Chicago Match Race Center's Spring Invitational - Underdogs on top

Chicago Match Race Center Grade 3 Spring Invitational 2012
Chicago Match Race Center
Chicago Match Race Center's Grade 3 Spring Invitational is being held at Belmont Harbor. In a long day that stretched racing into the sunset, a single round robin was completed in challenging conditions that left two unlikely underdogs on top.

Hans Pusch and Jack Jennings are relative newcomers to match racing, with Jennings skippering for his first time at CMRC, yet both are tied on points for the lead, with Pusch winning the tie break.

Jennings reflected on the conditions and on his skippering debut at CMRC: 'Very difficult conditions today especially in the last few races. Breezes were fighting each other all day and the chop was miserable. After 10 hours of racing, everyone was fatigued. But our strengths today were coming back in races due to superior speed. Our low points came from mental errors that stemmed from inexperience in match racing. We are looking forward to tomorrow and I am fully confident in my team.'

Pusch also credited his team for their 7-2 winning record, saying 'There were a lot of great teams out here, I am very lucky to have a Taylor, Brad and Patrick. We are excited to be at the top. Tomorrow we will keep it simple, focus on crew communication, keep the boat moving at all times.'

The top eight teams will advance to the Quarter-Finals tomorrow in a first-to-two point series followed by the Semi-Finals and Finals in this ISAF Grade 3 event. The overall winner among the Lake Michigan-based entries will advance to the Richardson Trophy in October, and the top US winner will get an invitation to the US Match Racing Championship in Boston in September.

Top-ranked Don Wilson as founder of the CMRC has given many opportunities for new match racing talent to emerge, but sometimes falls to that very same talent that he has enabled to hone their skills at this game. Young Alex Curtiss was one, who locked Wilson out above the shutout layline in the pre-start, forcing him to tack then gybe out, allowing Curtiss to catch better breeze on the left and go on to win the match.

Teams will meet at 8:00 AM tomorrow for their daily Skipper's briefing, followed soon afterwards with the start of racing at 9:00. Courses will be set within spectator view of the shoreline at Chicago's Belmont Harbor.

Chicago Match Race Center Grade 3 Spring Invitational 2012
Chicago Match Race Center

Chicago Match Race 2 - Chicago Match Race Center Grade 3 Spring Invitational 2012
Chicago Match Race Center

Chicago Match Race Center website