First win for Poole at Oakcliff
Published on August 30th, 2021
Oyster Bay, NY (August 30, 2021) – Chris Poole and his Riptide Racing team were crowned winners of the 2021 Oakcliff International, held August 26-30. Poole is a regular Oakcliff International skipper but this was his first win. It is especially significant as the third event of the U.S. Grand Slam Series, which is a new part of the World Match Racing Tour, marking a return to truly international events.
After four days of racing Match 40s in a mixed bag of conditions, Aurelien Pierroz, representing France, came in second place, while long-time match racer Peter Holz from Chicago rounded out the podium with his team Windy City Racing in the fleet of ten teams.
In the first-to-three finals Pierroz drew first blood, but Poole was able to pull ahead of the French team winning three straight matches to take the title. Poole’s home field advantage showed on the course sailing consistently faster all day. “It was a new team, but we managed to have good boatspeed and communication,” said Poole. “We kept our heads out of the boat and stayed fast.”
Throughout the event, racing was close and the international competition was fierce. A number of top-ranked racers in attendance including two teams from the U.K. skippered by Ted Blowers and James Pinder, as well as an Italian team skippered by Rocco Attili.
A team from New Zealand, led by Alastair Gifford, came to the Oakcliff International hot off back-to-back victories in the first two events of the Grand Slam series in Chicago and Detroit, but he wasn’t able to dial in the Match 40s in time to advance from the round robin to semifinals.
“It was really tough competition this week, and the format was very challenging since we lost a boat on Saturday,” said Poole. “But the race committee did a phenomenal job adapting and keeping everything moving along.” One boat was taken out of rotation after being damaged, shrinking the fleet to seven boats for ten teams.
“As a race organizer we are very grateful to everyone that helped pull off this event, but also to the teams for having the faith and perseverance to travel”, commented Organizing Authority Patrick Burks. The French, Italian, and British teams all obtained special national interest exemptions to travel to the U.S. and compete in The Oakcliff International. “It feels like a very big step back towards normalcy,” added Burks.
Later this week, most of the Oakcliff International competitors will also compete in the Thompson Cup, which is the fourth and final event of the US Grand Slam Series. It will be hosted by Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in Oakcliff Match 40s.
The Oakcliff International is a part of the US Grand Slam Series, which is included on the World Match Racing Tour for the first time in the Tour’s 20-year history. The winner of the 2021 US Grand Slam earns a spot at the 2022 Congressional Cup.
2021 Grand Slam Series:
August 6-8: The Chicago Cup – Chicago YC – Tom 28
August 19-22: International Match Race for the Detroit Cup – Bayview YC – Ultimate 20
August 27-30: Oakcliff International – Oakcliff Sailing – Match 40
September 1-4: The Thompson Cup – Seawanhaka Corinthian YC – Match 40
For information on Grand Slam Series, click here.
Source: Lisa Pline, Oakcliff Sailing