U.S. Grand Slam Match Racing Series Continues

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OTB_090215AThe Grand Slam U.S. Match Racing Series continues to surprise. First of the four venues was right here in Manhasset Bay, at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club Match Race for the Knickerbocker Cup. Eric Monnin, SUI, Team Sailbox, won the Cup. Then out at Oakcliff Sailing Center, in Oyster Bay, Matt Jerwood, USA, Redline Racing, was the overall winner. Out in Chicago, the third venue of the Grand Slam, David Storrs, 71, defeated the young teams to capture the Chicago Match Cup. The press release from the Chicago Match Race Center captured the excitement: Connecticut-based David Storrs and his Pequot Racing team of Taylor Canfield, Andy Escourt and Hayden Goodrick have won the ISAF Grade 2 Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam. Storrs and team were undefeated today, beating Chris Steele and his 36 Below Racing team from New Zealand, the top-ranked team at the event, on a definitive score of 3-0 in the finals, after also defeating CMRC’s Don Wilson 3-0 in the semi-finals.

“This is the most exhilarating feeling in my life in sailing,” said Storrs. “At age 71, there are not many things that can get me excited any more, but this was certainly the best sailing regatta I’ve ever had. The team work was phenomenal, like a well-oiled machine, and Taylor and I were in sync so that our moves were smooth because we were anticipating situations and not just reactive. This was really great!”

The day’s breezy southerly conditions topped out at 23 knots, and after some early morning showers gave another day of perfect conditions for the eight teams on the water today to finish all the matches and declare a winner.

Storrs had high praise for the event, the boats and match race sailing in the US: “This was outstanding for us to have this opportunity to compete among the top teams in the world. Between here, Oakcliff Sailing Center and other facilities in the U.S., we have so many ways to get people into this thrill of match race sailing. I wish to see more people take this up, as it really is exciting. I also really like it here in Chicago because these TOM 28’s are great boats to sail in all conditions.”

Topping a field of 12 teams from five nations, this is Storrs’ best result yet at a Chicago Match Race Center event and in this year’s 2015 USA Grand Slam series, where he now takes the runner-up position on 185 points. The current Grand Slam leader is Sam Gilmour and his Neptune Racing Team from Australia, who by placing third here in Chicago now has 210 points in the series.

The next stop in the Grand Slam series is the Detroit Cup at Bayview Yacht Club, with racing on Thursday, Aug. 27 and proceeding daily through Sunday, Aug. 30. Ten teams will be on hand, with seven coming from Chicago coming to join the competition in Detroit. The top team in the series will be determined in Detroit, and will receive an automatic invitation to the oldest match race event in the U.S., the 2016 edition of the Congressional Cup next spring in Long Beach, CA.
For those who know Storrs, this is a huge win for him, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Your columnist has known David for a long time and to be able to report his joy in winning out in Chicago is a thrill! Way to go, David!

Last week this column mentioned the sorry conditions of Guanabara Bay, the sailing venue for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. More news has become available since last week. In what many “in the know” sailors and racers found disturbing was the lack of respose from sailing’s governing body. As the debate heated up in the past few months, International Sailing Federation (ISAF) was quiet on the subject. That changed last week when the powers had been finally warned that the events at the Rio Olympics could be moved out of Guanabara Bay. According to an Associated Press investigation, levels of raw sewage pose a serious health risk to athletes. A course inside the bay was closed for a test event because of floating waste. “If we can’t get the water to a level, then we’ll move it to the Atlantic Ocean,” said International Sailing Federation’s chief Peter Sowrey.
Three of the courses earmarked for the Olympics are in the bay and three are in the Atlantic, with up to 1,400 athletes set to compete in water sports at the Games.

South Korean windsurfer Wonwoo Cho was taken to hospital during the week-long test event on Thursday, with his coach Danny Ok claiming the cause was “probably from the water” at Guanabara Bay. Sowrey also complained he had received no data during the test event from the state body that monitors water quality.

“We are not happy as a federation from the reporting on the water,’’ Sowrey said. “We’re not getting the reporting we expected to get.’’ Sowrey added that otherwise the test event had gone “pretty well” from an operational viewpoint. Sailors in Guanabara Bay have reported seeing pollution including furniture and floating animal carcasses. According to the AP investigation, the Rodrigo de Freitas lake, which will host rowing and canoeing, is also badly polluted. Nearly 70 percent of sewage in the Brazilian city is spilled raw into its waters, according to www.bbc.com/sports.

For more information, go to www.bbc.com/sport/0/sailing/34034211.
Now for some scores from weekend racing.

Saturday, July 17, Manhasset Bay Yacht Club was Race Committee: Sonars: Race 1 & 2: 1. Delight, #396, Bob Kirtland, 2. Windy, #470, Bill McCollum/Reed Whittemore. MBOs: Race 1:1. Blackjack, #25, Adrian Alley/George Graf, and 2. Malachite, #26, David Sigal/Lew Lane. Race 2:
1. Malachite, 2. Blackjack.
July 25, Port Washington Yacht Club was Race Committee: Sonars, Race 1: 1. Delight, 2. Laurie B 2, 568, Bob Baskind., 3. Old Flame, #479, Ed King/Andy Weissman/Bill Palafox/Mary Lu Dempsey-Palafox. Race 2:
1. Delight, 2. Old Flame, 3. Laurie B 2. MBOS, Race & 2: Dogged, #14, John Silbersack, and 2.Blackjack.
July 26, North Shore Yacht Club was Race Committee: Sonars, Race 1:
1. Ping, #451, John Browning/Sue Miller, 2.Dreadlox, #442, Neil Bercow, and 3.Whimsey, #678, Ted Toombs/Cindy Jordan. The MBOs and the Ideal 18s did not race.

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