Chicago Match Race Center's (CMRC) Spring Invitational saw rough spring weather with foggy, rainy conditions that kept race managers and participants on their toes. Nine flights were eventually finished with Don Wilson the early lead with an undefeated score of 8-0 in this ISAF Grade 3 season opener.
Don Wilson is the highest ranking, most experienced skipper in the event which makes his place on the charts come as no surprise.
However, the current runner-up skipper had entered - and won - his first-ever umpired match race only on Monday of this week, and having one year left at the Maine Maritime Academy, he represents a new wave of young and hungry match race talent in the US.
Earning an impressivescore of 6-2, Chris Poole and his team today managed to stay just one match ahead of two other teams on five wins, Mark Johnson and Ben Marden. Following these on three wins each are Chris Wurtz, Lars Hansen, and high school match racer Alex Curtis, with the remaining teams of Will Cyr, Sam Sansome, and Eric Christman on one win each.
The light and shifty conditions, fog and rain still did little to dampen the competitive action, with many matches decided only numerous lead changes and penalties among the eight equally-matched TOM 28 Class keelboats used in the event.
One especially close match and a relative upset in the standings was in the last match of Flight Eight, when local-based Chris Wurtz and his team managed to get past Poole and sail flawlessly to maintain the lead in a dying breeze where no lead was safe.
'Our team is new this season,' said Wurtz, known locally as 'YT.' And we need some work, but after some mistakes we started to gell together in the afternoon, and that was a good one to win.'
Match race action is scheduled to resume today, but the long delays due to the weather has prompted Race Director Mary Anne Ward to amend the format to complete only the Round Robin within the remaining allotted time, weather permitting. Once racing resumes, race courses will be set at the south end of Belmont Harbor to accompany the Get Out to the Lake Festival being held from 10am to 2pm.