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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Verve Cup Inshore Regatta at Chicago Yacht Club

by J/Boats 3 Sep 2022 15:19 PDT 26-28 August 2022
Verve Cup Inshore Regatta 2022 © Chicago Yacht Club

Last weekend, the Chicago Yacht Club hosted their annual Verve Cup Inshore Regatta from August 26th to 28th, with sailing taking place on Lake Michigan, just off the picturesque Chicago city waterfront.

The dozens of J/sailors participating in the J/70 and J/88 one-design classes couldn't have been more pleased with the Chicago YC Race Management teams, with the J/70s sailing nine races and the J/88s sailing five races.

J/70 Class

As a 2023 J/70 World Championship qualifier that is taking place in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Inshore Verve Cup also served as the J/70 Great Lakes Championship. The twenty-six boat fleet may have been taken by surprise by the top team for the regatta.

Having sailed well enough in previous J/70 regattas to earn finishes in the top fifteen, it was Al Minella's LEVEL 5 team that simply dusted the fleet. Starting with a 1-1-2 in their first three races, they pulled back on the throttle in the next two races to get a 9-6, then broke out the can of Popeye's "whupass", and closed with an amazing 1-2-2-4 to win with 28 pts in the none discard series... they won by nearly 20 points!!

"Good night, Irene" they say.

Al's LEVEL 5 crew all ISAF Group 3 sailors were quite impressive, and that may have something to do with his impressive performance- Victor Diaz de Leon on tactics/mainsheet (J/70 World Champion), Greiner Hobbs (College All-American), and Patrick Wilson (J/70 World Champion crew).

The fight for the balance of the podium and the top five was nothing short of an all-out battle. And, the six teams that were in contention were all World Champion-worthy teams. Those protagonists included John Heaton's EMPEIRIA, Bruno Pasquinelli's STAMPEDE, Cate Muller-Terhune's CASTING COUCH, Allan Terhune & Paul Sevigny's SMOKESHOW, Doug Rastello's GOOD TO GO, and Rich Witzel's ROWDY.

In the end, second was 46 points and sixth was 56 points... a mere 10-point spread over nine races. Ultimately, winning the battle and taking the silver was Chicago's own John Heaton on EMPEIRIA, with a team of all ISAF Group 3s as well- Alec Anderson, Zeke Horowitz, and Zach Mason. Rounding out the podium just 3 pts in arrears and earning the bronze medal was Bruno's STAMPEDE crew of Morgan Reeser, Charlie Smythe, and Blake Billman.

The balance of the top five was settled pretty much by a three-way tiebreaker. Cate's CASTING COUCH team (Nick Turney, Jackson Benvenutti, Jeff Hayden) just nipped into fourth place with 55 pts. Just behind her was a tie-breaker at 56 pts each for Allan's SMOKESHOW and Rastello's GOOD TO GO. Winning the countback was Al's SMOKESHOW to earn 5th place with a superstar crew that included Chris Larson, David Hughes, and Paul Sevigny.

J/88 Class

The fifteen-boat J/88 class enjoyed very competitive racing over their five-race, no discard series. The battle for the top three podium spots went to the final leg of the last race. Coincidentally, all three teams had two bad races, in addition to three podium finishes to count towards their final point tallies. Starting with less than stellar finishes of 5-8 was John & Jordan Leahey's DUTCH, leaving them below the top five after just two races.

However, like their J/70 colleagues that broke out a can of Popeye's spinach to win, the Leahey's must've done the same! For their next three races were a blistering 1-1-2 to win the regatta by one point!

Dave Tufts' GAUCHO had a roller-coaster series to take the silver medal, with scores of 7-1-5-2-3 for 18 pts. Rounding out the podium was Ben Marden's BANTER with a 3-3-6-8-1 record for 21 pts.

The balance of the top five included Andy Graff's EXILE in 4th and Iris Vogel's DEVIATION in 5th place.

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