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Posts Tagged ‘CYC’

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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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Just 1 point separates the top three boats going into the final day at the inaugural J/111 North Americans; we’re rooting for the Lucky Dubie on the strength of their name alone but there’s plenty of action despite the light wind in Chicago, as this beautiful Meredith Block photo shows.  That’s what a great eye, a 600mm lens, and the world’s best Whaler driver can getcha.  Follow the final races here.

August 18th, 2013 by admin

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Len Siegal’s Lucky Dubie is the world’s best-named J/boat since Smokin’ J was snuffed out years ago, and the longtime Chicago J/sailor tops the leaderboard at the first-ever major J/111 championship worldwide; their North American Championship.  14 boats from as far as Oregon, Florida, and Massachusetts is a solid turnout for a boat that toes the line between Grand Prix and amateur; just one pro is allowed aboard each of the light-but-not-extreme, quick-but-not-extreme J/111.

That’s the good news.  The bad news?  Chicago in the summer might be better for fishing than it is for sailing, at least this week! J/fans can check it out live with full OTWA/Facebook video/interview/photo/updates coverage right here.  Meredith Block photo, event gallery here.  Big thanks to Skyway Yacht Works for the gin palace and Whaler that we’re working from…check ‘em out.


August 16th, 2013 by admin

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Our old friend Bruce Geffen may have gotten rid of Nice Pair – the sexy black cat that he sailed to multiple consecutive multihull victories in the Mackinac races – but he’s still a dark sider to the core.  This year, he’s aboard the rebuilt 50-foot “Lucky Strike” as they head up the lake this afternoon.  Track the race here and if you’ve got an IQ below 80 check this video to learn how.  Stick to the CYC Facebook Page for an ongoing stream of information.  With On-The-Water Anarchy missing their first CYC Mack in years, it’s good to see NBC Chicago filling in with live coverage for the Parade of Boats,. And of course go here for the latest weather and discussion.  The forecast is dire; we’ll have the best reports from the fleet right here.

After having the aft crossbeam crack in the 2012 Bayview Mac Race, Manitou went through a complete refit and extensive rebuild.  Now named Lucky Strike, the 50′ Newick designed trimaran it’s back and better than ever.  New rigging, complete new crossbeam and deck area, rebuilt cockpit, a new self tacking jib, and the entire deck area it’s now clean and simple.  Her working area is user friendly, and the whole boat is stiffer than she ever was.  Freshly painted and the new press-and-stick non skid makes this cushy rocketship the prom queen of the multihull fleet as well as the Chi Mac fleet.  Fred Ball is the owner has brought together most of the crew from Nice Pair again due the third straight year.  On board is Jim Anderson, Kris Landman, father/son team of Earl and Hunter Lyden, and Bruce Geffen.  Looks to be an awesomely slow race this year, even by multihull standards.  Should be agonizing on a big yellow dump truck filled with lead!

Kiwis Andrew and Ken from Harbor Springs did the amazing rebuild of the boat.  Without their mastery and way over the top perfectionism, this would not have come to fruition so well.  These two are true craftsmen boat builders that are in a league of their own.


July 13th, 2013 by admin



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