Chicago Match Race Center

Lowery wins Chicago Match Race Center Spring Invitational

In survival conditions, Lowery Surfs to Victory at CMRC Spring Invitational

There's one wind direction that makes Lake Michigan look like the North Atlantic and that's the 20-28 knots northerly that smoked the fleet of nine teams at this weekend's CMRC Grade 3 Spring Invitational. This combined with seas building to 10 feet and temperatures in the 40's truncated the intended format to only four completed flights of racing, with final results determined in a rarely-used percentage-based scoring system.

Lowery Surfs to Victory at CMRC Spring Invitational

"It wasn't just the breeze, it was the sea state as well," - said Mike Rehe, CMRC staffer who was helping manage the race course. "That's when it isn't match racing anymore. The boats can't get close and it changes the game."

Lake Michigan's northern fury
Lake Michigan's northern fury

Within these four flights, the only undefeated team was led by local-based Steven Lowery, who won all three of his sailed matches to claim overall victory. This gives Lowery the title of Lake Michigan Match Race Champion, and qualifies him to compete in the YRUGL Richardson Trophy Regatta in October at Sheboygan YC.

"After coming up just short for the past 6 years at the CMRC with more 2nd place finishes than I can remember," - said Lowery, "its good for our team to come away with our first win here. Not exactly the way we would have liked to win with the partial round, but looking forward to the rest of the season here in Chicago."

Runner-up in the shortened event was Chicago-based Peter Holz, who raced four matches and earned a 3-1 score, with his only loss being to Lowery. CMRC's Don Wilson, the highest-ranked seed in the event, also amassed a 3-1 score, but by losing to Holz he lost the tie-break and had to settle for third.

In this pivotal match for second it was Holz and his young crew who first took a piece out of Wilson on the first beat of the breezy match, dishing out a penalty as the boats were awash with waves. Then on the first run Wilson surfed to a large lead only to lose his bowman over the side. Despite a quick recovery, the team's spinnaker was sucked over the side at the leeward mark. Holz's team used the opportunity to pass as Wilson's tactician, World Match Race Tour skipper Keith Swinton, finally pulled the water logged spinnaker out from beneath the hull.

Steven Lowery and team, warm and dry
Steven Lowery and team, warm and dry

The next lap saw Wilson surge past Holz again, but with an outstanding penalty to perform before the finish, Wilson tried but fouled Holz for a second time and handed the 22-year old the important win.

Holz said of the event "Crazy weather, wet and wild four races, but great to come away with the Qualifying spot." Holz's result earned an invitation to the US Match Racing Championship, hosted by Oakcliff Sailing in October, as well as an invitation to the Richardson Trophy.

Final Results:

  1. Steven Lowery
  2. Peter Holz
  3. Don Wilson
  4. David Niemann
  5. Leif Sigmond
  6. Jack Barton
  7. Jack Thompson
  8. Ryan Seago
  9. Evan Jahn

Results and more information will be available at

Chicago Match Race Center Regatta 2015 Schedule
May 30-31: Grade 3 - Spring Invitational
June 19-21: Grade 2 - Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam Qualifier
June 23-26: North-U Youth Clinic co-hosted with Chicago YC, coached by Dave Perry
July 23-24: Grade 3 - Summer Invitational A
July 25-26: Grade 3 - Summer Invitational B
August 21-23: Grade 2- Chicago Match Cup Grand Slam
September 26-27: Grade 3 - Autumn Invitational

To request an invitation, contact or visit the CMRC website:


About Chicago Match Race Center:

The Chicago Match Race Center was founded to promote and grow the sport of match race sailing in the United States. CMRC provides a full-service facility, complete with TOM 28 and Elliott 6M class sailboats, umpire and support boats, as well as support staff for professional and amateur sailors to race and train during the sailing season. CMRC hosts numerous events at a wide range of ISAF Grade levels to best suit its members and the broader match racing community. For more information, photos, videos and results from events held at CMRC, please visit



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