Thursday, September 3, 2015

REACH AROUND Crowned J/70 Great Lakes Champ

J/70 women's sailing team- NORGIRLS in Chicago AQUAHOLIKS Top Corinthians, 3rd Overall Too!
(Chicago, IL)- The annual Verve Inshore Regatta weekend got an early start as fourteen J/70s began their Great Lakes Championship Friday morning with uncertain conditions in the forecast. “We started the day off in six knots of wind at 10:30 this morning and the wind shifted over to the southeast to about nine knots,” said Chicago YC’s PRO Rick Lillie. “We were able to get four square races off today with only a few adjustments.”

Even before racing started there was a shift when NORBOY transitioned to “NORGIRL”! During practice on Thursday, NORBOY’s owner Leif Sigmond was injured after a rough round up and a dip into the storm-cooled waters of Lake Michigan. Not wanting to drop out of the event, Sigmond quickly brought in Sarah Renz as a substitute skipper to round out his all-star team of fellow Chicago Yacht Club members including his wife Laura Sigmond, Melissa Grim and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Stephanie Roble!

J/70 Reach Around sailing Chicago Verve CupLeading at the end of four races was Thomas Bowen’s REACH AROUND from Charleston, SC.  REACH AROUND is a two-year-old husband-wife program that ranked top 10 in the three top events of the 2015 winter circuit — Key West Race Week, Miami Sailing Week and Charleston Race Week. It is their first event on freshwater. Racing with REACH AROUND was Quantum Sails J/70 specialist Marty Kullman. “We have been sailing together long enough that we all know each other pretty well and react to each other,” said Kullman. “A team that sails together a lot is just in a better situation.”

Local J/70 veteran John Heaton’s EMPEIARIA was sitting in a close second and improved their finishes with each race taking off one boat at a time, moving from fourth to first. Heaton agreed that teamwork and time in the boat together is the key to success. “Our team took a little while to gel today, but it all came together for the last race. We got off the line well, had good tactical decisions, the boat was fast and we put together a complete race and won it by quite a bit,” Heaton said. “It was a good race.”

J/70s sailing off Chicago, ILAfter two more days of racing, Bowen’s REACH AROUND posted all top three finishes to win the regatta with 16 pts.  Heaton’s EMPEIRIA also maintained their second position over the weekend with mostly top three races in their scoreline.  Behind them, it was a real battle for the balance of the top five and, especially, the third spot on the podium.

As the Corinthian J/70 Great Lakes Champion, Martin Johnsson’s AQUAHOLIKS gang sailed consistently and even won a race enroute to securing the third spot.  Just behind them, 4th and 5th were determined by a tiebreak between Trey Sheehan’s FLAT STANLEY/ HOOLIGAN RACING and the Laura Sigmond’s women’s team sailing NORGIRL!  In the end, FLAT STANLEY won the tiebreak on 40 pts while the ladies on NORGIRL had to settle for 5th place.  The NORGIRL team was also the top Women’s team.  Second in Corinthians and second women’s skipper was Amy Neill’s NITEMARE from Chicago YC and third Corinthians was Ryan Foley’s JOHNNY UTAH.  For more J/70 Great Lakes/ Verve Cup Inshore sailing information