GoPro Match Cup. Ten teams from four nations whittled down to a final four in one long day of round robin racing, followed by start of the Semi-Final and Consolation stages.
In a day full of wind shifts, opportunities gained and lost, nail-biting tie-breakers and impressive displays of match race skill, a final four has emerged from the 10 teams competing at the Chicago Match Race Center's GoPro Match Cup A.
Don Wilson (USA), Nevin Snow (USA), Stephanie Roble (USA) and Stratis Andreadis (GRE) have all made it through to the first-to-three point semi-finals after a hard-fought round robin. Wilson, on seven straight wins earned early in the series, stayed largely out of the fray, but his only two losses came in his last three flights, against his sister, Jen Wilson, and Andreadis, and had huge consequences for a three-way tie-break for the fourth and final slot into the semi's.
The Wilson family feud that led up to this was quite spirited, with multiple lead changes and in an uncertain outcome until the final few meters of the match when Jen pulled off the victory. After racing Don joked over a history of similar tight situations, 'If there's ever an iffy situation between Jen and I, the umpires side with her every time.' This placed her in a tie-break scenario on five wins with not only Andreadis, but Chris Segerblom and his young team of college and high-school-aged sailors as well.
In the end, this three-way tie went to Andreadis, but one of the more exciting matches of the day came when the event's two female skippers, Jen and Roble, spent most of their match sparring and leap-frogging each other in their battle for the lead. Only in the last downwind leg did Roble just pull off the win, one of six that earned her a place in the final four.
With a light-wind forecast for the morning and a mandate to complete as many races as possible using the northwest breeze, Darcy Cook and her team decided to keep the racing going until completion of two flights of the Semi-finals, making for a 53 matches on the day
After the first two flights of the semi's, Nevin Snow stopped the early momentum of Don Wilson and his team, having him up against the ropes already with two wins and Don facing a must-win scenario tomorrow to stay alive on the road to the finals. Snow felt that they had a morning full of up's and down's, but pulled it together by the afternoon. He hopes that they start off tomorrow where they left off today.
Stephanie Roble has done the same to Stratis Andreadis, with the Greeks now looking at their own must-win situation when the Semi's reconvene tomorrow. Segerblom, who was part of the three-way tie for fourth, was pleased with his performance today. He is familiar with match racing, but only in his California club's fleet. 'This is my first real event to try match racing in other boats. It's fun to duke it out here with the big dogs.'
Racing resumes tomorrow at 10:30 AM with the continuation of the semi-finals, followed by the finals and petit finals rounds on courses set off the park seawall at Belmont Harbor.