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September 29, 2011

Fall ushered its way into the Midwest as the first day of the Grade 1 Chicago Cup took place under cool, cloudy skies, rain squalls and 7-13 kts of wind.  The bleachers set up off the end of Navy Pier were empty most of the day as the cold weather even kept the touristos away, but that was no indication of the racing as there were several close matches that were decided on a photo finish.

During the morning session, the left 1/3 of the race course was actually on the pavement of Navy Pier,  and getting off the starboard end of the line and being able to lay the end of the pier was the gameplan.  This was great for spectating as several of the boats came within feet of the seawall, but it was a challenge for the competitors to not get trapped to leeward and be forced to tack in a vaccuum of breeze underneath the pier.  With color commentary booming over the ap system and airwaves provided by Jordie Shaeffer, Dobbs Davis, Nathan Hollerbach and Scott Dixon, the set up here in Chicago is teed up for prime time.

One trademark of a match race event is extremely long days.  We were up at 645am to be on time for a 730 skippers meeting, and 9 am first start.  With a few short breaks scattered through the day, the boats are finally packed up at 530 and back to the hotel around 8.   On team Don Wilson, we started off the morning well going 3-2 and our two losses were by inches against two very good teams.  The afternoon was not as kind to us as the breeze clocked left and the pin end was very favored which requires much more exactitude when it comes to time and distance to the line.  Leading back to early and you are over early, pushing back too late and you are already behind in a weak position. We have three races reaming in the round robin and will need to win all three to have a shot at qualifying for the top 6 when the round robin concludes early this afternoon.

CMRC has set up a quality live feed, and if you are tired of surfing the internet at work, tune in and take a look, the racing is great and the commentary is very entertaining. Racing begins at 9 am…Live feed here.  Day 1 video recap.

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