Blind Championships begin Thursday in Chicago

Published on September 9th, 2015

Chicago, IL (September 9, 2015) – Fourteen teams from four countries are at Chicago Yacht Club for the IFDS Blind World & International Fleet Racing Championship (Sept 10-13). The Windy City was pulling out all the stops for the two practice days preceding the event starting with a torrential downpour followed by rolling waves and 12-18 knots of chilled wind from the north.

This is Team New Zealand’s first time sailing on Lake Michigan, but it is not too different from their experiences back home. “We’ve sailed on lakes in New Zealand. Our biggest lake is only a puddle yet the wave action is quite similar,” said Davey Parker (NZL), main trimmer for the country’s Blind 2 Team. “We just have to keep the boat flat and fast.”

On the other hand, this is not skipper Kris Scheppes’s (USA) first time racing here on the Great Lakes. Scheppe is a Wisconsin native and has raced in the North American Challenge Cup and the 2014 Blind Match Racing Championships both on Lake Michigan. “Being used to the big lake conditions could make a difference for us,” said Scheppe. “Practice was wild and wavy and windy to begin with, which was really good for us. But then it really lightened up for the afternoon.”

The teams have been practicing in moderate conditions, but Day One’s forecast is little to light winds. “There’s a quarter knot of current here that we didn’t expect. That could mean all the difference when sailing into a mark into light conditions,” said Martin Moodey (GBR), tactician for Sharon Grennan.

The Blind 1 and Blind 2 Sections are racing aboard Sonars provided by Chicago Yacht Club and Sail Sheboygan, and the Blind 3 Section is racing on the Chicago Match Race Center’s TOM28s. No modifications are made to the boats or logistics of the regatta.

The Race Committee plans to run four races tomorrow. The course is approximately one mile offshore of Belmont Harbor in Chicago, IL. Racing starts daily at 10:55 A.M. and races are 40 minutes long.

Results and releases will be posted daily on www.chicagoyachtclub.org/blindworlds2015

Report by Morgan Kinney, Communications Director, Chicago Yacht Club

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