On the Bay: Grand Slam Match Racing Series Continues

Team members Andy Estcourt, Hayden Goodrick, Skipper David Storrs, Taylor Canfield
Team members Andy Estcourt, Hayden Goodrick, Skipper David Storrs, Taylor Canfield

The Grand Slam U.S. Match Racing Series continues to surprise. First of the four venues was right here in Manhasset Bay, at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club Match Race for the Knickerbocker Cup. Eric Monnin, SUI, Team Sailbox, won the Cup.

At Oakcliff Sailing Center, in Oyster Bay, Matt Jerwood, USA, Redline Racing, was the overall winner.

In Chicago, the third venue of the Grand Slam, David Storrs, 71, defeated the young teams to capture the Chicago Match Cup.

“This is the most exhilarating feeling in my life in sailing,” said Storrs. “At age 71 there are not many things that can get me excited anymore, but this was certainly the best sailing regatta I’ve ever had. The teamwork was phenomenal, like a well-oiled machine, and Taylor and I were in sync so that our moves were smooth because we were anticipating situations and not just reactive. This was really great!”

The day’s breezy southerly conditions topped out at 23 knots, and after some early morning showers, gave another day of perfect conditions for the eight teams on the water to finish all the matches and declare a winner.

Storrs had high praise for the event, the boats and match race sailing in the U.S.: “This was outstanding for us to have this opportunity to compete among the top teams in the world. Between here, Oakcliff Sailing Center, and other facilities in the US we have so many ways to get people into this thrill of match race sailing. I wish to see more people take this up, as it really is exciting. I also really like it here in Chicago because these TOM 28s are great boats to sail in all conditions.”

Topping a field of 12 teams from five nations, this is Storrs’s best result yet at a Chicago Match Race Center event and in this year’s 2015 USA Grand Slam series, where he now takes the runner-up position with 185 points. The current Grand Slam leader is Sam Gilmour and his Neptune Racing Team from Australia, who by placing third here in Chicago has 210 points in the series.

The next stop in the Grand Slam series is the Detroit Cup at Bayview YC, with racing started on Thursday, Aug. 27 and proceeding daily through Sunday, Aug. 30. Results were not in at press time. Ten teams will be on hand, with seven coming from Chicago to join the competition in Detroit. The top team in the series will be determined in Detroit, and will receive an automatic invitation to the oldest match race event in the U.S., the 2016 edition of the Congressional Cup next spring in Long Beach, CA.

Last week this column mentioned the sorry conditions of Guanabara Bay, the sailing venue for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. More news has become available since last week. What many “in the know” sailors and racers found disturbing was the lack of response from sailing’s governing body. As the debate heated up in the past few months, ISAF (International Sailing Federation) was quiet on the subject. That changed last week when the powers that be finally warned that the events at the Rio Olympics could be moved out of Guanabara Bay. According to an Associated Press investigation, levels of raw sewage pose a serious health risk to athletes. A course inside the bay was closed for a test event because of floating waste. “If we can’t get the water to a level, then we’ll move it to the Atlantic Ocean,” said International Sailing Federation’s chief Peter Sowrey. Three of the courses earmarked for the Olympics are in the bay and three are in the Atlantic, with up to 1,400 athletes set to compete in water sports at the games.

South Korean windsurfer Wonwoo Cho was taken to hospital during the weeklong test event on Thursday, with his coach Danny Ok claiming the cause was “probably from the water” at Guanabara Bay. Sowrey also complained he had received no data during the test event from the state body that monitors water quality.

“We are not happy as a federation from the reporting on the water,” Sowrey said. “We’re not getting the reporting we expected to get.” Sowrey added that otherwise the test event had gone “pretty well” from an operational viewpoint. Sailors in Guanabara Bay have reported seeing pollution including furniture and floating animal carcasses. According to the AP investigation, the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake, which will host rowing and canoeing, is also polluted. Nearly 70 percent of sewage in the Brazilian city is spilled raw into its waters. Source: www.bbc.com SPORTS

For more information, visit www.bbc.com/sport/0/sailing/34034211.

Now for some scores from weekend racing. Saturday, July 17, Manhasset Bay YC was Race Committee: Sonars: Race 1 and 2: 1. Delight, #396, Bob Kirtland, 2. Windy, #470, Bill McCollum/Reed Whittemore. MBOs: Race 1: 1. Blackjack, #25, Adrian Alley/George Graf and 2. Malachite, #26, David Sigal/Lew Lane. Race 2: 1. Malachite, 2. Blackjack. July 25, Port Washington YC was Race Committee: Sonars, Race 1: 1. Delight, 2. Laurie B 2, 568, Bob Baskind, 3. Old Flame, #479, Ed King/Andy Weissman/Bill Palafox/Mary Lu Dempsey-Palafox. Race 2: 1. Delight, 2. Old Flame, 3. Laurie B 2. MBOS, Race & 2: Dogged, #14, John Silbersack, and 2. Blackjack. July 26, North Shore YC was Race Committee: Sonars, Race 1: 1. Ping, #451, John Browning/Sue Miller, 2. Dreadlox, #442, Neil Bercow and 3. Whimsey, #678, Ted Toombs/Cindy Jordan. The MBOs and the Ideal 18s did not race.

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Andrea Watson is a Port Washington-based maritime photographer and journalist. She writes Port Washington News' column On The Bay and is currently the Executive Secretary of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound (YRALIS).


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