Photos © Michele Idstein / MISTE Photography
After a postponement of the first day of sailing due to gale force winds, the crew of Evolution spent the second and third days of the 2012 Verve Cup Offshore Regatta just trying their best to make up some ground. And their efforts paid off when the SC 70 owned by Pete Reichelsdorfer and Terry Kohler of Sheboygan, WI, won 1st place in the ORR 1 Division and the overall Verve Cup Trophy, which is determined by calculating the most competitive section in the race. "Going into the weekend it was frustrating because there was no sailing on the first day. The third day was a challenge with the light, shifty air – before the breeze set in it was challenging just trying to keep the crew safe and consolidating because of the light shifts today," said Evolution Skipper Nick Chadwick. "Overall it was a challenging weekend, but we were pleased to find success despite the difficult weather conditions."
The other trophy awarded - the 8-Mile Buoy Trophy for the winner of the Distance Race – went to SiroccoVI, owned by Chicago Yacht Club members William & Viviana Fanizzo.
After losing Friday's day of racing, Verve Cup Offshore PRO Russ Burke said the objective was to get in two races for the competitors and enough distance that fleets would be able to sail their own races without interfering with the others. "In the first race, the breeze picked up shortly after the first leg, which gave us a four leg race for some pretty good racing," Burke said. "With a lighter breeze, the TP 52s had much more advantage over the Santa Cruz 70s, and their sail displacement numbers were much better for this type of race."
Race officers said Sunday's final day of racing brought south-southwest winds of approximately 8 to 10 knots, and the light air brought some good competition and very close finishes. "Yesterday was a challenge because of the heavy seas, making it an athletic day. Today was a light air day, so finesse and an understanding of the lake were required," Circle B Race Officer Rick Lillie said. "The T10s with 28-30 boats in the top half were very tight. We witnessed a finish in the final race which saw the top three boats within a quarter length of each other."
While Circle B was able to get in three races on Sunday, Circle A got in two races, including a five leg race. Circle A Race Officer Tom Keegan said there was a lot of volatility in the fifth race. "Today was more technical and a wind distribution management day. Everyone was all smiles on the upwind finish," Keegan said.
This year 142 boats were part of the 20th annual Verve Cup. Participating yachts range in size from 25-feet up to 80-feet in length and carry crew from four to 20 persons.
As the largest course-racing regatta in North America, Verve Cup has developed as a world-class event, attracting national and international sailing competitors to Chicago's beautiful lakefront.
Competitors participate in multiple races, and boats sail either with a rating handicap or a one design so that boats of different size and character can compete against one another in one of the 15 racing sections. Overall prizes are awarded to the top finishers in each section, with one offshore boat winning the perpetual Verve Cup Trophy. The Verve Cup trophy dates from 1893 and is Chicago Yacht Club's oldest trophy. Overall awards are awarded for each class of boat.
Verve Cup Chairman Martin Sandoval said race organizers put an emphasis on making this regatta one that sailors find challenging, yet a good time. "We would like to thank the racers for participating in this year's Verve Cup. We strive to make it a sailor-friendly regatta, where we try to provide a venue for fun, competitive racing and camaraderie."
2012 Verve Cup Regatta was presented by Audi and SLAM. Other sponsors to date include Chicago Yacht Yard, Equinox, Heineken, Karma Yacht Sales, Mount Gay Rum, Karma Yacht Sales, UK Halsey, and West Marine.
Final results are available online here.
The 2013 Verve Cup Offshore Regatta will be held August 9 – 11.