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CMRC Grand Slam - Canfield and Sehested take the lead

by Chicago Match Race Center on 17 Aug 2013
CMRC Grand Slam Isao Toyama
At the CMRC Grand Slam, defending champion Taylor Canfield and his US-one team are tied for the lead with Nicolai Sehested and his TRE-FOR Match Racing team from Denmark at the conclusion of the first day.

Each on five wins and one loss, these two highest-ranked teams lead a pack of 12 teams from six nations in this ISAF Grade II event that runs through Sunday.

Even after a three hour delay due to light and fickle winds, and the roaring of planes overhead in the Air and Water Show, race managers still managed to complete 8 flights of the single Round Robin today on a course area set just east of the seawall at Belmont Harbor. The south-easterlies remained light but sailable at six to eight knots throughout the day.

Canfield is the defending champion in the four-event US Grand Slam series, and is coming off a victory at last week's Chicago Match Cup, the only US stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. While it may be unusual for a Tour Card holder and the #2 skipper on the ISAF World Match Race Rankings list to sail in a non-prize money Grade II event, Canfield said the decision for him was easy.

'Its rare to have my whole team together in the same town at the same time, so this was an excellent opportunity for us to stay on after last week and keep training,' said Canfield. 'There's a long time gap before the next Tour event in Bermuda in October, so we are keen to stay as sharp as we can.'

Sehested's team has had their skills sharpened as well, coming off a strong runner-up performance in last week's Grade I ISAF Nation's Cup.

With an impressive 4-2 scorecard, the next team on the leaderboard is a bit of a surprise, as they are also the lowest-ranked team in the event. Tim Coltman from New Zealand has been an intern at the Chicago Match Race Center this season, and this exposure has certainly helped him learn both the boats and the moves as he defeated some much higher-ranked teams, such as the new ISAF Nations Cup champion, David Gilmour from Australia, who had less productive scores of 2-4 for the day.

The day ended with the CME Group Challenge pro-am regatta, where eight teams of four guests and two pro sailors on board competed in three fleet races followed by a match race between pairs seeded by the fleet race results. For the third year in a row, the Geneva Trading team took the top prize, but only after a hard-fought match race with Consolidated Trading in the lead in the first half of the race.

With light winds once again in the morning forecast, race managers have postponed tomorrow's projected first start to be at 10:00 AM to finish the Round Robin before starting the Quarter-Finals for the top eight teams.

For more information on the US Grand Slam series, visit US Match Racing website

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