Friday, June 3, 2011

Chicago Yacht Club’s Verve Cup Distance Race

UPDATE:  The 2012 Verve Distance Race is Saturday, August 11.  See this article for information, or visit www.vervecup.com.

During my time sailing on Lake Michigan, I’ve realized I’m a cruising sailor at heart. I enjoy racing, however the Catalina 34 isn’t as fast and competitive as I’d like her to be for weekend buoy racing. I don’t think she’d even qualify for the NOOD buoy races based on her rating.

I enjoy distance races but they involve a quick turn-around (sail all day, party, sail back early the next morning) and essentially a full weekend commitment. Before kids that was fine. Now they’re really too young to take. Maybe in a few years.

I enjoy racing on friends’ boats, but there are only a finite number of weekends in Chicago’s summer and every day on a race boat is a day from Donnybrook, the family, or both.

I’m excited that this year there’s a distance racing series. A distance race is roughly a 20 mile race (shorter if conditions are light) to a point and back. To me it’s the perfect way to race a cruising boat. The race organizers offer three classes (depending on number of entries):
  • Jib and main
  • ORR Cruising (Mac race rules allowing only a cruising spinnaker)
  • Racing
A distance race is a less intense way to race. I’d be more comfortable bringing family or friends who haven’t raced before. There’s typically not as much tacking (think about the workout doing 30+ tacks during a day of buoy races) and there’s not as much stress to a novice racer due to mark roundings. There will be more reaching which is the fastest and most comfortable point of sail for Donnybrook and a lot of other cruising boats.

The Verve Cup Distance Race is August 20 with a 10:00 start near the Wilson Crib. The entry fee is only $2.50 per boat foot (through August 5) which gives you:
  • Race entry including a world class Race Committee.
  • Access to three days of social events at the Chicago Yacht Club Monroe station, including skipper’s meeting with professional weather briefing, live music and a Mount Gay rum pour.
  • A skipper’s bag with sponsor’s gifts (think sailor’s equivalent of a VIP gift bag).
  • Dockage at Monroe Harbor (with restrictions, see the Notice of Race)
  • The fun and excitement of competing with like sailors on beautiful Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline and the Air and Water show as a back drop!
The Verve Cup Committee, which I’m a member of, is making it easy for boats to enter. Go to the the Verve's Yacht Scoring Site and select Online Entry Form / Application. You’re register for the Verve Offshore and when prompted for your Racing Course/Class, select ORR Saturday Distance Race ONLY.

You’ll also find at the Yacht Scoring Site the Notice of Race (a race’s rules and logistics), a scratch sheet showing entries, and other information. If you don’t have a rating certificate or sail number, the Verve Cup Committee can work with you to obtain the certificate and sail number.

Other distance races are the Nood Distance Race Saturday, June 11 and the Color’s Regatta Saturday, June 4. Donnybrook won’t be able to sail in either (Family commitments for the NOOD and out of town for the Color’s Regatta) but both promise to be fantastic events.

As of this writing there are already 65 boats registered for the Verve.  Six of which, including Donnybrook, are registered for the Verve Distance Race! The more boats, the more fun. If this type of event appeals to you. Please consider participating!
  • If you’re interested in sailboat racing, this is the perfect way to get your feet wet!
  • If you want to try out a distance race to prepare for the Mac Race, this is the perfect opportunity!
  • If you used to race and miss it due to some of the reasons I don't race, this is an opportunity to get back into it!
  • If you are looking for something more to do than sail around the cribs on an August Saturday, this is  the perfect event!
If you have any questions about the Verve Distance Race, contact me (leave a comment on this blog or email me (kyle@saildonnybrook.com) and I’ll help or put you in contact with the people who can help.

Again, more information is available at the Verve's Yacht Scoring Site or the Verve Cup's Official Site.

Update:  See Cruisers--Can You Go the Distance?  Verve Distance Race!

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