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Inaugural North American Grand Slam Match Racing Series for 2011

by Chicago Match Race Center on 3 Mar 2011
2011 World Match Racing Tour WMRT
Event organizers from the Chicago Match Race Center (CMRC), Bayview YC (BYC), Manhasset Bay YC (MBYC) and Oakcliff Sailing Center (OSC) have announced the inaugural North American Grand Slam Match Racing Series for 2011.

An invitation to the 2012 Congressional Cup at Long Beach YC, the oldest ISAF Grade 1 prize money event in the US is on offer for the team with the best combined scores from match racing events raced at each venue.

All events in the Grand Slam Series are rated as ISAF Open Grade 2, the third-­-highest level graded by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), which means the competition is open to both men’s and women’s teams from throughout the US and other countries, and that they also have a minimum level of expertise as reflected in their position on the ISAF world match race Ranking List. Events in the Grand Slam Series constitute four out of the five Open Grade 2 events in the US.

'Together with our colleagues in Chicago and New York, we have created a series of great match racing events that are convenient for racers to attend,' said Kevin Schrage of the Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit. 'The decision by the Long Beach Yacht Club to invite the overall winner to the Congressional Cup is evidence that our Grade 2 regattas have become important events for globally-­-ranked match racers.'

The first event in the series is CMRC’s Chicago Match Cup, held August 12-­-14, featuring match racing competition for prize money on the Chicago waterfront for 12 teams in equally-­-matched TOM 28 Max keelboats. The second is BYC’s Detroit Cup held August 17-­-21 for 12 teams racing Ultimate 20’s in the Detroit River. The third event is MBYC’s Knickerbocker Cup, first raced in 1982 and the oldest in the series, which will also offer prize money and be sailed Aug 24-­-28 in Manhasset Bay for the first time in Swedish Match 40’s. The last event in the series, OSC’s Oakcliff International, is the newest, will also offer prize money, and will be raced in Swedish Match 40’s in Oyster Bay Aug 30 – Sept 3.

'To stimulate the growth of match racing, we feel it is important to provide feeder events to these Grade 2 events,' said Susan Miller, past Commodore of MBYC, host of the Knickerbocker Cup. Accordingly, each Grade 2 event in the series has their own Grade 3 feeder event: the winners of the Oakcliff June Doubleheader held June 24-­-27 and the CMRC Summer Classic held July 8-­-10 will receive an invitation to the Chicago Match Cup; the winner of BYC’s Bayview Spring Invitational held May 21-­-22 will receive an invitation to the Detroit Cup; the 2010 US Match Racing Champion Shawn Bennett from St Francis YC received an invitation to MBYC’s Knickerbocker Cup; and the winners of the CMRC June Invitational A & B held June 24-­-27 and the Oakcliff Summer Invitational held July 28-­-31 will both receive invitations to the Oakcliff International.

'This Grand Slam Series and their qualifiers represents an unprecedented degree of integration for match racing in the US,' said Dave Perry, Chairman of the US Sailing Match Racing Committee. 'A team can climb the ladder of events much more easily now that the schedules and invitation schemes are all coherently inter-­-related. Having the Grade 2 events held over four consecutive weekends with the organizers cooperating on their invitations means that it is easier than ever for traveling teams both from within North America and coming from overseas to maximize their time racing at successive events. This is why we expect to attract some excellent international as well as national talent to this series.'

Grand Slam events are also an important step for teams aspiring to the world’s top tier of prize money match racing, the World Match Racing Tour, since winners receive valuable points to advance on the ISAF Ranking list, as well as invitations to Tour events. For example, winners from the Detroit Cup and Knickerbocker Cup receive automatic invitations to compete at the Argo Group Gold Cup in Bermuda, the penultimate event on the Tour prior to its finale at the Monsoon Cup.

For more information on the Chicago Match Cup, visit the CMRC website
For more information about the Detroit Cup, visit BYC event website
For more information about the Knickerbocker Cup, go to MBYC website
For more information about OSC’s Oakcliff International, go to OSC website
For more information about Long Beach YC’s Congressional Cup, go to their website
For more information on match racing events in the US, visit the match racing calendar on the US Sailing website
Argo Group Gold Cup and other events on the World Match Racing Tour, go to the Tour website.
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