Grade 2 Grand Slam Event in Chicago

Published on August 18th, 2016

Chicago, IL (August 18, 2016) – Chicago Yacht Club will welcome eight teams from five different countries to compete in the Chicago Grand Slam, the second stop on the three-event US Grade 2 Grand Slam Series, August 21-23. The circuit began last weekend in Long Island, NY at the Oakcliff International and the US Grand Slam Champion will be crowned next weekend at Bayview Yacht Club’s Detroit Cup.

Chicago Yacht Club’s partnership with Chicago Match Race Center has delivered an incredible inaugural season so far. The weekly match racing practices have been oversubscribed, and the yacht club is excited to co-host its first-ever Grade 2 international regatta. Additionally, Gosling’s Rum has signed on as the Official Rum Sponsor of the event.

Now in its sixth edition, the US Grand Slam attracts some of the best up-and-coming talent from around the world, and has historically been a stepping-stone for teams to launch to the top level of the World Match Racing Tour. This year’s US Grand Slam series winner will earn a coveted invitation to the oldest match racing trophy in the US, Long Beach Yacht Club’s Congressional Cup. The stacked roster of US Grand Slam winners includes Chicago Yacht Club member, Taylor Canfield, whose US One Sailing Team currently sits atop the World Sailing match racing rankings.

2011 – Laurie Jury, NZL
2012 – Taylor Canfield, ISV
2013 – Nicolai Sehested, DEN
2014 – Pierre Antoine Morvan, FRA
2015 – Sam Gilmour, AUS

This weekend’s field of competitors is the most competitive and diverse group of match racers that Chicago will feature this summer, with six of the eight skippers competing ranked top 50 in the World Sailing match racing rankings.

The competitor roster of the 2016 Chicago Grand Slam includes five teams that competed at the Oakcliff International last weekend, four of which will carry on to the final event in Detroit.

David Storrs, USA – Pequot Racing Team. World ranking: 13th
Storrs is the highest ranked skipper this weekend and the defending champion of the 2016 Chicago Grand Slam. Over the past few years, Storrs has been a regular competitor at CMRC regattas, and steadily climbed the world rankings. However, the event’s transition into CYC’s fleet of Sonars this year may diminish some of the advantage Storrs used to have being so skilled in CMRC’s fleet of TOM28s. Regardless, with his strong fourth place finish last weekend at the Oakcliff International, many regatta wins under his belt on Chicago waters and strong team of Chris Steele and Shane Diviney, Storrs will be a favorite to watch.

Harry Price, AUS – Down Under Racing. World ranking: 14th
The Down Under Racing Team hails from Sydney, AUS and was formed in early 2015. Their roster includes core team members Harry Price (skipper), Murray Jones (trim) and Ben Robinson (bowman). With all crew members under the age of 23, the team is ranked impressively high for their age – fourteenth in the world. At home, they have dominated the recent youth events in Australia: 1st at the 2015 Musto; 1st at the Harken Youth International events (Sydney, Aus), 1st 2015 Australian Youth Nationals, 2nd 2016 Youth Match Racing Worlds and 4th at the 2016 50th Annual Governor’s Cup at Balboa Yacht Club. This young team has their eyes set on the 2017 WMRT.

Jeremy Koo, MAS – Sime Derby Foundation, Koo Racing Team. World ranking: 21st
Jeremy Koo is Malaysia’s number one match racer, having won the Malaysian Match Race National Championship five times in the last decade. He has also competed as a skipper five times in the WMRT’s Monsoon Cup. Koo just finished a solid second place at the Oakcliff International, where he just barely lost the finals in a five-race, first-to-three point match up against US’s Christohpe Killian. Koo is looking to keep that momentum going this weekend and make it to the top of the podium.

Peter Holz, USA – Windy City Racing. World ranking: 30th
Peter Holz grew up sailing in Chicago Yacht Club’s junior sailing program, and then in college worked as an intern at the Chicago Match Race Center where he fell in love with match racing. Holz has been one of the most active match racers in the country from the Chicago area, and CYC is proud of his home-grown talent. Holz did not make an appearance on the US Grand Slam last year, but sailed in other CMRC events and at points has defeated both David Storrs and Steven Lowery (two event favorites) on the Chicago waters in the past year.

Steven Lowery, USA – Shadow Racing. World ranking: 32nd
Steve Lowery’s team Shadow Racing is a local favorite, and having logged more hours in the Sonars than any other team, they will likely be difficult to beat this weekend. Lowery’s familiarity with Lake Michigan is evident in his long history of strong regatta performances on his home waters. Last season alone, Shadow Racing qualified for the Semi-Finals in six out of seven events they sailed on Lake Michigan, including a second place finish at the Richardson Trophy in Sonars. Despite Chicago being Lowery’s sole appearance on the US Grand Slam this year, Shadow Racing will likely have an edge and be hard to beat.

Connor Miller, GBR. Rascal Racing. World ranking: 48th.
Chicago Yacht Club Match Race team is the beginning of CYC’s team race and match race program which allows for members to train and to race under Chicago’s prestigious name. Miller’s usual team, Rascal Racing, has primarily competed on the collegiate circuit in Great Britain, with their biggest focus on the British University Games, which they won in 2015 and 2016. This weekend Miller will skipper a team crewed by coaches of the CYC Summer program, with Isaac Clark, head coach of Chicago Yacht Club and Mark Davies, former junior member and student of Northwestern University.

Hector Guzman, MEX.
Hector Guzman JR will be competing with his father Hector Guzman SR (main trim) and new teammate Aisling Sullivan (bow). Guzman’s father has been his coach and mentor for the better part of his sailing career coaching at three Opti Worlds and travellng to more than 10 countries together for international regattas. When Guzman grew out of Optis, his father became his Laser coach. They now race on their J/70 and do a little Farr 40 sailing together. Aisling Sullivan, a local CYC junior sailor, is a new member to the team for the event. She just returned from a month of sailing on the east coast with the CYC squad. She recently earned the Fox trophy for the best junior woman sailor.

James Wagner, USA.
Wagner is a local standout junior sailor from CYC program, about to start his senior year at Walter Peyton High School. This event will be James’ debut as a skipper on the match racing circuit, but he has crewed several times including the Rose Cup this past summer. Wagner represented CYC in the 2016 Chubb Smythe Laser. This weekend he is sailing with his father, Dave Wagner, who is an experienced match racer and J70 and Spencer Keenan, who is another standout junior sailor.

CYC’s Race Committee will be led by PRO Darcy Cook, Dick Schweers, Jay Kehoe and Alina Dix. They intend to run two round robins, followed by a knock-out series. Racing will begin each day at 1000 and the race course will be on Lake Michigan just outside Belmont Harbor.

Event WebsiteResults

Source: Morgan Kinney, Chicago Yacht Club

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