, four teams have advanced to the next stage in the Chicago Match Race Center’s Grade 2 US GRAND SLAM Qualifier.
Teams led by Chris Poole, Peter Holz, Nathan Hollerbach, and Don Wilson have all qualified for the first-to-three point Quarter-Finals, while the remaining six teams will sail a Repecharge round to determine who among the other four teams will advance to this next stage of the competition.
The Repecharge will consist of a single round robin of matches raced among teams led by David Storrs, Steve Lowery, Will Bailey, Nick Kroeger, Agustin Montes and Colman O’Riordan.
The day started out to be interesting for the Lowery team, one of the top seeds at the event, after having lost their skipper yesterday due to a back injury. Main trimmer Rory Lewis stepped in to take the helm for the remainder of the competition, but did not receive delivery of his new crew member Chuck Nevel until minutes prior to the entry of their first match this morning, the second in Flight 1.
An early entry and right of way foul gave the team two blue flags from the umpires even before the start, prompting them to have to perform one of their turns immediately after the start. And the first lap around the course was not smooth in the breezy, big-wave conditions off the seawall north of Belmont Harbor.
But the team pulled themselves together quickly and managed to take the first of their day’s four wins in defeating Colman O’Riordan, who is sitting on two wins for the day.
As the northeasterly waves and wind settled into a more steady pattern in the afternoon and the teams became more accustomed to the conditions, the matches got closer and more interesting.
An example of this was a pivotal match in Flight 9, where David Storrs and the Lowery team were overlapped on their layline approach to the first windward mark, with Storrs to leeward. When attempting to luff his opponents to break an overlap prior to getting to the two-length zone, there was contact made at the top of the masts of the two boats, with the Lowery team to windward finding themselves with a broken headstay.
Match umpires judged Storrs’ luff to be too fast, penalized Storrs, and as the Lowery team dropped their mainsail to prevent the mast from falling they also black-flagged Storrs to end the race and award the match point to Lowery. This kept Storrs on six rather than seven points and thus out of the top ranks to go through to the Quarter Finals, and forces him to have to sail the Repecharge tomorrow despite being the highest-ranked team at the event.
Repecharge racing will start tomorrow at 9:00 AM local time, followed immediately by the start of the Quarter-Finals. Semi-Final and Final racing is expected for the last day of the competition on Sunday.
CMRC GRAND SLAM Qualifier, Round Robin results:
Chris Poole 7 points
Peter Holz 7
Nathan Hollerbach 7
Don Wilson 7
David Storrs 6
Will Bailey 4
Steven Lowery 4
Colman O’Riordan 2
Agustin Montes 1
Nick Kroeger 0
Detailed results can be found here.
Additional information at chicagomatchrace.com.