Chicago Match Race Center Grade 2 Invitational at Navy Pier was halted as storms provided testy conditions for sailors.
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A storm cell blew in from the northwest and race officials made the call to abandon in the middle of Flight 4 of the second Round Robin. Officials rafted boats in the middle of the race course and rushed the sailors into the 70 foot Chicago Match Race Center houseboat docked on the end of the pier before the winds picked up to 40mph.
Before the storms rolled in, there was plenty of competition to be had. The morning began with 'Black Flag Buckley' getting clobbered by Taylor Canfield (USVI) in the start. Mike Buckley (USA) had a difficult time keeping clear whether it was in a windward-leeward situation with his opponent or the obstacle of the starting pin. Buckley's main trimmer Nathan Hollerbach explained the situation as everything was happening so quickly that they didn't have enough time or speed to react. 'It just went boom-boom-boom,' he animated. 'Ultimately, Taylor did a great job of controlling us in the start.'
Yesterday's top mark confusion stumbled into today's match between Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and Chicago's top match racer, Don Wilson (USA). The two teams rounded separate windward marks in the first leg before Tunnicliffe second-guessed herself and followed Don's lead by rounding the incorrect mark in the second leg. 'The laylines worked out in such a way that we were able to round both marks quite well,' Tunnicliffe recalled. While the correct mark was Tunnicliffe's first leg choice, neither team gained or lost any ground in the race so there was no need for redress. The women's team prevailed and was able to finish the day in sixth place in front of Wilson in seventh.
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) heated up and ended the day in fourth place. 'Yesterday we got used to the boats so that today we could focus on match racing,' Sehested explained. His team chimed in saying that their starts were there greatest improvement from yesterday. 'We had some situations that called for us to be aggressive.' The Danish team was not going to be held accountable for the aggression that involved two collisions that occurred in two separate races - one against Will Tiller (NZL) and another with Bill Hardesty (USA). With Tiller, Sehested was barely hanging on in the race and managed to luff the Kiwi hard at the mark and again downwind when contact was made. After the second luff, Sehested was able to power off to the finish line.
Looking at tomorrow, the need for aggression is certain. Officials plan on finishing the round robin and evaluating the time before deciding how to proceed. The forecasted breeze-on conditions has CMRC optimistic about how many races they'll be able to fire off. 'Mentally we have to be prepared to sail every race like it's the last,' summed up first place Canfield.
The second Round Robin and live online coverage will continue tomorrow at 9AM CDT (weather pending).
1) Taylor Canfield 9-3
2) Laurie Jury 9-3
3) Will Tiller 10-3
4) Nicolai Sehested 9-4
5) Bill Hardesty 8-4
6) Anna Tunnicliffe 5-8
7) Don Wilson 3-9
8) Mike Buckley 4-9
9) Jordan Reece 2-7
10) Shawn Ryan 0-9
Chicago Match Race Center website