J/70s Kick Off Verve Inshore Regatta

Published on August 21st, 2015

Chicago, IL (August 21, 2015) – The annual Verve Inshore Regatta weekend got an early start as 14 J/70s began their Great Lakes Championship this 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 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.

Leading at the end of four races is 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 is 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 Empeiria is 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.”

The J/70s will be joined by the Etchells, Colgate 26, Rhodes 19 and Viper 640 fleets for racing on Saturday and Sunday.

Event detailsJ/70 resultsPhotos

Source: Morgan Kinney, Chicago Yacht Club

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