Gorgeous, Stormy Offshore Verve Cup Chicago

The 31st annual Verve Cup Offshore Regatta featured three days of offshore buoy racing for a fleet of over 75 yachts. The regatta coincided with the Chicago Air & Water Show that features the US Navy Blue Angels flying acrobatic team in their F-18E Super Hornet fighter planes. The forecasted "postcard perfect" Friday went off without any issues, with all fleets sailing at least three races in the best that Chicago waterfront sailing on Lake Michigan has to offer: South to southwest winds in the 8 to 14 knots range, sunny skies, clear waters, lots of chop, winds oscillating through 40 degrees. The offshore gradient was fighting the onshore seabreeze effect all day long, making it especially challenging for the tacticians. Saturday's forecast was spot on, with cloudy skies, more Southerlies but in the 10 to 19 knots range, and spotty showers. Most fleets got in three more races. Sunday dawned with a gorgeous sunrise until about 10:00 AM when an ominous line of black clouds aligned NNE/SSW and kept streaming toward the city. As the day progressed, the center of the Low moved east and those black clouds swept across the course areas, producing North to northeast winds with 20-30 degree shifts and rain showers. By the time the two scheduled races were completed, the front was off to the east and produced a day of white caps, sun, partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 70s F. The seven teams in the J/105 fleet saw a three-way battle evolve for the podium, with Judith & Ross McLean's ESPRIT D'ECOSSE taking class honors with 23 points and winning one race. Jon Weglarz's THE ASYLUM took the silver medal by just one point, everything coming down to the outcome of the last race (total 27 points). John & Laura Lutton's KINSHIP took the bronze medal by winning the last race for a total of 28 points. For more Verve Cup Regatta information, visit https://www.vervecup.com/.

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