Chicago Grade 2 Invitational Regatta - Sixth place tie for Maclaren

Team Maclaren
Molly Vandemoer
The Chicago Grade 2 Invitational Regatta has resulted in a much better day for Team Maclaren as they sailed just off Navy Pier in downtown Chicago. The wind was up, and the team finished the day’s racing 2-1, with some exciting races in 18-25+kts.

The morning started with a skippers' meeting at which they informed us we would be sailing with reefed main sails. We then went and rigged the boats and headed off for racing. The first two matches sailed were the matches that didn't finish yesterday due to the storms. After one or two great wipeouts, the race committee decided that we wouldn't use kites anymore. Most of the time between races the teams hungout in the lee of the pier to stop the boat from being shaken around, but when we ventured out past the pier, it was full on!

With three minutes to go before our entry, we gybed around and our vang blew up. A block exploded under the pressure of the gybe so the girls did a quick re rig of the vang so we could enter and sail the race. We had a good start and drew a penalty on the Danish team just before the start gun went. We started to the left of them, but had good speed and eventually reached the obstruction area and therefore were entitled to room to tack. They tacked and we were able to roll over them just before the top mark. Downwind, we sailed a little too wide out from the mark and they were able to get inside of us and round ahead at the bottom mark. Upwind, we kept the game close as they had a penalty still to spin.

We sailed out to the starboard layline and then followed them into the mark. They tried to slow and pull us close to them, but we hung back as we were supposed to.They went on the round the mark, but tacked just shy and ended up rafting up on it. We sailed plenty of extra distance to get around them and the mark and went on to win the race.

In the second race, we had a good pre-start battle going on, but Taylor Canfield and team tacked to leeward of us and didn't give us an opportunity to keep clear. As a result, we drifted into him and he got a penalty. From there, we sailed to the line. We had a bit better boatspeed and were able to round the top mark ahead and lead to the finish line.

In the last race of the day, we had a tricky pre-start to handle. We were racing Bill Hardesty, the eventual winner of the event, and as we were the boat that entered on port, were being quite well controlled by Bill. We were a bit stuck to the left of him, but were able to get him to drift closer to us to the point of being able to use the sea wall as an out. We sailed towards the wall and asked for room to tack. We were given the necessary response from Bill to tack so we did, and for whatever reason, he didn't or couldn't tack and the boats ended up hitting.

He earned a penalty, and we went on for a good clean start. We made a mistake, however, and he took the lead from us half way up the leg. We kept the race close for most of the next lap, but got a bit tangled with the other match going on and as a consequence, lost a bit of distance on Bill. He pulled out enough of a lead to enable him to spin his penalty and win the race. It was a bit disappointing because we were sailing quite well, but we know where our mistake was and it was a valuable lesson learned.

So we ended the regatta with a 7-9 record, not pretty, but much better than how the regatta started. We tied for sixth overall, but lost the tie. Our next regatta is the Buddy Melges Challenge in Sheboygan, WI back in Elliots starting on the 22nd.

We would very much like to thank our Title Sponsor, Maclaren, our Gold Level Sponsors 11th Hour Racing and Laser Performance, and our Bronze Level Sponsors Carmeuse, Trinity Yachts, and Chicago Match Race Center for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their continued support. Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations /contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to either The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe.

Team Maclaren website