Under perfect blue skies and a building southerly that peaked at about 14 knots, the second Round Robin of the Chicago Match Cup Qualifier today yielded some surprising winners and losers in Day Two of this ISAF Grade Two event. Among a competitive field of ten teams from four nations it was Australia's David Chapman and Chicago's Don Wilson who emerged on top, having each won 13 matches each among their 18 sailed.
Chapman and Wilson in action...
Since Chapman defeated Wilson, the Australian has earned the right to choose his rival in tomorrow's Semi-Final round, where the winners will be the teams that first earn three points to advance to the Finals. The eventual winner of the event will receive an invitation to the Chicago Match Cup in September, a prize-money ISAF Grade WC event that is the only US stop on the Alaric World Match Racing Tour.
Besides Wilson, Chapman's other Semi-Final choices include another Chicago-area team, Steven Lowery, who impressively finished this stage of the competition on 12 points despite being ranked 77th in the world, and the only other antipodal team in the competition, 22nd-ranked Chris Steele from New Zealand.
Despite being the series leaders after the first day of racing, Steele's team fell into a losing streak and just barely squeezed into the Final Four, having defeated Staffa Lindberg from Finland in the final match of today. Lindberg's fall from the top ranks was an unexpected result: not only was he the winner of the first Round Robin in defeating Steele in the first match of the day, but he and his team had entered the event as the highest-ranked entry: 10th in the ISAF Open World Match Race Ranking List.
Steele and Lindberg in action...
'The competition here has been really tough,' said Lindberg. 'I did not start today expecting to have to fight for the final spot in the last match, but this is how it goes sometimes. Chris and his team sailed very well.'
Chapman will announce his choice at tomorrow's skipper briefing at 8 AM, with Semi-Final match racing action due to start at 9:00 AM on courses set just east of the entrance to Chicago's Belmont Harbor. Finals and Petit-Finals will then follow.
For more information, visit the CMRC website.