by Laura Muma
This weekend will determine who among 12 teams will get the last remaining invitation to the Chicago Match Cup in August, the only stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. A high pressure system lingering in the Midwest produced shifty and puffy conditions for first stage of competition today in the Chicago Match Race Center's Grade two Chicago Match Cup Qualifier. The near ideal conditions with blue sky, fresh breeze, and flat water allowed the RC team to finish 14 flights today. This weekend will determine who among 12 teams will get the last remaining invitation to the Chicago Match Cup in August, the only stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.
Chicago Match Race Center
Teams that could read the conditions properly, shift gears in the changing breeze, and control the first part of the race were often rewarded. But leaders had to stay sharp, since trailing teams on the downwind runs were often poised to pass when new wind arrived on the course.
Mastering these tricky conditions was the top-seeded team from Down Under, Will Tiller's Full Metal Jacket team from New Zealand. The Kiwis finished their day on a seven-two record, with four more flights left in the round robin stage.
On six points are two local Chicago-based teams that have used their knowledge of the boats and the venue to match the Kiwis and stay one point ahead of two Aussie teams and another local team led by Val Smith. CMRC founder Don Wilson has earned six points so far in this stage with four matches left to race, as has CMRC veteran Steve Lowery from Highland Park, IL, also with four matches remaining.
In the middle of the pack, scores are tight; four teams are tied on five points. Sam Gilmour, a 20 year old racer from Perth, Australia, is sitting on top of the tied teams in fourth place. Jordan Reece of Sydney, Australia, one of the favorites for this event, is sitting in fifth after the tie break. Following these Aussies, is local Chicago sailor Val Smith in sixth. Kristof Rosinski, from Poland is left in seventh. With only three points separating first and seventh place, the racing is tight and anything can happen tomorrow.
The top four teams from the round robin stage will advance to the Quarter-Final round and get a little break from the racing tomorrow. The remaining eight teams will compete in a Repecharge for the four spots left in Quarter-finals.
With the northerly breeze expected to continue tomorrow, prospects look good for another great day of racing to start at 09:00 in front of the spectator-friendly venue at Belmont Harbor.
Tiller leads in Chicago with local teams Lowery and Wilson close behind.
Hollerbach: three- five