Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LUCKY DUBIE Wins 111s @ Verve Cup!

MOMENTUS Wins 109s, STRIKING Wins 105s, 35s Sweep ORR3
(Chicago, IL)-  The 20th annual Verve Cup, presented by Audi and SLAM, is a three-day offshore regatta that had 142 boats competing, with both J's sailing in handicap divisions as well as sailing one-design in the J/111, J/109 and J/105 classes.

As the largest course-racing regatta on the Great Lakes, the Verve Cup has developed as a world-class event, attracting national and international sailing competitors to Chicago’s beautiful lake front. During the regatta, Chicago Yacht Club welcomed over 2,000 sailors, spouses and guests at their Monroe harbor clubhouse for top quality racing, followed by food, entertainment and camaraderie.

The regatta got off to a very windy, wavy start.  “An autumn weather pattern has set up over Great Lakes, bringing cold air over the warm lake and causing very strong winds that are whipping up very rough waves,” said Meteorologist Chris Bedford of Sailing Weather Service. “It’s early in the year for something like this but at the same time the lakes are unusually warm this year from the unusually warm weather we’ve had this summer.”  As a result, Friday's racing was postponed due to the 30-40 kt northerly breezes kicking up to 10 foot breaking chop (no such thing as a wave on Lake Michigan!).

On the second day of sailing, it was clear the competitors were eager to get out on the water Saturday. “You can never make up the missed races, but we got three races in each circle today and it should be good sailing tomorrow with more moderate weather.” Chris Bedford of Sailing Weather Services said racers can expect “a bit of a mixed bag” when Sunday’s racing begins. “During morning racing there will be a lingering offshore breeze around 10 knots,” Bedford said. “That wind is expected to die during the morning with variable conditions mid-morning through early afternoon. There will be a midday southeast lake breeze of 5 to 10 knots and the waves should be down, so it should be pretty nice out there tomorrow.”  In the end, “Circle A saw an amazing and challenging day with three races. Winds were out of the north northeast with 7- to 10-foot rollers. We saw very exciting, competitive starts in the six classes in Circle A. There were very exciting starts in the J111s, which all piled up near the race committee and had to bail and circle around at starts, showing why the J111 class is becoming a great One-Design fleet in Chicago,” commented Race Officer Tom Keegan.  On Circle B, “It was a fast day for our regatta after being literally blown off the lake by 40 knot winds and 12-foot waves on Friday. On Saturday, southern waves with a solid north wind made for challenging racing - an athletic day for crews - with 20 knot winds and shifts to the east. It was tight racing with 40 of 58 boats finishing within a four-minute period in Race 2. The race committee offered a fourth race and was cheered when the day ended with three. Bruises were shown and tales were told at the end of the day," said Race Officer Rick Lillie.

The third day of sailing Sunday was a challenge with the light, shifty air – "before the breeze set in it was challenging just trying to keep the crew safe and consolidating because of the light shifts today,” said one of the skippers.  Race officers said Sunday’s final day of racing brought south-southwest winds of approximately 8 to 10 knots, and the light air brought some good competition and very close finishes. “Yesterday was a challenge because of the heavy seas, making it an athletic day. Today was a light air day, so finesse and an understanding of the lake were required,” Circle B Race Officer Rick Lillie said. While Circle B was able to get in three races on Sunday, Circle A got in two races, including a five leg race. Circle A Race Officer Tom Keegan said there was a lot of volatility in the fifth race. “Today was more technical and a wind distribution management day. Everyone was all smiles on the upwind finish,” Keegan said.

The eight boat J/111 class had yet another amazing one-design regatta, providing yet again a lot of fun, entertaining racing for the sailors, skippers and tacticians.  Racing was so close that there were four race winners in five races!  One of the crew members remarked after sailing on Saturday, "it was a really windy first day, big waves, north over 20 kts-- but nobody got wet!! We had great planing weather downwind and the sailing was very close."  After finishing last in the 111 class in the Mackinac Race, improving dramatically in the Harbor Springs Ugotta Regatta, it was heart-warming to see past J/109 Champ Lenny Siegal pull a few rabbits out of the hat and ascend to the top of the podium, winning the regatta in his new J/111 LUCKY DUBIE with a 2-4-1-4-1 record for 12 pts, the only boat to win two races in the fleet.  Sailing equally as well were MENTAL and VELOCITY, finishing tied on points only ONE point back from "the DUBSTERS".  Paul Stahlberg's crew on MENTAL started out of the box strong and hung in to win the tie-break with a 1-2-6-1-3 record for 13 pts.  Third was the Annapolis/ Chesapeake Bay team on VELOCITY with Marty Roesch skippering to a steady 4-1-2-2-2-4 record.  Fourth were the Mac Race and Ugotta Regatta winners KASHMIR sailed by the trio of Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson & Mike Mayer with an uncharacteristic 8-5-3-3-2 record for 21 pts.  Rounding out the top five was NIGHTHAWK sailed by Steve Dabrowski with a 3-3-5-8-6 record.

The J/109s saw eight teams sailing with four boats all vying for class honors going into the last race.  It was very close racing indeed!  Working on the "comeback trail strategy" was Kevin Saedi and crew on MOMENTUS, gathering a steady tally of 2-4-3-2-1 to close out the regatta with 12 pts to take first place.  Starting strongly but fading in the end was David Gustman's NORTHSTAR, finishing off with a 3-1-1-3-6 scoreline for 14 pts.  Third was VANDA III sailed by Jack Toliver with 15 pts, fourth was FULL TILT sailed by Peter Priede with 17 pts and fifth was CERTAINLY skippered by Don Meyer with 27 pts.

The J/105 fleet saw eight of the nine boats competing for second place.  Why?  Because it appeared that Blane Shea and crew on STRIKING simply had another gear and a massive dose of "whupass" to smoke their fleet with a scoreline of four 1sts, a 2nd and 3rd for a low point total of only 9 pts.  Vying for second were four boats with the inmates running THE ASYLUM getting second place, led by chief inmate Jon Weglarz.  Their scoreline of 1-2-3-3-1-4 was good enough for 14 pts, pulling away from the pack in the last few races.  Settling for third was HERE'S JOHNNY sailed by John Moore with a steady 3-3-4-2-6-2 score for 23 pts.  Fourth was SEALARK sailed by Clark Pellet with 23 pts and fifth was class veterans Tom & Gyt Petkus sailing VYTIS.  New J/105 owner Sandy Curtiss (a past First 40.7 Champion in Chicago) managed to grab sixth with family crew on ROCKING HORSE!

Holy smokin' hot J/35s!  They're on a "steam-rollin', scorched Earth, take no prisoners" game plan!  Yet again, the J/35s laid waste to their class, sweeping ORR 3 in grand style.  Leading the pack was Larry Schell's TOUCH OF GREY with an amazing 2-2-2-1-1-1-3 for 11 pts.  Just behind was BOZOS CIRCUS sailed by Bruce Metcalf, obliterating the fleet in the beginning with a blistering 1-1-1 picket fence, followed by a 3-3-6 for 15 pts (were they slowed down by the party Saturday night?).  Then, in third was yet another member of the 35 brotherhood, Bill Newman's AFTERSHOCK, sailing to an 11-3-7-2-2-2, finishing strongly to earn 27 pts and a place on the podium.  Of note were fellow J/Sailors Kate & Dennis Bartley sailing their J/30 PLANXTY to 4th place!

In the Offshore Race, third in ORR 1 was the J/133 RENEGADE sailed by Tom Papoutsis.  In ORR 2, 2nd was the J/105 OCH! sailed by Brendon Docherty and 3rd was the J/92 CYCLONE skippered by John Madey.
For more Verve Cup sailing information & results