Less than optimal wind conditions for 2014 North American Challenge Cup

Published on August 4th, 2014

Chicago, IL (August 4, 2014) – The Chicago Yacht Club’s North American Challenge Cup (NACC) 2014 final day of racing took place today, and in spite of light to non-existent winds in the morning, was able to complete three races for both fleets for a good day of racing to conclude the three-day regatta.

Monday morning started out with little to no winds — almost a repeat of the poor weather conditions from Sunday — when the Race Committee was only able to complete one race due to shifting winds and then winds totally shutting down. At 9:30 a.m. Monday, the Race Committee flew the AP flag onshore, signaling their intent to postpone racing until winds were strong enough and consistent enough to justify getting suited up and headed out to the race course for sailing. There is a famous Chicago saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.” Well it was more like wait an hour, but the winds started to fill in enough, the AP flag was lowered and the sailors were off to the races.

The Race Committee was able to quickly head out on the lake and set up a race course with winds coming out of the East from 4 – 6 knots. The 2013 first place team of Ken Kelly and Bob Jones won the first race in the Freedom 20 class and the Warrior Sailing team of Steve Hammer, with crew Kathy Champion and a substitute crew for Aqeel Shhaib, won in the Sonar class, leading the fleet for the entire race. The Race Committee quickly got off the second race of the day, and as the winds clocked around to ESE the “C” flag was flown at the leeward mark signaling a new course for the second weather leg. They say local knowledge helps pay off in changing wind conditions, and local (Arlington Heights) sailors Bonnie Everhart and Dan Danaher played the shifts well and won the second race in the Freedom 20s. In the Sonar class the other Warrior Sailing team of Chris Livesay with Scott Ford and local Chicago sailor John Powell filling in for RJ Anderson pulled off a win.

The winds continued to pick up and after a quick break on-the-water for lunch, the Race Committee started the final race of the day with winds shifted 15 degrees back towards the east and wind speed clocking in at 6 – 9 knots. As the race progressed, the winds shifted a bit back towards ESE and once again the Race Committee was forced to change course, with the by now familiar “C” flag flown at the leeward mark signaling a new course for the second weather leg. The sailors completed the third race amidst a downpour of rain, accompanied by a few rumbles of thunder. Ashley Lauren Fisher, from Morristown, NJ and her substitute crew member Matthew Smith pulled off the win in the Freedom 20 class, and in the Sonars, the Warrior Sailing team that won the first race of the day pulled off another win in the final race of the series, with Peter Goldman substituting for Steve Hammer. In the final day of racing, Warrior Sailing teams won all of the three races in the Sonar class, not bad for sailors new to sailing, much less sailboat racing. The two-day Training Boot Camp really paid off for the Warrior Sailing teams.

The NACC regatta ended up with a total of eight races in the Sonar fleet, and seven races in the Freedom 20 fleet, an admirable accomplishment given the less than optimal wind conditions throughout the three days of racing. The Freedom 20 fleet had five boats competing this year, and first place was a battle between the seasoned sailing duo of Ken Kelly and Bob Jones and the younger team of Gary Pierce and Zak Kordik. Ken Kelly from Royal Victoria Yacht Club and Bob Jones from Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle captured first place with a total point score of 10 and were awarded the American Eagle Trophy. Bob and Ken had previously won the Freedom class in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Only two points behind in second place were local Chicago sailors Gary Pierce and Zak Kordik with 12 points, and another local team of Bonnie Everhart and Dan Danaher came in third with 16 points.

The Sonar fleet had five boats, with a mix of teams running the gamut from a seasoned crew that has raced together for a number of years, all the way to teams of relative newcomers to sailing and sailboat racing. Patrik Norstrom, from Boras, Sweden, with local Chicago crew members Will Howard and Sandy Stone won the Sonar class with a score of 12 points and were awarded the Judd Goldman Trophy. Local Chicago sailor Bridget Bodo with Chicagoan Katherine Rohan and Mouad Yousef from Cleveland came in second place with 17 points, and another local Chicago team of Patrick LoDuca, Chris Martin and Ralph Brooks came in third with a point score of 19, only two points separating them from the second place team.

Steve Hammer, skipper of one of the Warrior Sailing Program teams, was awarded the Pete Paganis Trophy for Sportsmanship, and Ashley Lauren Fisher from Morristown, NJ was awarded the Marcy Gorov Memorial Rookie of the Year Trophy.

In addition to three solid days of racing, the event was kicked-off by a pre-race clinic and on-the-water practice sessions and boat tuning led by lead US Sailing/Sperry Topsider Paralympic coach Betsy Alison, with support from Hunter Ratliff, head sailing coach and director of Marine operations at Lake Forest Sailing (Lake Forest, IL). Lee Icyda and Ben Poucher were the coaches for the Warrior Sailing teams. Dick Schweers and Don Glasell were the Race Officers for the event, and Sam Veilleux served as Chief Judge, with Dennis Bartley, Ted Jones and Jerry Thomas serving on the Judges Panel.

The NACC event has had a long history of very generous sponsors who continue to support this event over the past twenty plus years. In recognition for their key role in this regatta, Chicago Yacht Club named the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation (JGASF) as its 2014 co-host. JGASF/JGASP provides the sailboats for the competitors, as well as on-the-water support staff and equipment. Cook-Illinois Corp. has provided the sailors with bus transportation throughout the four-day event, plus transit both to and from the airport for a total of six days of bus service. Chicago Yacht Club Foundation is another key sponsor for the event providing financial support to underwrite the cost of the Winner’s Dinner, the Sunday grill party, as well as lunches throughout the four days for all the sailors, coaches, support teams and volunteers. Additional sponsors for this year’s regatta are Chicago Match Race Center, who provides the regatta with coach boats, White Lodging Hotels/Triplex Downtown Chicago River North as the hotel sponsor, Carol’s Cookies, Chicago Park District, Crowley’s Yacht Yard, and Weather Routing, Inc.

By Ann L Rundle, NACC Chair

About Chicago Yacht Club
The Chicago Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most respected yacht clubs in the world. Today, the club boasts a membership of nearly 1,500 boating enthusiasts and is one of the preeminent organizers of regattas, races and predicted-log events in the United States. The club offers an array of spectacular off-the-water amenities, including fine dining and full-service catering at both its Monroe and Belmont stations. “A tradition of yachting excellence” is a fitting description of a club that has dedicated itself to promoting the sport and perpetuating the values of camaraderie and community since 1875. Learn more at chicagoyachtclub.org.


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