(Chicago, IL)- Hot, gusty winds led to challenging conditions and some tight competition as the Verve Cup Inshore Regatta wrapped up the last day of sailing at Chicago Yacht Club’s Belmont Station. Of the 86 boats registered, twenty were J/70s, an impressive turnout for the fleet’s debut year at Verve Inshore. Also participating were an active fleet of five J/24s.
“We had wind eight to 12 knots, typical Chicago southwester. This was the first offshore breeze we’ve had this summer on a race day, which was shocking, and the competition was good,” said Race Officer Janet Baxter. After a solid day of racing on Saturday, Sunday's variable winds made things interesting for both race committee and the competitors.
“We’d have 15 knots followed by seven knots, so it was a little bit challenging to figure out where the racers wanted to be sent – they were all kind of tired from yesterday,” said Race Officer Lynn Lynch. “I would’ve liked some more consistent breezes today, because not all of the runs were as square as they could have been. Yesterday was really, really solid racing – today we had a little bit more breeze, so that was more fun that way. I thought the competition was very tight in some of the fleets.”
“We’re very happy we have the J70 class for the first time,” said Race Co-Chair Jessica Jamieson. “I think the event went very well, we’re getting a lot of positive feedback.”
Taking first in the J/70s was class newcomer Dan Cheresh of Saugatuck, MI with the appropriately named EXTREME; they're extremely great record of 5-3-1-1-7-1 for 18 pts enabled them to run away with top honors in the J/70 class. What was remarkable about Cheresh's performance was that it came against some of the best teams in the J/70 class in the past six months. Taking second was multiple regatta winner Joel Ronning of Minneapolis, MI on the famous CATAPULT; their fast, regatta-winning start of a 1-2-2 followed by a 7-6-11 dropped them into second overall for the regatta. Rounding out third was CLOUDSOURCED, sailed by Ron Copfer of Cleveland, OH with a 3-1-7-5-13-4 record for 33 pts.
The amazing fact about the J/70 fleet was how many brand new owner/teams were amongst the top ten. From third place at 33 pts to tenth place at 54 points were just 20 pts, a race or two here or there would've made an enormous difference for all of these teams. Fourth was another new team near the top, Martin Johnsson's crew on AQUAHOLIKS with a 10-4-5-6-11-2 tally for 38 pts. Next was Joe Woods team from England aboard RED, sailing a consistently better series to score a 9-8-6-10-3-3 for 39 pts, just one point back from 4th. Sailing her heart out was Amy Neill on NITEMARE in her first major regatta ever, sailing in the top five after just four races with a 4-5-10-3 but fading a bit with some of the excitement (or anxiety) with a 12-10 to finish as top women J/70 skipper at sixth overall! Another remarkable statistic about the J/70 fleet one-design racing is that 13 of 20 boats (65% of the fleet) had top five scores in their overall records! Proof again that good starts, good conservative tactics could keep you in the hunt!
The J/24s were given a bit of a "schooling" by one of their colleagues. While no one anticipated a near "chicken scratch" record (e.g. all bullets), the boys on Mark Soya's 2XS nearly pulled it off with a 1-1-1-2-1-2 record. They could, of course, be forgiven for the two blemishes on their record for having a bit of waaaay tooo much fun Saturday night. Who can blame them-- "domination by ruin-ation". Yeah. So, second was Richard Graef's appropriately named DON'T PANIC with a 2-2-2-1-2-1 for a mere 10 pts. Third was Dan Walsh's GOLDRUSH, having to settle for just bronze this time with a 3-3-4-3-3-3 score for a third average for third place and third best record for third overall in the regatta at 19 pts-- were these guy's third all the time?? Next time, we can expect great things from GOLDRUSH! Sailing photo credits- Marc Anderson. For more Verve Cup Inshore sailing information