Kiwis win finale and US Grand Slam title
Published on September 8th, 2019
The fourth and final event of the USA Grand Slam series had nine teams compete for the Thompson Cup on September 6-8 in Match 40 class yachts. Taking the title was the RNZYS Performance Programme Team Vento Racing with Jordan Stevenson, George Angus, Jake Erson, Mitch Jackson, and RNZYS Sailing Director Laurie Jury.
The kiwi squad were the victors in the shortened series when, after only reaching the end of the second-round robin stage, the breeze completely died meaning Stevenson and his Vento Racing team were crowned champions due to having the most wins (14 wins), one ahead of fellow RNZYS PP Team Knots Racing (13 wins).
The Grand Slam is made up of four match racing events, the Chicago Match Cup, Detroit Cup, Oakcliff International, and the Thompson Cup, with the team with the highest amount points across the four events winning the series.
As a bonus, the winner of the series earns an invitation to the Congressional Cup, the “granddaddy of modern match racing,” which will take place next year in Long Beach, California on April 28 – May 3.
Both Stevenson and Chris Poole were in close contention to win the entire series with Stevenson sealing the overall after Poole finished third in the Thompson Cup. Vento Racing finished 5th at the first event in Chicago, came back strong to win the Detroit Cup, finished 3rd in Oakcliff, and then knocked it out of the park to win the Thompson Cup and the overall US Grand Slam series.
“It’s been a pretty awesome tour and we’ve come a long way since the first event which I think our results show,” said Stevenson. “We started out a bit shaky with a 5th place finish in Chicago but we got better and better as the tour went on. To come out with two regatta wins as well as the overall grand slam title, we are really stoked.”
Stevenson ended the Grand Slam with 265 points overall, with American Chris Poole finishing second on 245 points. Nick Egnot-Johnson finished the Grand Slam in third place with 160 points, an impressive result considering they only competed in the final two events in New York.
This is now the second year in a row a young RNZYS PP team has travelled to America and won the Grand Slam, the pinnacle match racing series in the US, after Nick Egnot-Johnson’s Knots Racing Team won the series in 2018.
Stevenson had nothing but praise for his crew, the regatta organisers, and for the RNZYS:
“I’d really like to thank everyone out on the water, all the judges, and everyone on the race committee boat, not just at this event but at all four events. I’d also like to thank my crew for a really good few weeks over here, as well as Laurie Jury who has come over and sailed with us at these last two events and taught us lot. Lastly I would like to thank the RNZYS for being a cool yacht club back home and allowing us to represent them at these amazing events.”
The Grand Slam Series is a series of four Grade 2 match racing events in the USA in which the overall winner receives an invitation to the 2020 Congressional Cup, the 56th edition of this Grade One match race regatta held in Long Beach, CA. For Notice of Race, click here.