After a morning delay awaiting a light 6-7 knot breeze to fill from Lake Michigan, six flights of this series were sailed today, with 11 remaining to complete this stage of the competition among twelve teams from nine nations. Racing is being held near Chicago's Belmont Harbor, the home port of the event organizers, the Chicago Match Race Center (CMRC), who are hosting this only US stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour (AWMRT).
The conditions were well-suited to the US One team, who have won not only last year's Chicago Match Cup, but more recently CMRC's Chicago Grand Slam Grade 2 event last month.
“We have raced here for many years,” said Canfield, “but still learn something every time we race. Today we were feeling a little weak in our downwind legs, but made some adjustments based on what we saw on some other boats and got going much better.”
This helped Canfield in his last match of the day against Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team, where he trailed around the first top mark, but gained on the run and managed to take the lead by holding out the French team from getting to the leeward gate.
“Its still early, this is a tough crowd, but it's good to have some points on the board,” concluded Canfield.
While the wind was light, the action was not, and several matches were decided in part by penalties assessed by the umpires. Just moments into the Williams-Hansen match, for example, an altercation after the start not only had Williams penalized but earning a red flag for a acquiring control of the match from the incident. This required him to do his penalty turn immediately, and thereby cede control of the match back to Hansen, who was able to maintain his lead and take the point.
Asked about the incident, Williams said simply “We screwed up.”
Each of these matches will be important once this stage of 17 flights is completed, as only four teams go through to the Quarter-Finals while the remainder will be determined only after a Repechage round raced on Friday.
Qualifying Series racing resumes tomorrow at 0930 CDT on courses set at Belmont Harbor.
Taylor Canfield (ISV) US One 4-0
Ian Williams (GBR) GAC Pindar 3-1
Phil Robertson (NZL) Waka Racing 3-1
Mathieu Richard (FRA) LunaJets 3-1
Joachim Aschenbrenner (DEN) Team Trifork 3-1
Chris Steele (NZL) 36 Below Racing 3-1
Eric Monnin (SUI) Team Sailbox 2-2
Pierre Antoine Morvan (FRA) Vannes Agglo Sailing Team 1-3
Björn Hansen (SWE) Hansen Sailing Team 1-3
Tom Slingsby (AUS) Team Tom Slingsby 1-3
Don Wilson (USA) Chicago Match Race Center 0-4
Keith Swinton (AUS) Team Alpari FX 0-4