Chicago, IL - Chicago Yacht Club hosted a multinational fleet of 102 boats competing across three race circles in ten separate divisions for the 26th running of the storied Verve Cup. The race committee ran 7-10 races over three race circles where the fleet saw challenging light wind conditions to almost 10 knots of breeze. The event was host to three North American Championships for the Farr 40s, Beneteau 40.7 and J-88 classes, combined with competitive one-design racing across multiple fleets.
The Farr 40 class boasted the most diverse international competition, with Italy's INFANT TERRIBLE and the German entry STRUNTJE LIGHT. Top competitors included past world champions from the U.S.- FLASH GORDON and PLENTY. This weekend, it was Alex Roepers' PLENTY from New York YC, taking top honors and the title of North American champion. Two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Terry Hutchinson called tactics for Roepers, who steered PLENTY to three wins and five runner-up results in the 10-race series.
"It was a wonderful event with a terrific venue and outstanding hospitality by the Chicago Yacht Club, we're very pleased." said Roepers, " After a difficult start getting warmed up we were very consistent. We're confident going into the next event, which is the one we're all aiming to win." Next up for the Farr 40 class is their World Championship in October also hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club.
The Verve Cup was also host to the 2nd Annual North American Championship for the J-88 class. They saw the Verve Cup as an opportunity to get a big fleet together in a central location. With 14 boats on the line, competitors were excited about the fierce competition in the fleet. From New York, Youngstown YC's Laura Weyler and her crew on HIJINKS came away with top honors.
The Beneteau First 40.7 class had 7 boats in their fleet. Represented by co-owner Yvonne Ruhlander, MOJO sails out of Chicago YC, and attributes their NA Championship to "the best crew ever, many of the crew have been onboard for 9 years."
In the venerable 24-boat Tartan 10 fleet, Don Wilson's CONVERGENCE jumped ahead of Brian Kaczor's ERICA in with a 1st to Erica's 7th in the last race of the event, "Hats off to the crew of ERICA, they sailed a great regatta," said Tod Reynolds of the CONVERGENCE crew. Wilson has been concentrating on the M32 foiling catamaran this year, with M32 Worlds coming up in Chicago this fall. Reynolds continues, " we've been out of the fleet for a while, it's great coming back to Chicago for a big T10 fleet."
Chicago Yacht Club's oldest award, The Verve Cup Trophy for the best performance in the most closely contested fleet was won by Earle Atwater's PROGRAM. They took top honors in the 10-boat Beneteau First 36.7 Fleet. At the end of 7 races, the top 5 were separated by one point, making them the most competitive fleet on the water. Chicago YC member, Earle Atwater III explained how tough it was, "we never led around a mark, we kept our boat going, stayed in clear air and managed the course for the other fleets we sailed through each race." Team PROGRAM credits their victory to practice, competing in other regattas and staying together as a crew. They held it together through lead changes and nerve wracking tack splitting with their competition.
In the 8-boat ORR 1 Fleet, 70' MERLIN squeaked out a narrow victory in corrected time, "in the end, I think it was only with 7 seconds lead that we won," said Brian Malone. From Tampa, Florida, but in Chicago for the Race to Mackinac, Merlin competed in Verve to make good on their time in the Great Lakes.
Joe Hummel's brightly uniformed, almost all female crew on ARCHIMEDES III won the ORR 2 Division. Out of Chicago Corinthian YC, the crew claims years of sailing together and excellent communication as their best assets. "We like to have fun," the crew shouts in suggestions to account for their success, "We went swimming before yesterday's starts."
Topping the 5-boat J109 fleet was the crew of CALLISTO. Their situation atypical because owner Jim Murray entrusted his boat to his regular crew, who sailed the event in Murray's absence, "we set it up a solid lead on day 1 and the team carried it through," explained trimmer Lou Sandoval, "skipper Mike Hendries was very consistent."
"Our priorities were centered around building on a great event from the past," explained regatta vice chair, Rob Cardenas, "we included more green initiatives and more inclusive recognitions. Like daily awards, recognitions and raffles. "It was an opportunity to host a great event for competitors," according to CYC Treasurer Martin Sandoval, who gives thanks to the outstanding sponsorship from Mt. Gay USA, Gill, Team One Newport, Nautic-On, Heinken, Quantum USA and Yeti, who provided excellent coolers as awards to be given to the winning teams, along with magnums of Champagne from Luc Belaire, and Skyway Yacht Works, who helped with Chicago Yacht Clubs's efforts to run a green regatta by sponsoring reusable plastic cups for competitors to use at parties.
ABOUT CHICAGO YACHT CLUB: Founded in 1875, the Chicago Yacht Club is one of the oldest and most respected yacht clubs in the world. Its mission is to encourage, promote, and develop knowledge, participation, and enjoyment of all aspects of yachting. To that end, the Club hosts many world class competitions, including its signature Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac and numerous North American and World Championships. The Club is also recognized as a leader in sailing education, with one of the largest junior sailing programs in the United States. The Club is home to more than 1400 members, including winning America's Cup skippers, Olympic medalists and hopefuls, and outstanding boaters of all types, from ages 4 to 104. The Club offers year-round activities for its diverse membership at two locations on the city's shoreline, at Monroe and Belmont Harbors.