chicago match race center





July 18, 2010

A wild day of match race sailing on the Chicago waterfront yields an Olympic veteran in the lead
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Chicago, IL – The waterfront of Chicago’s Belmont harbor offers many things: convenient access for both competitors and organizers, a beautiful view of the spectacular city skyline, and a convenient amphitheater for shoreside spectators. It also offers a tremendous diversity in weather conditions for match race sailors to test themselves not only against their rivals but also against the elements when the conditions become as adversarial as their opponents.

It is in this environment that US Olympic veteran Sally Barkow has risen through the ranks to lead the Chicago Match Race Center’s (CMRC) Summer Classic B Regatta on a 7-1 win-loss record, a full 2 points clear of current runner-up Bill Hardesty and his Team Line Honors, winner of the last two days’ CMRC Summer Classic A Regatta. The feat is all the more satisfying for Barkow, who lost the opportunity to meet Team Line Honors in the Final when it was called off due to lack of wind.

“It was a good day for us,” said Barkow, “and I owe our success to our team work. They did a great job, even pulling me out of 4 penalty kills today.

Barkow successfully navigated a huge variety of conditions, ranging from the morning’s relatively light but steady breeze to the weird and blustery midday southerlies, where the cool humid lake breeze fought for control over a hot offshore gradient wind, causing 20-30 degree shifts in direction. The offshore breeze eventually won out, but an approaching lightning squall forced abandonment of racing as the fleet was sent ashore and 50-knot gusts and pelting rain lashed the course area.

Besides Barkow, another team reveling in the breeze-on conditions was Colin Rathbun from the British Virgin Islands, whose 4 wins was well within the results in the pack, but better at this stage than in the last regatta’s predominantly light air. Rathbun attributed this to being more comfortable when the breeze was in, not having had much time in the TOM 28’s and this being his first weekend of match racing at CMRC.

“We sail mostly IC24’s in the Caribbean,” said Rathbun, “so I’m used to more lively maneuverable boats. But these TOM 28’s really light up in the breeze, so that for me is a lot more fun.”

Rathbun certainly had fun in Flight 8 when playing Hardesty, who had a great pre-start in the match to take the early lead, yet the BVI team just kept coming back. After many lead changes and some exciting boat-on-boat action, Rathbun eventually took and held the lead to win the match.

But less than an hour later the fleet was back out and racing, first in light air then in a building offshore breeze that while shifty at least held strong enough to provide fantastic close racing.

Another newcomer to CMRC, Josh Kerst, is also having a strong start on 4 wins. Kerst is a veteran of numerous match race regattas in the Great Lakes region, but admits he’s not been to anything yet at this level.

“This place is extraordinary,” he says. “I’ve been hooked on match racing now for some time, so much that I don’t want to do anything else, but this is at a whole different level than all the other regattas I’ve done. The organization, the boats, the venue, the competitors, race committee, umpires – they are all at a much higher level than anything I’ve experienced. This is a blast!”

Another newcomer to CMRC, Leo Vasiliev, had a tough day with only one match victory on the scorecard, but he said he still had a great time. “We did all the right things at the wrong times, nut still had some good chances to get back into the match. We’re looking forward to doing better tomorrow.”

Round Robin racing resumes tomorrow in the CMRC Summer Classic B Regatta, with three flights left to complete before the start of Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and Final rounds. Courses will again be set near the entrance to Belmont Harbor, and the first start intended for 9:00 AM. Shoreside activities including competitor briefings, press conferences, umpire debriefs and awards ceremonies will be held before and after racing in and around the CMRC floating regatta center moored at the North end of Belmont Harbor.

For more information about the CMRC Summer Classic B regatta, stop by CMRC or contact CMRC Director of Marketing and Programming Beth Paul on 312-542-1505 or visit

Round Results after 9 flights (incomplete):

1. Sally Barkow                7-2
2. Bill Hardesty                5-2
3. Guy Mossman             4-2
4=. Colin Rathbun        4-3
4=. Josh Kerst                 4-3
4=. John Singsen           4-3
7. Don Wilson                 3-4
8. Mark Kroening             3-5
9=. Jennifer Wilson        1-6
9=. Leo Vasiliev              1-6