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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

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The aftermath of the Mackinac Race wreck of the chartered 1D48 WhoDo shows a heck of a lot more damage than just a mangled rudder post; we don’t yet know how much of the blown out bow above and the torn off rudder was part of the sinking, damage from the wave action on the bottom, or salvage damage, but it’s nasty!  SA’er ‘blunted’, sailing aboard the mighty Melges 30 Peerless, said there were ‘things available to hit on the field’. “We passed at last one 4-5′ long log, that was 14″ in diameter. That would have had our rudder akimbo had we hit it at the speed we were going at the time.

All involved in the WhoDo mess would’ve likely wished she sank in the 200 feet of fresh water she sat in when SA’er ‘peacefrog’ and the crew of the C&C 30 CityGirl made the rescue; as it was, Whodo later drifted in and settled on one of the few shallow spots on a deep stretch of Michigan coast and came to rest with half her mast in the air.  After an airbag lift, she was towed inScreen Shot 2016-07-29 at 4.45.59 PMto the Michigan shore and now sits in Harbor Springs.

For a very, very rare look at a fresh catch of sailors straight after a rescue, check Russell Madsen’s video from City Girl.  Very cool shit and well done to all!

Thanks to SA’er M54Kings for the photo above, with more aftermath shots in the thread here.  Here’s a link to some local media on the rescue and more.

 

 

July 29th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

A YUUUUGE thank you to the more than 300 of you who attended the 9th Winter Anarchy drunk-a-thon at the Bottom Lounge last weekend, and to the dozens of volunteers, sponsors, and of course Morgan Kinney for putting it all together.  We’re proud of the roughly $7000 you all raised for the Skin Cancer Foundation, and we’re even prouder that we found a way to help an important cause a little bit while having a good time with great people and giving away some creative and awesome prizes.  We’ll have important news for the 10th Anniversary of Winter Anarchy in the next few weeks; whether you’re a sponsor or a partygoer, you most definitely will not want to miss it.

There are still a few Special Edition 2016 Winter Anarchy tees left; if you pick one up before Monday, Morgan will throw in a new SA alloy buckle belt with it.  All profits go to Skin Cancer Foundation.

Show Off

Key West and Chicago’s Strictly Sail show were the industry’s ‘must attend’ winter events for years.  The boat show, though, wishes it only contracted by the third that Race Week did over the same period of time.  Plagued by America’s general move away from boat shows and an expensive show at logistically difficult Navy Pier, Chicago’s big event moved last year away from downtown, becoming the tiny third wheel in the ironically named ‘Chicago Boat, RV, and Strictly Sail Show‘ at the huge McCormick Place convention center.

The sailboat industry was, quite literally, a side show, and few vendors had any optimism at all about making any kind of money there.  It remains a convenient spot for many industry workers to work out deals and check in with far-flung friends, but with fewer exhibitors than ever, there aren’t many out-of-towners coming in anymore.

For locals, it’s another story; a great excuse to break up the coldest part of the winter with a few drinks and a peek at the few interesting things there; the full J line up, relatively new dinghies from Melges and RS, and a few bits of hardware and software scattered around.  Area Yacht Clubs were looking for members and promoting their races, while a few MCSA university teams showed up to find supporters and recruit sailors.  But the show was dominated by the ACWS Chicago booth that was loaded with the baubles and trinkets to suck almost any sailor in.  VR goggles with the full AC45 onboard experience loaded in, a one-on-one match race game complete with carbon wheels, and even a long line to take your selfie with the real America’s Cup, which somehow managed to look gaudy even against the backdrop of a tiki bar set on a fake beach under a plastic palm tree to the sound of a live Jimmy Buffet impersonator.

Don Wilson’s ACWS organizing group included a diverse mix of volunteers doing their best to spread the message, and heavily discounted tickets seemed to be selling at a brisk pace.  It’s a very different place from Newport, but the pride amongst many local sailors that an America’s Cup(ish) event was coming to town reminded me of Rhode Islanders just before the Volvo.  Will the windy city turn out 130,000 fans for the ACWS like Newport did for Brad Read’s Volvo?  Not a chance.  But if the weather doesn’t make a complete mockery of the silly two-day format again, the event could easily hit her smaller targets and be considered a home run by AC teams, hospitality sponsors, and the City.  There’s also another reason to go: It could be the last time anything like it sees freshwater.  Alternatively, it could be the pioneer event that opened Chicago to inshore racing’s upper echelons.  It’s no secret that Wilson has big aspirations in the sport, and both his passion for racing and his bank balance are both off the charts.  That’s a potent combination that’s brought the billionaire commodities trading genius plenty of success on Melges 24s, Farr 40s, and match racing boats, and last week Wilson helmed his M32 cat to victory in Bermuda against three pro helmsmen.  Could we see a Chicago America’s Cup team some time in the next decade?  Sure.  And you can say you knew them way back in 2016.

My trademark Mr. Clean shaky cam footage of the boat show is below.

Spreader-level overview of the show

Lightning Round look at new stuff

Should you make plans for the ACWS-Chicago?

 

January 22nd, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 10.57.29 AMNo joke, folks – we’re giving away more than $5000 in gear and prizes to all you brave folks coming over to the ninth-annual Winter Anarchy party tonight at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago!  This is no crappy swag, either, and your $30.00 ticket ($25.00 with invitation available at Strictly Sail) includes one chance to win any one of the dozens of awesome items we’re giving away.  Your ticket also buys you ALL YOU CAN DRINK MOUNT GAY BLACK N’ STORMIES (From 9 pm to 10 pm ONLY) and awesome Anchor Lager from San Francisco until three big kegs run out (usually somewhere after 11:00).

ALL PROCEEDS go to a cause we can all relate to as outdoor athletes – the Skin Cancer Foundation. If you can’t attend but want to help, buy some of the Winter Anarchy 2016 limited edition men and ladies tees from our online store. Pics of past events are here.

Free beer, free rum, incredible giveaways, and tons of great girls and guys from all over the world to hang with.  You can even meet the infamous Mr. Clean, and if that’s not enough, here’s the list of swag we’re raffling off at 10:45 PM.  You must be present to win, and you can buy more raffle tickets to help your chances when you get to the party (if we have any left).

  • 6″x20″ Signed Matt Knighton Volvo Ocean Race Print
  • AUTHENTIC Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Musto MPX Jacket
  • Rossi Milev custom carbon fiber wallet/money clip
  • $500 Sea Hawk Paints Gift Certificate
  • $250 Sea Hawk Paints Gift Certificate
  • Helly Hansen HP Lake Jacket
  • Helly Hansen Crew Midlayer Jacket
  • Helly Hansen Prize Pack Including: HP 1/2 Zip Pullover, VTR L/S Tee & Beanie
  • Choice of Verve Cup Registration, CMRC at CYC Match Racing Membership OR Registration to Session 1 Youth Sailing School at Chicago Yacht Club
  • Two Crew School Registrations & Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club Prize Packs
  • Sailing Anarchy Prize Packs
  • Mount Gay Rum Full Zip Hoodie & Rum Barrel
  • … AND MORE!

 

January 15th, 2016 by admin

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We opened our Youtube digest this morning and saw this video pop up, and it took our breath away.  Not because it’s great – though it is – but because it’s the sailing media’s version of a unicorn: An AC promo that doesn’t suck! When we did some digging, we found out why: Rather than the budget-cut shit from the AC media folks that occasionally floats across a Facebook timeline, this one comes from Don Wilson and his CMRC team, and they tapped the talents of the overall 2015 Volvo Ocean Race OBR winner Matt Knighton to produce it.

It’s a sign that Chicago won’t let the incompetence of the ACEA get in the way of what we predict will be the shining gem in the otherwise snoozy and unfollowed ACWS; the 2016 qualifiers in Chicago.  Wilson doesn’t fuck around, and neither does his crew – now they just need to pray for a big June wind.

When the ACWS inevitably disappears, we’re glad to know that Chicago has seen the sowing of the seeds of its high-performance cat fleet…just don’t let Chris drive.

 

October 8th, 2015 by admin

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Long before she was the CYC’s head of Comms, sailing cheerleader Morgan Kinney was sharing her passion with the Anarchists.  She continues with this great story from last weekend’s Chicago Yacht Club hosted IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship, presented by Wintrust. Here’s her report, with gorgeous shots from Zachary James Johnston, with more here.

Fourteen teams from as far as New Zealand came to town for four days of racing in hopes of winning the Squadron Cup for their country and being crowned the new World Champion. Each boat had visually-impaired skippers and main trimmers, and two sighted crew – one tactician and one jib trimmer. Teams were then divided into three classes dependent on the extent of their vision loss, ranging from completely blind (Blind 1) to legally unable to drive (Blind 3).

In true Chicago fashion, the fall weather was completely unpredictable and two days of racing were canceled due to no wind, storms, high winds and higher waves.

21385384612_3e2bb4fd76_oAfter no wind and looming storms canceled racing on Thursday, Friday’s course featured 22 knots of wind and six foot waves. Teams raced four to five races in their respective sections while I sat in awe, getting soaked onboard my 12′ photo boat. All I could think was how tough it was to just chase these yachts around the course; in the meantime, they were expertly sailing over, around, and through the huge waves. “It’s a lot about the feel of picking the bow up and knowing how to drive to that,” explained 2013 Blind Sailing Champion Lucy Hodges (GBR). “Downwind was a huge amount of fun. If you caught the wave just right and come off the top, you were surfing down to the finish.”

Dave Allerton (NZL), remarked, “That piece of sea out there is more than just a lake – you could fit the whole country of New Zealand in there.” When fellow Kiwi skipper, Russell Lowry heard that Saturday’s wind and waves were supposed to be heavier and higher, he declared, “Bring it on, Chicago!”

And that, the Windy City did… Eight foot waves and 30 knots of breeze from the northeast squashed all hopes of another big day of racing.

With only one day left in the competition, the pressure was on the Chicago Yacht Club Race Committee to make up for the two days lost. With calmed seas and a rotating breeze, RC started firing off races one after another until a fourth race was started and promptly abandoned due to a sudden 90 degree wind shift. As boats reached back to the start line, our watches read 1:15 P.M., and we were looking at a 2:00 P.M. cutoff. Race Committee attempted to save the race and run one more, but the wind had died.

20773551144_a4a459f910_oDuane Farrar (USA) was crowned the 2015 Blind Sailing World Champion. It wasn’t easy for Farrar, though, as Canadian David Brown was giving the American a run for his money. “The Canadians were very competitive, and we started the day in a virtual tie with them. Before we got enough races for a drop, we were just about a point apart,” said Farrar. “We  smoked the fleet in what turned out to be the last race of the day. We really needed that race to solidify our position.”

Despite earning top slot in two out of three classes, the US lost the Squadron Cup to Team GBR. This is the fourth time that Great Britain has won the Cup in 18 years. Hodges, who was on the team the last time they won in Japan, said, “It was a very close running this time around – USA put on a really great performance. It will be great to take this Cup to Houston for the next running of the Cup in 2017.”

September 17th, 2015 by admin

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With Great Lakes ice cover now at 88% – 2% more than even the cold and icy 2013-4 winter – it may seem like the hundreds of thousands of Midwest sailors will never even get soft water.  But if the lakes do thaw out before July, there’s some damned good long distance racing ahead thanks to the 500-plus boats that will race the two Mackinacs this year.

Chicago Yacht Club cemented their role as one of the forward-thinkers in offshore American sailing yesterday, announcing their amendment of the Chicago Mac rules to award the overall first-to-finish trophy to the first boat instead of the first monohull.  That’s 65 years of historical mistake they’re rectifying, and it’s about fucking time.  In doing so, they make the countries other big-fleet distance races – The Cruising Club of America’s Newport Bermuda Race and the Transpac – look positively mesozoic.

tpyc catAnd while The Transpac does give a multihull trophy (first awarded in 1997 to Bruno Peyron in Explorer)  the TPYC’s most prestigious trophy – the Barn Door – goes not to the first boat to finish, and not even to the first monohull to finish…instead, they give it to the tortured category of ‘first non-power assisted yacht to arrive that isn’t a multihull.’  That makes sense </sarcasm>. But hey – at least the Transpac allows multihulls to enter.  The Bermuda Race doesn’t even do that.

On the other side of the lake, we’ve heard (but not yet verified) that Bayview’s ‘Easy Mac’ – the shorter, more sheltered Port Huron-Mac – has opened up its rules as well, allowing smaller, more sporty boats to compete on the 200 NM shore course.  Melges 24s at dawn, anyone?  More smart thinking from adaptable Midwesterners, and more inclusivity on the water – never a bad thing, and a good explanation of why there are 500+ yachts distance racing over two weekends on the Lakes.  Nice work, Detroit and Chicago!

In a final bit of excellent Great Lakes news, the CYC also announced that 2015 would be a Super Mac year – that means the most intrepid teams will race from Chicago to Mackinac and then continue right through the finish line, sailing another 200 miles to the riverine entrance of the Port Huron Yacht Club.  We called it ‘five hundred miles of freshwater hell’ when we ran it aboard Bruce Geffen’s Nice Pair the last time the race was held in 2009 – here’s a full account of that one.

Where else in the world are you going to get a 500 mile course through water you can drink?  Check the CYC website for more info over here.

 

March 3rd, 2015 by admin

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A coiled-up fireball of enthusiasm and intensity and one of the smartest sailors you’ll ever meet, Matt Scharl defies labels; the 43 year old commodities trader and math wiz is also a fitness freak and adventurer – and he looks about 20 years old.  Despite his financial acumen, Matt spends much of the months between June and October farming soybeans on his own acreage in the middle of Michigan.  The longtime shorthander has either won or broken a record for just about every singlehanded race in the Great Lakes, mostly on his neon-green former ride Gamera, an F-25C Corsair. He’s also done well in the double handed Atlantic Cup, winning the last edition in a hard-fought battle and setting up his next big adventure – the Route Du Rhum.

With SA Favorite Mike Hennessey (Dragon) pulling his long-anticipated RdR plug after losing months due to his well-publicized prang of a well-known brick, just two American skippers are left to represent the USA in the world’s most famous singlehanded transoceanic race, both in the Class 40.  Since one of them sounds French, we’ll focus on Matt’s attempt at the ultimate singlehanded glory outside the Vendee Globe.  He checked in with us a few hours ago from due East of Newfoundland; track Matt right here.

Picture the scene: Lying back on your Fatboy thinking about taking a nap, but it just won’t come. Pan out a bit and you realize that you’re on the ocean, on a boat with every ounce of weight stacked in the back, beam reaching at 13-18 knots on a Farr designed Kiwi Class 40…it’s a Bodacious Dream, no doubt, and the song with the line “How Did I get Here?” comes to mind.

Flash back to Nov, 2012, while Dave Rearick was prepping for the round-the-world Global Ocean Race.  I had lunch with Jeff [Urbina, BDX co-founder] one day, mentioning the Route Du Rhum as a possibility once Dave finished his circumnavigation. He thought “Why not? The boat will be there anyway.”  When the GOR got pushed back a year or two and Dave went off to fulfill his lifelong dream of solo circumnavigating,  I figured the Route Du Rhum opportunity was gone for four years, at least.  Then I was told that Dave would be finished in time for me to do the Route Du Rhum.

Upon Dave’s return, the boat’s been gone through with a fine-toothed comb.  Parts replaced, fixed, and purchased to get up to snuff for the most competitive race on the calendar.  I worked hard to secure sponsorship, getting some personal support and help from friends and family as well as Chicago’s excellent Skyway Yacht Works, but was disappointed to find that, other than those mentioned above, none of the many companies I spoke to saw the value in such a sponsorship.  To those who did, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 8.50.05 AMI left alone (not counting my monkey mascot) on Monday for my qualifying passage between Rhode Island and France, and it gives me some time to learn the boat better, test sail combinations and in general get a feel for longish time spent alone. Anyone who knows me knows I spend plenty of time alone, but this time it’s been a little different – I’m leaving behind someone recently met but very special, thankfully she is very close to me in spirit even if I cannot feel her touch.

It took a few days to get in a rhythm, but I’m starting to feel it, moving well, motivated by making as much speed as possible. Thanks to an overheating generator I am learning to love the whine of the hydro-generator, even if that’s had mounting issues too – fortunately, my Macgyvering skills are up to snuff thus far!  I generally hate deliveries – hence the trailerable trimaran I owned for years – but this is different.  I am not delivering to St. Joe’s or Mackinac City – I am delivering to the Queen of solo racing; to crowds of over a million spectators; to the land where tiny frenchmen race 140-foot trimarans across the ocean alone.  I am delivering to the Route Du Rhum, and that’s just fine.  I couldn’t really believe it before, but I can now.

A final note: Without the extreme generosity of Gaye and Jeff, there’s a whole pile of guys around the world – as far away as Finland and New Zealand – who are able to do some of the greatest adventures and races in the world. None of us – especially me – will be able to ever thank you enough.  We’ll try, but it will still never be enough.  So thank you.

I’ll be speaking to Mr. Clean later in the week via Satphone for a Sailing Anarchy Innerview, so feel free to post in the Route Du Rhum thread or hit my Facebook Page if you have anything you’d like me to address.

-Matt Scharl, Skipper

Class 40 Bodacious Dream 

September 4th, 2014 by admin

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Monday sucks.  And Tuesday is only slightly less sucky. These videos might be the cure.  Today weve got high performance boats, low performance boats, crashes, flooking around, and kids – lots and lots of kids.  Welcome to Video Anarchy.

Mac Art

A little production value can do wonders to transform some basic GoPro video into something quite beautiful, as the boys and girls from Froeter Design showcase in this video of the Chicago Mackinac aboard the Beneteau Chief. 

Check Yourself

To no one’s surprise, World Champ Taylor Canfield and his US-One team walked away with another victory in Chicago at the Grand Slam. Sam Gilmour’s Neptune Racing hit the podium, the young Aussie continuing to rocket up the world rankings, and he sent us a note:
We recently just finished up at the Chicago Match Race Centre Grand slam event, where we came away with a 3rd. One innovation that CMRC  have incorporated brilliantly is using their new drones to capture the pre-starts and racing. In our Petit Final against Christ Steele from 36 Below Racing, we had a major crash; fortunately for us, we managed to get the better of the next races and came away with the podium finish.  CMRC’s drone caught it all on video, and over the last few days almost 2,000 people have seen it and began a discussion.  It’s already generated plenty of discussion, and we encourage you to watch it too; please join the discussion on our Facebook Page.
Thanks,
Sam Gilmour, Neptune Racing
EXTRA CRISPY
If you like the Gilmour video, you’ll love this one; watch Taylor Canfield rock Pierre-Antoine Morvan’s world in a pre-start.

 

Youth of Today

You’ve seen the scores of young Anarchists (and these kids have been SA junkies since about kindergarden) Ian and Nicolas representin’ enroute to their US Youth Nationals.  Here’s the movie.  Turn down the music unless you’re nostalgic for your dentists’ soundtrack…and here’s an audio interview with the nippers.

Swedish Bikini Team

The ‘new age’ of video storytelling has slowly crept into the top end of sailing, with producers (and those who pay them) finally understanding what we’ve been screaming about for years:  You have to put the audience right there in the trenches with the subject or you’re just wasting your time.   We’ve seen plenty of nasty pictures come out of the Brazil test event, but for many Olympic hopefuls – those without the runs, at least –  it was an amazing adventure in one of the world’s most exciting countries.  Above is a look at the beauty and skill of the Swedish team, and no dirty water.  Thanks to Swedish mothy Magnus Gravare for the heads up.

Joie De Vivre

Another essential aspect of video storytelling is about charisma; the camera loves those who have it.  Example?  This excellent Team GBR/Volvo Cars-sponsored Rio Test video from our old friends Richard Langdon nd Rachel Jesperson, focusing on always-smiling and ultra-charismatic silver medallist Luke Patience.  Also starring in this one are his excellent Aberdeen accent and a couple of Nacra 17 sailors.  Have a look at two more charismatic intros from the same team over here.

flook off

Brilliant, stupid, or a hoax?  You decide.

 

August 26th, 2014 by admin

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As the second Mac gets set to begin tomorrow, Our old pal Petey Crawford jammed together a video from the light air/downwind start of the earlier race, Bayview’s Port Huron-Mackinac.  Bora Gulari returned from Sardinia for a couple weeks to give Phil and Sharon O’Niel’s TP52 Natalie J her fourth straight overall (Cove Island Course) BYC-Mack win, and we’ve got an interview coming up with the rock star soon…for now, enjoy the stylings from Penalty Box.

UPDATE: Tim Lewin asked us to point out that, while Natalie J won four straight Cove Island overalls that she sailed, she actually didn’t go macking in 2013 because she was on the Transpac.  Last year, Sledgehammer, a J/120 won the Overall for Cove Island.   

July 18th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 12.53.01 PMClean Report

After a five-year hiatus from covering the Midwest’s second-biggest freshwater distance race, we’re heading up to Port Huron, Michigan for the start of the Bayview Mackinac Race tomorrow.  With Luna Rossa Challenge’s Bora Gulari aboard the TP52 Natalie J, Annapolite-turned ocean racer Ryan Breymaier joining the F-31 Cheekee and a pile of fun boats including the old VO70 Il Mostro, there will be plenty to see, and you’ll be able to watch all the action via Sailing Anarchy’s Facebook Page starting around 10 AM EDT tomorrow.

LINE UP

Years of live coverage of the Chicago Mackinac and the 4 hours we’ll be spending on the water tomorrow have reminded us of conversations we’ve had over the years about the start of the Mack races, and a basic question we still don’t know the answer to: What is the purpose of starting each section separately, with the slow boats first?  Sure, we understand that the slow boats will get there a bit sooner compared to the fast boats, but that seems like a silly reason for expending all the extra resources to involved in banging off 15 starts rather than a single one.  Think about it; that’s 15 starts at 10 minutes each, or nearly three hours of starting.   The format guarantees a weaker experience for spectators (who rarely want to sit around watching 6-10 boats sail off a line every ten minutes), a tougher day for the Race Committee, a long, long wait for the racers on the water, and perhaps most importantly, a poor spectacle for the TV, print, and online media so important to getting new interest and keeping sponsors happy.

Think about the incredible action at a Sydney-Hobart start, with simultaneous guns over just three lines and course boundaries for spectators for a mile or so up the course to guarantee tacking or gybing in close proximity to the fans; contrast this with the Macks, where the Coast Guard sets a cordon to keep powerboats half a mile from the starting lines…not that there is much to see anyway. Nearly no boats chase the Mack fleet…because it’s already so diluted at each start that there’s not much to chase.

Our suggestion for the BYC and Chicago Macks:  Four simultaneous starts:  One for racing fleets,  one for cruising fleets, one for multihull fleets, and one for shorthanded fleets.  Win, win.

Shot of Lucky Strike (ex-Lucretia) sporting the SA flag yesterday on the Black River, thanks to Anarchist “Geff”.

 

July 11th, 2014 by admin

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