Chicago Match Race Center August Grade 2 Invitational 2012 concluded today after three days of racing off Chicago's Belmont Harbor. As the Sailing Director for the past two seasons at the CMRC, Taylor Canfield spends most of his time teaching, training, maintaining and sailing the TOM 28's used at the center. It is this intimate knowledge of the boats that has helped give him the edge needed to dominate and win the CMRC's August Grade 2 Invitational
Canfield and his team of Matt Clark, Dan Morris, and Hayden Goodrick went undefeated amongst the field of 11 teams from seven nations until well into the second Round Robin, when Australian David Gilmour handed him his first defeat yesterday. This happened only once more towards the end of the day when Denmark's Nicolai Sehested handed the team their second defeat, but their 18 points earned was good enough to give Canfield the top spot in the standings, well clear of the rest of the pack, and the right to choose his opponent in today's Semi-Final action.
He chose the young Kiwi team from Wellington, New Zealand led by Josh Junior who squeaked into the final four by only half a point over Gilmour. As the jets of the Chicago Air and Water show roared overhead and the teams sailed in a light 7-10 knot seabreeze, Canfield then managed to dispense with Junior on a 3-0 score, while Sehested had to take it to a fourth deciding match before winning 3-1 over Australian Jordan Reece.
The stage was now set for the Finals, which was reduced to a first-to-two point rather then to three point series. Canfield came out strong, winning the first match by a huge margin after finding more pressure and a shift on the left side of the course just after the start. But in the second match it was Sehested's turn, with the Danes able to find and hold the favored left side of the course after the start and take the win.
In the third and deciding match, the wind had shifted right, making the prestart a race for the signal boat side of the start. Canfield did this well, holding high enough in the final approach to the line to make it to this end easily while pushing the Danes towards the pin, thereby taking early control and then extending to win by several lengths.
In Petit Final action, Junior defeated Reece 2-0 to take third place, even after having to replace an injured bowman with sidelined skipper Peter Nicholas filling into the position in the second match.
Canfield's win is the second earned this year for Canfield at a CMRC event, having won the June Grade 2 Invitational, and sets up him up well for his plan to compete in the remaining three events of the US Grand Slam series, starting this Thursday in Bayview YC's Detroit Cup. The following week the Grand Slam continues at the Knickerbocker Cup in Manhasset Bay, NY, and then once again the week after just a few miles away in Oyster Bay, NY at the Oakcliff Invitational.
Final results of the event are as follows:
1. Taylor Canfield (USVI) 2. Nicolai Sehested (DEN) 3. Josh Junior (NZL) 4. Jordan Reece (AUS) 5. David Gilmour (AUS) 6. Don Wilson (USA) 7. Stephanie Roble (USA) 8. Peter Nicholas (AUS) 9. Chris Poole (USA) 10. Colin Rathburn (BVI) 11. Peter Wickwire (CAN)