Chicago Match Race Center's June Grade 2 Invitational - Canfield leads

by CMRC 
Canfield. Chicago Match Race Center’s June Grade 2 Invitational
Chicago Match Race Center
After 10 flights had been completed completed at the Chicago Match Race Center's June Grade 2 Invitational presented by Eurex, Taylor Canfield (US Virign Islands) and his team held the early lead.

This is first event of the 2012 CMRC season being held at Chicago's Navy Pier, and is a qualifier for July's Chicago Match Cup, the only US stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour.

Blustery conditions kept mainsails reefed for most of the day, with the action kept close by teams who had superior boat handling skills. This rewarded the well-honed teams like Canfield's, who are in their fourth season racing at CMRC on the TOM 28's used in this event; current runner-up Jordan Reece, who has been extremely active in Down Under events; CMRC founder Don Wilson, who won the Grade 2 here two weeks ago; and US Women's Match Race Champion Sally Barkow, who has been racing and training hard for the past 3 years on the Olympic trail.

One skipper who did well today relative to his ranking is Laser sailor Brad Funk, who on four wins did not break into the top tier for today, but still managed to defeat some higher-ranked teams.

'I brought with me a couple of my dinghy-sailing friends from Florida,' said Funk. 'and so it took a while to work out our mechanics at the beginning of the day. But we got better, and had some good matches.'

One was in Flight 2 where Funk trailed Mike Quaglio, who led the match but had a penalty earned in the pre-start. On a breezy first downwind leg, Funk tried hard to chase down Quaglio, got caught in a puff, then did a spectacular broach that entertained a small but dedicated spectator crowd who braved the elements to watch from at the end of Navy Pier. Quaglio then extended far enough on the second beat to do his penalty turn, but Funk sailed upwind well enough to close the gap rapidly to be within striking distance on the final run to the finish.

On this run, with pressure being brought from behind by Funk, Quaglio's team botched their gybe, wrapping their spinnaker around the headstay, allowing Funk to pass and take the match.

As the wind abated and skies cleared, the day ended with the running of the Eurex Pro-Am Cup, with guests from Eurex joining members of the match race teams to do three fleet races sailed in front of Navy Pier.

Round robin racing continues tomorrow at 9 AM with two flights remaining. The next stage will be a Repechage round, where the eight lowest finishers among the field of ten will sail another complete Round Robin, while the top two advance to the Quarter-Finals. Expert commentary from match race veterans Scott Dickson, Andy Green and Dobbs Davis will entertain spectators, who will have full view of all the action from bleacher seating set up for the public the end of the Pier.

Daily highlight videos, photos and results are available on the CMRC website
Spring Invitational, including results and daily photos of the action here

The Chicago Match Race Center was founded to promote and grow the sport of match race sailing. Besides being used in the America's Cup, match race sailing has recently also been adapted as a Women's discipline in the 2012 Olympic Games. As part of its mission to provide the highest-level match racing training facility for professional and amateur sailors in the US, CMRC has procured a fleet of Elliott 6M class boats, the type that will be used in the Games, and will use them to train and race teams with Olympic aspirations. Additionally, the CMRC retains a full fleet of TOM 28 class boats and all umpire and support boats needed to run international-caliber regattas. For the complete list of events for the 2012 season and results from 2011, please visit www.ChicagoMatchRace.com