The Chicago Match Race Center's (CMRC) Spring Invitational was cut short due to tornado warnings and highly violent storms. This has resulted in the events from day one leading to the proclamation of Don Wilson as the winner along with Steve Hunt, Sam Rogers, Mandi Markee, and Eric Shampain.
Don Wilson's undefeated 8-0 record in the uncompleted Round Robin has earned him valuable Grade 3 points for the ISAF World Ranking list, and a jump start to an active season of upcoming Grade 3, Grade 2 and Grade 1 events at the Chicago Match Race Center.
Beside these events, Wilson also has the Canada's Cup in his sights, and tactician Steve Hunt says match racing at CMRC will be important for their training and preparation. 'Of course the Farr 40's [used in the Canada's Cup] are much different, but training in the CMRC TOM 28's among a competitive field of skippers is really important for our program. The new young talent here this week was an excellent start for us.'
Among that young talent was a student at the Maine Maritime Academy, Chris Poole, whose runner-up performance on a win-loss score of 6-2 exemplified the prospect of a new wave of young US-based match race talent.
'Of course we wish we had the weather for more sailing,' said Poole, 'but this was still phenomenal for me. My team was new to me, but so great at helping me understand this game and helping me get better with every match.'
Now with the 2011 season underway, match race sailing and training will continue at CMRC with clinics, seminars and informal match races during the week. Coming up is a CMRC Membership Grade 5 regatta, a Collegiate Coaches Clinic over June 14-16, and the first Grade 3 double-header regatta - the CMRC Chicago Open A and Open B - held over June 24-27.