Alpari World Match Racing Tour’s Chicago Cup at Navy Pier
With the unique distinction of being the only U.S. destination on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, the Chicago Match Cup (sailboat races) kicked off at Navy Pier on August 7th and continued until Sunday, August 11th. The east end of Navy Pier became the hub of sailing activities as the indoors and outdoors were transformed into a very accommodating racing village.
Outdoors became a popular spectator area with bleachers strategically positioned to give fans ideal viewpoints, along with live commentary, souvenir stands, concession stands, etc. The indoor ballroom area had a terrific family-friendly atmosphere, (especially for youngsters) with a shallow pool providing the perfect place for remote control sailboat races. Two full size sailboats on display gave everyone a close up view of the actual boats, and a large movie screen suspended from the ceiling offered all visitors a terrific view of all the racing action. Not to be overlooked were two champion racers giving out autographs to one and all- nobody was turned away!
The sailboat festivities started on August 7th with Round Robin Racing at 9:00A.M. and finished on Sunday, August 11th with an awards ceremony; while a spectacular fireworks display highlighted the events for four nights in a row.
There was definitely something for everyone at this year’s Match Cup, which boasted a $100,000 prize purse, featuring 12 experienced teams with talented personnel on boats traveling at top speeds- all just a stone’s throw off of Navy Pier. As a special treat, the Tall Ships exhibit kicked off (at 2:00 P.M.) on August 7th with a cannon booming, which signaled the start of the eye – opening Tall Ships Parade of Sail.
Former champion Taylor Canfield once again captured a 1st place victory aboard team U.S. One along with his crew. Finishing a close 2nd place was Keith Swinton, piloting the Black Swan Racing Team; while Bjorn Hansen successfully guided the eWork Sailing Team to a respectable 3rd place position.
Sailboat racing fans world wide definitely had their eyes focused on Chicago this past week with all of these boating festivities, and will no doubt have many happy returns…