by Dobbs Davis
After an ambitious program of 12 flights in the Round Robin, followed by Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals and Finals in only two days of racing, Singapore's Maxi Soh and his team of Justin Wong, Russell Kan, and Andrew Chan have emerged today as the winners of the 2014 CMRC Summer Invitational Doubleheader A event. This is the first of two ISAF Grade three events.
Maxi Soh and Team Red Dot
The race committee led by Darcy Cook managed to complete the full 12 flight Round Robin for the ten competing teams on Saturday with a strong NE breeze and huge sea state testing each team's boat handling skills and match racing tactics. Soh led the event from start to finish, winning all nine of his matches in the round robin and then beat Chicago local and CMRC member Steve Lowery in the Finals. Chicago Match Race Center founder and top ranked skipper in the event Don Wilson finished third.
Day two saw a shift in weather conditions with a light south-westerly breeze greeting the eight Quarter Finalists. After topping the Round Robin, Maxi Soh chose David Niemann from Madison, WI and had a hard fought quarter finals, coming from zero - one down to win and advance to the semi-finals two - one.
Steve Lowery, who finished second in the Round Robin, chose CMRC Intern and the youngest competitor in the regatta Will Holz, dispatching him in two straight matches to advance to the Semi's. Don Wilson then had the final choice for his Quarter Finals opponent, and selected Magnus Sandberg from Toronto, Canada. The Canadian, who was coming off a runner-up finish in last month's Grade Three Great Lakes International Match Race regatta put up a good fight but was no match for Wilson and his Convexity Racing team who took the Quarter Finals two - zero.
The final Quarter Final match pitted the competitions oldest sailor, David Storrs who will turn 74 this year against Clinton Hayes who is currently working as the assistant coach for the Stanford Sailing Team. Storrs, who is aiming to become the top ranked US match racer in the US came away with the final berth in the Semi Finals, beating Hayes two - zero.
Maxi Soh then chose to race David Storrs for the Semi-finals, leaving the two Chicago local rivals to battle it out in the other Semi-final match. The scorecard for both Semi-finals depicted the intensity of the racing with both matches having several lead changes, luffing matches and penalty flags flying from the umpire boats. In the Soh - Storrs Semi-final, the young Singapore team, ranked 32nd in the world, came away with a two - zero victory to be the first team to advance to the Finals. In the local derby between Wilson and Lowery, a late surge from Lowery helped him advance to the Finals two - one.
In a strong, puffy and shifty south-westerly breeze, which peaked at 26 knots on the race course, both the Petit Final and Finals needed all their matches to find a winner. In an epic display of boat handling and match racing skills, the team that travelled the furthest came away with the regatta victory. Maxi Soh overcame a slight mistake in his Finals against Lowery to win the CMRC Doubleheader A event. In the Petit Final, Wilson also staged a come from behind victory to sneak onto the podium in third, leaving David Storrs in fourth.
Tomorrow will mark the start of the Doubleheader B event with 12 teams competing which will conclude on Sunday. The overall Doubleheader Regatta winner will be awarded invitations to both the Chicago and Oakcliff Grade two events which are part of the 2014 Grand Slam Series.
As with all CMRC events, racing starts early and lasts all day as long as the conditions permit, with the first flight due to start tomorrow at 9 AM. A single Round Robin is planned, followed by Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Finals, with all to be completed by the end of the day on Friday.