(Chicago, IL)- Sponsored this year by AUDI Chicago and SLAM Weather Gear and hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club, the Verve Cup Offshore regatta took place from August 9th to 11th along the magnificent Chicago city front on the azure blue waters of Lake Michigan.
Despite enormous challenges from the light air weather forecast for the entire weekend, the Chicago YC Race Management team managed to get in a full slate of races all three days on both circles- Course A to the north and Course B to the south. Friday dawned sunny, clear but with little wind. After a slow start compounded by a 3 hour postponement the RC ran three races in a light 5-9 kts southeast sea-breeze along the Chicago shoreline. The prognostications for wind on Saturday were no better, with light northeaster of 5-9 kts filling in after another 2.5 hour postponement, enough for two more races. Sunday again dawned with a gorgeous day and a "harbor hurricane" of 3-5 kts filling in from the northeast. That breeze never filled out from the harbor, with yet another 2 hour postponement before the wind built as a sea-breeze from the ESE at 5-8 kts for two more races.
On Course A were the J/111s and J/109s (whom were also conducting their North Americans-- see above). The nine J/111s that were sailing had most teams using the event as a "practice regatta" for their upcoming J/111 North Americans being held this coming week in Chicago. Making the most of that opportunity was Henry Brauer's team on FLEETWING from Marblehead, MA, managing to avoid the big roller-coaster rides some other teams were experiencing from race to race to take the Verve Cup J/111 class with a 1-2-2-6-1-6-1 scoreline for 19 pts. Starting slowly but ultimately learning the ropes around the course was Marty Roesch's team from Annapolis, MD, posting a 3-8-3-1-2-2-4 for 23 pts and securing the second spot on the podium. Third was local hero Len Siegal from Chicago sailing yet another famous LUCKY DUBIE, managing a relatively consistent 5-6-1-3-4-3-6 for 28 pts. The "Lucky Dubsters" just nipped out fellow rivals Paul Stahlberg from Milwaukee, WI sailing MENTAL into fourth with 29 pts. Another Chicago boat took fifth, Bill Smith's WOOTON with a 34 pts total.
Sailing Course B were the J/105s and ORR Division 3. Their sailing conditions were similar to Course A's, just being further south offshore towards Gary, Indiana (famous for its monstrous US Steel smokestacks-- a.k.a. wind telltales!). Taking top honors in the nine boat J/105 class was SEALARK sailed by Clark Pellet, amassing a very consistent 3-4-2-2-4-2-1 tally for 18 pts. They were followed by past winners Tom & Gyt Petkus on VYTIS, posting a 1-2-5-3-1-3-7 score for 22 pts. Third was HERE'S JOHNNY skippered by John Moore with a roller-coaster record of 9-1-6-1-6-1-2 for a total of 26 pts. Fourth was VALHALLA (Mike & Kathie Newman) with 35 pts and fifth was the notorious THE ASYLUM sailed by Jon Weglarz with 36 pts.
The offshore ORR Division 3 sailed a single long-distance race on Saturday, with the RC sending them all over the map to purgatory and back (there was not much wind in the beginning to get them rolling). Taking top honors in ORR 3 was the J/35 BOZO'S CIRCUS skippered by Bruce Metcalf. They were followed by the J/30 PLANXTY (Kate & Dennis Bartley) in third and the other J/35 TOUCH OF GREY helmed by Larry Schell in fifth.
ORR Offshore 1 class the J/120 JAHAZI sailed by Frank Giampoli was 2nd. And, in ORR Offshore Racing 2 class, the J/105 OCH! sailed by Brendon Docherty was third. Finally, in ORR Offshore Racing 3, the J/92 CYCLONE sailed by John Madey was third in their class, too! Sailing photo credits- Barry Lively For more Verve Cup Offshore Regatta sailing information