On July 26 – 29, 2013 the Chicago Yacht Club’s North American Challenge Cup (NACC) was held at Belmont Harbor. The first NACC regatta was in 1992, and has grown over the past 20 years, from its inaugural year in 1992 with racing in only one class, the Freedom 20s, to the addition of two Paralympics class sailboats, the one-person 2.4mR and the three-person Sonar.
North American Challenge Cup
In past years the NACC regatta has hosted competitors from around the globe, including many Paralympics medal winners. It is considered to be one of the premier and 'must do' disabled sailing regattas, and counts as one of the longest running events in the North American disabled sailing circuit.
This year’s event had three days of solid racing, with unseasonably cold and gray skies for the first two days of racing. The final day was sunny, but still not the typical hot summer Chicago weather. Saturday winds were light at the beginning at five knots, building to 15 knots, with shifty winds off the shoreline. Sunday winds were seven knots, building to 12 knots, and just as shifty as Saturday. Monday winds started out low, at five to seven knots, and began to die as the land mass heated up, and clocked around from 340 over to 30. The race committee was able to get in a fair number of races each day, allowing for the opportunity for a throw-out race in each fleet.
The Sonar class, a three-person Paralympics class boat, had six boats competing, and completed a total of 12 races over the three days. Andy Fisher from New York Yacht Club - and his team of Mike Hersey and Brad Johnson - came in first place with a total point score of 17 and were awarded the Judd Goldman Trophy. Jennifer French from St Petersburg Yacht Club, with her husband Tim French and Scott Ford, came in second with a score of 24 points, and Sarah Everhart Skeels from Teverton, RI with her crew of Brian Skeels and Brenda Hopkins came in third with 31 points.
The Freedom 20 class, a disabled class boat sailed by two persons with one able body for assist, is the class of boat that has been raced in the NACC regatta since the first event was held at the Chicago Yacht Club in 1992. This year’s event had seven boats competing in the event, the maximum number possible. A total of 12 races were completed over the three-day event. Ken Kelly from Royal Victoria Yacht Club and Bob Jones from Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle captured first place with a total point score of 18 and were awarded the American Eagle Trophy. Bob and Ken had previously won the Freedom class in 2010 and 2012. Local Chicago sailors Bridget Bodo and Larry Campbell won second place with 37 points, and Chris Murphy from Charleston, NC and Donna Demarest came in third also with 37 points (Bodo and Campbell won the tie-breaker).
The 2.4mR class, a one-person, Paralympics class boat, had a total of six entries, and completed 11 races over the three days of racing. The 2.4mR class is the newest class to have been added to the NACC regatta, with 2008 marking the first year in which 2.4mR boats competed. Charley Rosenfield from Sail Newport sailed a flawless regatta winning every single race and won first place with a total point score of 10 and was awarded the Chicago Yacht Club North American Challenge Cup Trophy. Jody Hill from Miami, FL won second place with a point score of 24, and Tim Ripley from Nyack Boat Club came in third one point behind Jody with 25 points.
Kevin Holmberg from Davis Island Yacht Club was awarded the Marcy Gorov Memorial Rookie of the Year Trophy.
In addition to three solid days of racing, the event was kicked off by a pre-race clinic and on-the-water practice sessions and boat tuning led by lead US Sailing/Sperry Topsider Paralympic coach Betsy Alison. Lee Icyda and Hunter Ratliff rounded out the coaching staff. Bob Johnson and Don Glasell were the Race Officers for the event, and Ted Jones served as Chief Judge.