ISAF Grade 1 Chicago Match Cup preview

Tiller Boat 6 v Hardesty Boat 1 - Chicago Match Race Center Grade 2 Invitational 2011
Chicago Match Race Center
The ISAF Grade 1 Chicago Match Cup will bring stadium sailing to Navy Pier once again when the event gets underway on the 28 September. The event will last until the 1 October and will welcome twelve teams from seven nations who will vie for their share of a $65,000 prize money purse which is the largest offered in any sailing event in the United States since 2002. The event comes on the heels of the greatly successful CRMC Grade 2 Invitational which drew crowds of 30,000+.

The lure of cold hard cash has brought the most talented field yet to square off against each other at Navy Pier in CMRC's eight equally-matched TOM 28 class boats. Among this field are numerous past, present and future Olympic, National and World Champions, as well as current players on the World Match Racing Tour, whose Argo Group Gold Cup starts the following week in Bermuda, with four teams warming up in Chicago.

But besides the prize money, skippers are also keen to earn valuable Grade 1 points to advance their places on the world ranking list, which has five teams from the top twenty entered in this event: Pierre-Antoine Morvan from France (fifth), Phil Robertson from New Zealand (10th), Reuben Corbett from New Zealand (15th), Alvaro Marinho from Portugal (18th), Keith Swinton from Australia (20th). Rounding out the field is Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands (32nd), Dave Perry from the US (39th), Don Wilson from the US (44th) and CMRC Grade 2 Invitational winner Bill Hardesty from the US (67th). Two aspiring Women's match race Olympians from the US are also in this field, Sally Barkow and Genny Tulloch.

All will be performing for the crowds for four days of racing on courses set within just a few feet of the east end of Navy Pier, the largest tourist attraction in the US's third-largest city. Grandstands for viewing with live commentary alongside, merchandise vendors and nearby refreshments as Oktoberfest is celebrated will keep the public entertained on site, while live streaming video coverage will entertain online spectators. And for a lucky few sponsors and media, there will be opportunities to ride on board the TOM 28's while racing, another unique feature offered by CMRC.

Racing will begin each day at 9AM with all of the world-class match racing streamed live on the web for the world to watch. There will be free stadium seating for the general public with commentary provided by Geordie Shaver, Scott Dickson, Dobbs Davis and Nathan Hollerbach going out to both the local spectators and the world.



Chicago Match Race Center website