Wilson wins CMRC GRAND SLAM Qualifier

Published on June 21st, 2015

Chicago, IL (June 21, 2015) – After a three-day series that featured a full range of conditions and racing among ten teams from five nations, it was CMRC’s own Don Wilson who emerged on top to win the CMRC GRAND SLAM Qualifier. By winning this ISAF Grade 2 event, Wilson gets two automatic invitations to the Grade 2 US GRAND SLAM events: Chicago Match Cup and the Manhasset Bay Match Race for the Knickerbocker Cup in August.

Don Wilson’s team for the week was Keith Swinton, Maggie Shea, Sam Rogers and sister Jen Wilson.

Today’s racing conditions started in a perfect 9-knot northwesterly, but then became tricky as it shifted to the east, then settled in and built up to 14-15 knots from the southeast. The gear-shifting conditions suited Wilson and his team who have spent several years training and racing in the TOM 28.

Coming into the morning’s remaining flights of the Quarter-Finals, Wilson had David Storrs on the ropes with a 2-1 score, and managed to defeat the top-ranked team in the competition in the fourth match to advance to the Semi-Finals, while all other Quarter-Final pairings extended their battles into the fifth matches.


Tight mark rounding action in the Final round

Nathan Hollerbach was down 1-2 to Will Bailey and fought the young US Virgin Islander back to win the next two matches and take his place in the Final Four. Steven Lowery’s team, who was skippered by Rory Lewis after Lowery suffered a back injury and had to withdrawal, also clawed back and overtook Peter Holz in their Quarter-Final matches.

In the first-to-two point Semi-Final pairing with Hollerbach, Wilson won the first, Hollerbach the second, and Wilson the third to advance to the Finals. All three races were tight and neither boat had more of a two-boat length lead. In the other Semi-Final match, Lewis battled Chris Poole, who sat out racing yesterday after he won the round robin and guaranteed his spot in the Semi-Finals. Poole’s early edge came out again in his Semi-Finals against Lewis when he won the series 2-0.

Hollerbach ahead of Wilson in downwind battle

Hollerbach ahead of Wilson in downwind battle

Wilson gathered significant momentum in the Semi-Finals and came out swinging in the Finals. The breeze died to a weak and finicky 3-6 knot southerly for this first-to-two point series. At the first start Poole was over the starting line early with a penalty. Although he chipped away at Wilson’s lead, Poole never got closer than 3 boat lengths.

Poole then got a penalty again in the second start, and passed Wilson on the final run but never extended quite enough distance to complete the penalty turn and take the win at the finish line, so the series went to Wilson 2-0. With the reduced 6 team format, Poole’s top seed was a double edged sword: the team had Saturday off to relax, but struggled to get up to speed in the light conditions on Sunday…game, set, match to Wilson.


Team Wilson: left to right Maggie Shea, Jen Wilson, Keith Swinton, Don Wilson (not shown: Sam Rogers)

In the single-match Petit-Finals, Hollerbach swiftly defeated Steven Lowery’s team skippered by Rory Lewis to take home third place.

CMRC GRAND SLAM Qualifier, Final results:
Don Wilson
Chris Poole
Nathan Hollerbach
Rory Lewis (substitute skipper for injured Steve Lowery)
Will Bailey
Peter Holz
David Storrs
Nick Kroeger
Augustin Montes
Colman O’Riordan

Finals, first-to-two points:

Don Wilson 2
Chris Poole 0

Petite Final, first to one point:
Nathan Hollerbach 1
Rory Lewis 0

Semi-Finals, first to two points:
Don Wilson 2
Nathan Hollerbach 1

Chris Poole 2
Rory Lewis 0

Quarter-Finals, after three matches:

Peter Holz 2
Rory Lewis 3

Will Bailey 2
Nathan Hollerbach 3

Don Wilson 3
David Storrs 1

Detailed results can be found here.

Additional information at www.chicagomatchrace.com.

Report by Dobbs Davis. Photos by Isao Toyama/CMRC.

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