Key West Match Race Invitational Open For Entries

19 December 2008

Chicago, IL – The Chicago Match Race Center is pleased to announce that the Key West Match Race Invitational is now open for entries, with three spaces remaining for the 8-team format. Held over 24-25 January, this will be the first match racing event in North America for 2009, and is open to any team interested in trying their skills at this most exciting form of the sport. Depending on entries, the intent will be to fulfill the requirements necessary for this to be an ISAF Grade 3 or 4 event.

"We're excited to have this opportunity to get started with our vision of increasing the awareness and practice of match racing in the US," said Bill Hardesty, Director of the Chicago Match Race Center. "There is a serious deficiency in the opportunities for Open match race sailing here compared to other countries in the world, which is why there are currently no US-based teams on the World Match Racing Tour, and the highest ranked skipper is currently 38th in the ISAF rankings. We hope to start to build a base from which new talent can get inspired and get the training and practice needed to achieve the results to change this situation."

To fulfill this vision, the Chicago Match Race Center is planning to provide match race training and clinics based from Belmont Harbor in 8 new-purchased TOM 28’s, a Ceccarelli-designed 28-foot keelboat used for match racing throughout southern Europe. The center plans to open for the 2009 season in May, with more details of individual and team participation opportunities forthcoming.

The format for the event in Key West is for eight teams to compete in a single round-robin, followed by Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals, and Finals to determine the winner. Racing will be held in Melges 24 class yachts, with each team providing their own boat and required to comply with class rules. A nominal entry fee of US$100 is required of each team, and close of entries will be 10 January 2009. Daily debriefs will be held by umpires Tom Rinda and Dobbs Davis, and race management will be provided by PRO Ken Legler.

For more information and the Notice of Race for the Key West Match Race invitational, visit the Chicago Match Race Center website at www.chicagomatchracecenter.com. For information and application to receive an invitation to the event, contact Bill Hardesty at invites@chicagomatchracecenter.com or phone him on +1 619 838 5101.