At the Chicago Yacht Club’s Belmont Station the Beneteau First 36.7 North American Championship finished up today with an exciting end to the four-day event. Detroit boat Grizzly held its virtually unbeatable lead with an impressive 1 -2 today to win the overall regatta for the first time.
North America Championship
Second place was aggressively contested, with Chicago boat Maggie Mae edging out Tequila Mockingbird in a tie-breaker.
Other flag winners include Chicago boats Tried and True, skippered by Robert Foley taking fourth and fifth-place FOG, owned by Charlie Wurtzebach and Mike Bird. Showing how competitive the racing was, the difference between second and fourth place was a mere two points.
Chuck Bayer, the skipper of Grizzly, said, 'This feels great after 10 years of competing in these NACs. We’ve entered the last day with the lead three previous times and never pulled it out. It has been a long haul to get here but practice makes perfect,' Bayer said. 'I have to say that I brought the best crew possible and they were the reason for our success. We’re all friends and they are just terrific. They do their jobs so well that I don’t even have to talk when we are racing. I’m just thrilled to finally get this win.'
The weather cooperated as well, with very favorable racing conditions with winds in the mid-teens.
'It turned out to be a beautiful sailing day. The starts were good and very close,' said Wayne Bretsch, the regatta PRO. 'Grizzly did a fantastic job. In the second race they had a problem with their halyard and consequently started the race five boat lengths behind the fleet and ended up finishing overlapped with the first place boat. They were the cream of the crop in this regatta.'
Bretsch said the rest of the boats were in very close proximity to one another. 'We saw really good racing, excellent sail trim, and dramatic wind shifts all four days. How the tacticians responded to those wind shifts was the difference in the regatta.'
According to Bretsch, the host club and the race committee were essential to the quality of the regatta. 'Chicago Yacht Club should be proud of two things: One, they were a fantastic host of the regatta, and two, the quality of their race committee - they were highly qualified and excellent to work with over the course of the races. I also saw a lot of camaraderie between crews after racing which is a really nice thing in a one-design class.'