Grand Slam Series moves to Detroit

Published on August 20th, 2018

Competitive international match race sailing comes to the Detroit River once again in the 11th annual edition of the 2018 Detroit Cup, held over August 23-26 in Detroit, MI. For each of the four days of the event, ten teams from Australia, New Zealand, and the USA will do battle in equally-matched Ultimate 20 sportboats on the spectator-friendly waterfront of the event host, Bayview Yacht Club.

The Detroit Cup is the second of four stages on the USA GRAND SLAM series, a string of four consecutive match race regattas ranked at a Grade 2 level by World Sailing and held in Chicago, Detroit, and New York’s Long Island Sound. The winning team scored in all four events receives an invitation to the only Grade 1 event in the USA, the venerable Congressional Cup held in Long Beach, CA.

The teams competing for the Detroit Cup this year include the following:

– Will Boulden and his team of Josh Wijohn and Taylor Blaugh from Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth, West Australia comes to Detroit Cup with the highest Open Ranking from World Sailing at 16th in the world. He and his team competed in 2017 and finished a respectable third place, and last weekend in Chicago finished in fifth place at the Chicago Grand Slam, the opening event in the USA GRAND SLAM series.

– Ranked 6th in World Sailing’s Women’s Ranking List, Clare Constanzo and her team of Jess Angus, Hannah Lanz and Ruby Scholten are entered representing Royal Prince Alfred YC in Newport on the east coast of Australia. Their high ranking reflects success in winning this year’s Hardy Cup at home and results from several overseas match race events as well, making them the highest-ranked women’s team in Australia.

– At 26th in the World Sailing Open Rankings, Pearson Potts and his Yankee Creole Racing team of Max Lopez and Jeremy Macan is returning to Detroit Cup having earned a 4th place finish last year here at Bayview and being last year’s US Match Racing Champions. The team is based in Newport, Rhode Island and regularly competes and trains in a variety of boat types to hone their skills for the GRAND SLAM events, where they have made a strong start to this year’s edition with a win earned last weekend at the Chicago Grand Slam, the first regatta in the series.

– Chris Poole and his Riptide Racing team of Marcus Edegren and Patrick Norris will be returning to the Detroit Cup after a fifth-place finish last year, but a strong runner-up showing at last weekend’s Chicago Grand Slam. He is ranked 29th in the Open Rankings and hails from Seawanhaka Corinthian YC in Oyster Bay, NY.

– Finn Tapper is ranked 52nd in World Sailing’s Open Rankings and will be leading his team from the Cruising Club of Australia to his first entry at the Detroit Cup. However, his mainsail trimmer Harry Price and bowman Cameron Seagreen were the champions in the last two editions of the Detroit Cup, and they earned a respectable 4th place finish last weekend in Chicago.

– James Wilson from the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and a subset of his travel team squad of Marco Hull, Dingo, Logan Andresen, and Tim Snedden will be competing at his first Detroit Cup as well. The team struggled last weekend in Chicago, but has been turning in solid scores to events on the international youth match racing circuit, and are thus ranked 62nd in the World Open Rankings.

– Another crew of Kiwis from RNZYS is the KNOTS Racing team skippered by Nick Egnot-Johnson, sailing with Sam Barnett and Zak Merton. All are veteran sailors in Olympic classes, Nick in the 49er and Sam and Zak in 470s, and currently this relatively new team is ranked 106 in the World Rankings.

– A young team of former high school sailors have formed the Pickle Rick Racing team representing Chicago YC, with William Curtiss as skipper, RJ Porter trimming and Wade Wagner on the bow. Curtiss and Porter are students at the College of Charleston, winners of the Fowle Trophy for intercollegiate sailing excellence in 2016 and 2017. This team also got 4th place in last year’s Chicago Grand Slam, and a respectable 6th place at the same event last weekend.

– Representing Bayview YC and last year’s runner-up in the Detroit Cup, Ryan Seago returns with a crew of experienced D Cup veterans: Matt Graham and Chris Cyr. They have versatility in having competed as both skippers and as crew, so while their World Open Ranking is 124th, they will have potency in the Ultimate 20’s at this venue.

– Also representing Bayview is Will Cyr, who is also a veteran of numerous past D Cups, and at one time was the top-ranked Youth match racer in the USA. He’s teamed up with another experienced match racer from Detroit, bowman Matthew Declercq, and newcomer Timmy Dickey on sail trim.

“We’re really pleased with the strong field of ten teams we’ve assembled this year for the Detroit Cup,” said event chairman Lance Smotherman of Bayview YC. “Our fleet of Ultimate 20’s have had a significant renovation this past season and are in fantastic shape for four hard days of match racing. We really appreciate the support we have had from the club to keep this event as one of the best in the US for international match race sailing.”

Not only is Smotherman the chairman of the event, but he is working with Chief Umpire Tom Rinda and an assembled team of eight umpires from the USA, Canada, Germany and New Zealand.

Racing will run on courses set by Principal Race Officer Becky Ashburn and her team for an event format that emphasizes multiple round robins to maximize racing for all teams.

Live analysis and commentary on-site will be provided from veteran match race commentator Dobbs Davis, USA Editor of Seahorse Magazine.

Event detailsResults

Winning Skippers, Detroit Cup:
2017 – Harry Price (AUS)
2016 – Harry Price (AUS)
2015 – Sam Gilmour (AUS)
2014 – Pierre-Antoine Morvan (FRA)
2013 – David Gilmour (AUS)
2012 – Josh Junior (NZL)
2011 – Jordan Reece (AUS)
2010 – Dave Perry (USA)
2009 – Anna Tunicliffe (USA)
2008 – Simon Minoprio (NZL)

The 8th edition of the Grand Slam Series brings together four Grade 2 match racing events in 2018, offering a compact circuit in August and September to attract top ranked foreign sailors to the U.S. and provide North American match racers with high level competition. Additionally, the winner of the series gets an invitation to the 2019 Congressional Cup, the only World Sailing Grade One Match Race event in the USA.

2018 Grand Slam Series:
August 17-19 – Chicago (Chicago YC – Sonars)
August 24-26 – Detroit (Bayview YC – Ultimate 20s)
Sept 6-9 – Oyster Bay, NY (Oakcliff Sailing – Match 40s)
Sept 11-15 – Oyster Bay, NY (Seawanhaka Corinthian YC – Match 40s)

Grand Slam Series – Overall Results

Source: Dobbs Davis

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