Don Wilson and his team of Nathan Hollerbach, Mark Strube and Sam Rogers have won the Chicago Match Race Center's Grade 3 Spring Invitational in a final intense day of match racing in windy and shifty conditions in which no lead was safe.
"I was very happy with his weekend and how the team performed,"
Wilson said. "Coming into the event we felt pressure because we knew we couldn't lose to [co-worker] Hans Pusch and [CMRC sailing director] Tod Reynolds. Also, this is the team we will be sailing with all summer, and our biggest lesson from the weekend was communication and how important it is."
Wilson and team started the day strong, defeating Ben Marden 2-0 in the first-to-two point Quarter-Final round, but then ran into problems early in the first-to-three point Semi-Final round against Alex Curtiss. The young representative from Chicago YC was on fire this weekend with his team of all junior sailors: they upset 2nd-placed finisher in the Round Robin Jack Jennings decisively 2-0 in the Quarter-Finals. They then proceeded to take the first win against Wilson in the Semi-Final when Wilson hit the RC boat upon entry, and after not entering and receiving outside assistance was given a black flag penalty to forfeit the match to Curtiss.
But Wilson then went on to win the next three to advance to the Final, and Curtiss said regardless he was very proud of his 4th place finish because he had "no expectations" coming into the day.
In the Final, Wilson met the Round Robin winner Pusch in the first-to-two point series and took the win in two, but not without a fight in the second match that featured multiple lead changes and offsetting penalties.
Unranked coming into this event, Pusch was very excited about his runner-up finish. "I credit a lot of my success to my teammates and how they gave me all the tools to be in the right spots and to execute [the moves]."
In winning the event, Wilson receives an invitation to the Richardson Trophy, the Great Lakes region match racing championship held at CMRC in October, as well as to the US Match Racing Championship held in Boston in September. As runner-up, Pusch will also receive an invitation to the Richardson.
Final Results, Grade 3 Spring Invitational:
1. Don Wilson
2. Hans Pusch
3. Chris Nesbitt
4. Alex Curtiss
5. Ben Marden
6. Jack Jennings
7. Tod Reynolds
8. Lars Hansen
9. Mark Johnson
10. Mauricio Gallardo