Besides being the start of a long season of match race sailing in Chicago, the Spring Invitational serves as an important qualifier for teams to receive invitations to future match racing events. For example, all but two of the teams hail from a club in the Great Lakes region, and therefore among them the top two from Lake Michigan will receive invitations to the annual Great Lakes match racing championship, the Richardson Trophy, held over September 12-15 at Buffalo YC.
And among the five teams based from clubs on Lake Michigan, the top finisher will win the title for the 2013 Great Lakes Match Race Championship.
Another important prize that will go to the overall winner regardless of home port is an invitation to CMRC's Grade 2 Chicago Match Cup Qualifier, being held over June 28-30 where 12 teams will compete for a spot at the August AWMRT Chicago Match Cup.
The field of ten teams at the Spring Invitational includes the following skippers:
Will Cyr from Detroit's Bayview YC
Ryan Davidson from Balboa YC in Newport Beach, CA
Lars Hansen from Wayzata YC in Wayzata, MN
Clinton Hayes from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA
Nathan Hollerbach from CMRC
Dierk Polzin from Hoofer Sailing Club in Madison, WI
Hans Pusch from CMRC
Val Smith from Corinthian YC in Chicago
Ned Turney from Corinthian YC in Chicago
Don Wilson from CMRC
Many in the field are relative newcomers to match race sailing, having been to CMRC and other venues for only a few years or less. Events like the Spring Invitational are excellent opportunities for them to hone their skills as they progress up the Ranking List for invitations and opportunities for more match race sailing in the future.
But at 33rd in the world and third highest-ranked skipper in the US, Don Wilson would have to be regarded as the team to beat this weekend, having also won last year's Spring Invitational. However, one of his crew from last year, Nathan Hollerbach, this year has his own team, and as a former US Match Racing Champion he can certainly be expected to give Wilson and the rest of the field a strong showing.
After daily Skipper's Briefings at 8:00 AM, racing is intended to start at 9:00 and continue throughout the day while conditions permit.
For more information, daily photos and updated results, visit the CMRC website at www.chicagomatchrace.com, or follow on Twitter and Facebook.