All classes were on the water today for three races as the Chicago Yacht Club Verve Inshore Regatta officially got underway. The J/70 class got an early jump by starting their series yesterday for the J/70 Great Lakes Championship with Reach Around now dominating the fleet with a 12 point lead. After having the lake to themselves yesterday, the J/70s today were joined by the Etchells also hosting their Great Lakes Championship as well as Viper 640s, Colgate 26s and Rhodes 19s.
2014 Verve Inshore winner Donald Mense is leading the Etchells Fleet two points ahead of fellow Chicago Yacht Club member Mark Teborek. The team has been racing together for only one year, but Mense has Olympic hopeful 49er Fred Strammer onboard helping the team learn the boat.
“Today we just had boat speed and we picked the right spots in terms of angles,” said Mense. Onboard with Teborek is 14 year old Ella Marden, racing her first Etchells regatta as one of the youngest members on the water. “It’s different from racing 420s and Vanguards, but it was fun learning how to control a different boat,” she said. “There are a lot more lines to work with, so it’s a bit confusing, but you get more speed out of this boat.” With a marginal lead between these top two boats fighting for their Great Lakes Championship, the boats will need to tune to breeze on conditions for the final day of racing.
The wind was a little light for planing conditions for the Viper 640s, but Jacob Karlin’s Preflight was able to manage, with only a single point lead over Sam House and Workshop. This year the Viper 640 section is the smallest fleet with only 4 boats, but they enjoy the competition nonetheless, appreciating any event where they can sail one design in Chicago. Although it may be the last hurrah for the Chicago Viper fleet due to low numbers, their supporters say they are are still eager to race them on the Great Lakes. “I want to see a fleet start in Milwaukee, so I’m trying the boat out this weekend,” said House. “I’ve raced Melges 20s and 24s, but never a Viper. It’s easier and more affordable with a crew of three rather than five.”
In the other Great Lakes Championship underway, the J/70s were able to punch through the leftover chop of the day a little better for Day Two. Reach Around is maintaining their lead from yesterday with 12 points, followed by John Heaton’s Empeiria. Reach Around bow-woman Anne Hooper says the trick today for staying on top was calling the breeze, which wasn’t as consistent as the sailors would have liked. “There was a lot of detached breeze today. The trick is looking forward,” she reported. “It was really shifty, and if you missed any of those shifts, you were done. I thought our tactician was going to jump overboard.”
The final day Verve Inshore racing continues tomorrow, including the culmination of both the Etchells and J/70 Great Lakes Championships. Racing starts at 10:30 A.M. off of Belmont Harbor.
more info …………………..hicagoyachtclub.org
by Morgan Kinney, Chicago Yacht Club