The Chicago Match Race Center's Don Wilson and his crew of sister Jen Wilson, Sally Barkow, Tod Reynolds and Erik Shampain have today claimed victory in the Yacht Racing Union of the Great Lakes' 100th edition of the Richardson Trophy on an impressive streak of victories: in 24 flights, Wilson and team lost only three matches in the three days of this event. By doing so, Wilson joins a long tradition of repeat winners of this venerable trophy, the world's oldest match racing trophy that is not a challenge cup.
100th Richardson Trophy
'The top four teams were all solid, but we knew we had our work cut out for us in the semis and finals,' says Wilson. 'The scoreline made the finals look easy; it was anything but that. Sally and the team did a great job keeping us on the lifted tack at all times which was crucial to success upwind. We are stoked to have won this two years in a row.'
Besides their opponents in today's concluding matches of the double Round Robin, Semi-Finals and Finals, another adversary for Wilson and the other ten teams was the weather. A strong approaching cold front brought 15-25 knot conditions, accompanied by sudden shifts and rain squalls so dense to obscure the race course set off Chicago's Belmont Harbor. Accordingly, CMRC race managers ordered reefed mains and no spinnakers to limit any damage, especially after yesterday's dismasting towards the end of the day.
Wilson celebrates his win with Sally Barkow - Richardson Trophy
This made passing lanes downwind more difficult while just under main and jib, but it also kept the racing close so that the upwind legs could be used to play the frequent shifts. It was here that Wilson and team did especially well, gaining back after trailing to rival Nathan Hollerbach in the Finals pre-starts. Hollerbach's eventual loss to Wilson was a hard one, as he was hoping to not only repeat his win earned in 2002 with brother Adam, but also carry on a family tradition of bringing the trophy home to Detroit's Bayview YC: Hollerbachs won three Richardson Trophies in the 1970's.
But Hollerbach did win the only stage to go to three matches in the first-to-two point Semi-Finals against Lake Minnetonka YC's Sam Rogers, who sailing his first Grade 3 match racing event as a skipper and not a crew.
Another former Richardson winner in the Final Four was Terry McLaughlin of the Royal Canadian YC, who won in 2007 but today could not get past Wilson in the Semi-Finals, falling to the Chicago team 2-0. Against Rogers, however, he went on to win third place in a straight 2-0 series.
Chicago Match Race Center website