by Luiz E. Kahl
At the ISAF Grade 2 Detroit Cup, six of twelve teams from three countries have qualified to advance today to the Quarter Finals at Bayview YC. This event, the second in the four-event US Grand Slam series, is being held today through Sunday on the Detroit River in Bayview’s equally-matched Ultimate 20’s.
2013 Detroit Cup Match Race
A shifty but sailable 7-10 knot west-northwesterly breeze today gave race managers enough to finish the two Round Robins of five flights each for each group of six teams in the competition. The top three from each group qualified for the Quarter-Finals, while the remaining three will race tomorrow in another Round Robin repechage to determine the final two positions to go through.
Qualifiers today from Group 1 include David Gilmour from Australia, who would have an undefeated five points on his scorecard except for a tussle with fellow Australian Ashlen Rookyln in their pre-start, where damage from the collision cost both teams a ½ point penalty. This has been a better start to the event for Gilmour, who in last week’s Chicago Grand Slam did not qualify for the Quarter-Finals, even after coming off a win a the previous week’s ISAF Nations Cup.
2013 Detroit Cup Match Race
'We had a rough start to the Grand Slam back in Chicago,' said Gilmour, 'but feel like we’re more together now as a team and are confident going forward here in Detroit. It’s a great place, we’re feeling good here.'
Chris Poole and his Riptide Racing team from Maine has also stepped up from his performance in Chicago, qualifying here today on 3 wins. 'We had not match raced for a month before getting to Chicago, so it was like a starter event to the series for us there. We’re off to a better start here in Detroit.'
Last to qualify in Group 1 was local-based Chris Van Tol from Bayview YC, who went through on because Rooklyn’s tie-breaking performance was reduced in the fractional point penalty, leaving Van Tol to go through on only two wins.
'I’ve done six Detroit Cups,' said Van Tol, 'but aside from sailing locally here in the U-20’s, I have not match raced since this time last year. Regardless, it’s great to see that now when I look down the table at the other skippers there’s a lot of young US-based talent here. This is very different than six years ago, and shows there’s been real growth to the US match racing scene.'
Teams going to the Repechage from Group 1 include Rooklyn, Peter Holz from the Chicago Match Race Center, and Tim Coltman from New Zealand.
From Group 2 there were two US teams on four wins each – Stephanie Roble and Judge Ryan – with Ryan winning the tie-break to lead this group. Ryan is new to the Ultimate 20’s, but liked the boats and credited his match race training in San Diego as well as his skiff sailing experience with his good performance today.
'We were comfortable with the asymmetric kites, and I think that really helped today,' he said. 'But this is a tough crowd, because one little error and they’re right on top of you.'
Roble, representing the Chicago Match Race Center, found this out in her only loss, which was to Ryan, when a strong lead on the final run collapsed into a reversal and a penalty earned in just the last few minutes of the match.
'That was totally my fault,' she said, 'I misjudged a layline, got slow, and he was right on us. But otherwise we sailed very well, and its great to be out here competing in such a strong field.'
Chris Steele and his team from New Zealand was the final team to qualify on three wins, which could have been four after a commanding lead earned against Long Beach’s Dustin Durant in the pre-start. Leading back to the starting line with a four-length lead back to the pin end, Steele inadvertently hooked the ground tackle and remained tangled while Durant sailed into what was a certain win, his only one of the day.
But on the final beat Durant fell out of the wind on the left side of the course, while Steele rode a puff and a shift up the right side to close the gap from half a leg to just a few lengths. Disaster then struck for Durant, whose spinnaker head was twisted and unable to unravel on the final run, leaving him vulnerable to attack from the trailing Kiwis. With a penalty still on from his incident with the starting mark, Steele had to attack to try to get an offsetting penalty, but in so doing earned a second penalty, ruining his one last chance and allowing Durant to sail into the win.
Besides Durant, the other Repechage teams for Group two include Mike Quaglio from New York and Matt Graham from Michigan.
Racing resumes tomorrow at 10 AM with the Repechage, followed by the start of the first-to-two point Quarter Finals.
For more information, results, photos and videos visit Detroit Cup website