The top event in the 2012 US Match Racing season comes to Chicago July 10-15th at the Chicago Match Cup, the only US stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT).
Chicago Match Cup Grade 2 Qualifier presented by Eurex
Twelve teams from eight nations will be on hand to compete for their share of the $100,000 prize money purse and the chance to further advance on the AWMRT leaderboard and earn valuable Grade WC points on the ISAF Open match race rankings list.
Organizers from the Chicago Match Race Center (CMRC) have created a stadium sailing style venue at the east end of Chicago's historic Navy Pier, complete with public and VIP spectator viewing areas, live commentary, family-friendly games and attractions, and all the concessions of the Pier itself, Chicago's most-visited tourist destination.
The event starts with Tuesday's Media Challenge Pro-Am fleet race from 12:30 - 1:30 PM featuring local media celebrities racing for charity between practice sessions for the teams. CMRC will make a $25,000 donation to the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation, a public/private partnership with the Chicago Park District, which provides sailing for the physically disabled and inner city youth.
Round Robin racing will then be held from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM on Wednesday and Thursday, with the first Press Conference with all skippers scheduled for after racing on Thursday. Friday July 13th will feature the Repecharge and Quarter-Finals from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM, with a Press Conference scheduled for 5:30 PM.
Saturday will continue Quarter Final racing in the morning starting at 10:00 AM, followed by Semi-Final racing starting at 1:00 PM and live coverage of the racing starting at 2:00 PM. This live broadcast will be shown in the US on Comcast SportsNet, and elsewhere around the world on various channels listed at www.wmrt.com . The daily Press Conference will be held at 5:30 PM.
Sunday is Finals Day, starting with Petit-Final action at 11:00 AM, followed by a live broadcast of the Finals at 1:00 PM. The final awards presentation will be held immediately after racing on the Pier, with a press conference to be held at 4:30 PM.
Numerous evening social events are planned during the week of the Chicago Match Cup giving all participants a feeling for the arts and culture of the city. These include the Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, an architecture tour of Chicago on Wednesday, the Pro-Am Regatta on Thursday, an AWMRT Party on Friday, a Final Four Skippers dinner on Saturday, and a Trophy Tour of Chicago Landmarks via Trolley on Sunday.
Heading the slate of skippers coming to Chicago is reigning Match Race World Champion Ian Williams and his Team GAC Pindar from Great Britain, while currently at the top of the AWMRT leaderboard is Bjorn Hansen and his Mekonomen Sailing Team from Sweden, tied on points with Pierre Antoine Morvan and his Vannes Aggio Sailing Team from France.
Other AWMRT teams coming to Chicago are Phil Robertson and his WAKA Racing Team from New Zealand, Keith Swinton and his Black Swan Racing team from Australia, Simone Ferrarese and his team from Italy, Johnie Berntsson and his team from Sweden, and Laurie Jury and his Kiwi Match Sailing team from New Zealand.
Not yet on the AWMRT leaderboard but qualifying to race at the Chicago Match Cup from previous events are Taylor Canfield from the US Virgin Islands, Jordan Reece from Australia, Don Wilson from Chicago, and Sally Barkow from Wisconsin.
All teams will race on CMRC's equally-matched TOM 28 class keelboats, the umpire team will be led by International Umpire Alfredo Ricci, and the Principal Race Officer will be Peter Reggio, assisted by Bill Canfield.
Live internet broadcasts of all the action during the event can be found at the CMRC website.