A strong cold front coming through Chicago created gale-force winds and huge seas on Lake Michigan, postponing racing at Navy Pier until the wind abated to a sailable 20-25 knots by mid-afternoon.
Event managers decided to sail the top eight teams in a first-to-three point Quarter-Final round, with the TOM 28's providing exciting action for sailors and spectators alike under reefed mains and spinnakers stretched to their limits.
The first pairing was between Pierre Morvan and Don Wilson, with Morvan taking the first two in a decisive style that showed why he's the top seed in the event and winner of the Round Robin. Match 3 looked as though it was going to go the same way until Morvan hooked and towed the leeward mark and tackle with his keel just off the start. Unable to free his boat from the mark for several minutes, Wilson sailed around the course virtually alone to take the win. But the top-seeded French team came back strong in the fourth match to take the win and their place in tomorrow's Semi-Finals.
The next pairing has not yet yielded a winner, as Phil Robertson initially had Bill Hardesty against the ropes by winning the first two matches. But Hardesty came back strong in the next two to tie the series and remain as the last hope for a US team to get to the Semi's. But before a fifth deciding match could be sailed, a squall packing 50 knots and hail descended on the course area, scattering sailors, umpires, race managers and spectators for the day.
The third pairing of Reuben Corbett and Keith Swinton was, like the first pairing, decided in only three matches, with Swinton earning his place in the final four.
And the last pairing of Taylor Canfield and Alvaro Marinho went to four matches in a hotly-contested series featuring numerous lead changes and penalties as Canfield fought back hard from a 2-0 deficit to win the third after a very close start. In the fourth match, Canfield's penalty in the pre-start was quickly offset by one levied at Marinho, and the two fought hard throughout the remainder of the match, never separated by more than two lengths in one of the most exciting matches of the series.