Match Racing is a form of sail boat racing where two competing teams race one on one against each other.  It has its own set of rules (Appendix C) in addition to the regular Racing Rules of Sailing.  Some feel that it is the ultimate test of a sail boat racer’s abilities and skills.  That is why it is the format chosen to decide the winner of the most prestigious trophies in sailing: The America's Cup, is deemed the oldest continuously raced match regatta in the world. The Richardson Trophy with its long history ranks second in this category.

The Richardson Trophy was established in 1912.  "Commodore S. O. Richardson, Jr., of the Toledo Yacht Club, Toledo, Ohio, donated a silver trophy to encourage match sail yacht racing between substantial yachts representing various of the Great Lakes"

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Chris Van Tol Captures 2009 Richardson Trophy Championship for
Detroit Regional Yacht Racing Association

 
More about match racing, events and clubs with active match racing programs in The Yacht Racing Union of the Great Lakes (YRUGL).
2009 Richardson Trophy Match Racing Championships
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Richardson Cup 2009

A Crew Perspective By Michael B. Hoey

It was June 18th, 1924 when English mountain climbers George Mallory & Andrew Irvine looked at the path before them. Climb the coldest place on earth: Mt. Everest. Five times they had tried to climb Everest and five times they had failed.

It was October 8th, 2009 when Dutch sailors Chris & John VanTol and Irish veteran, Michael B. Hoey, looked at the path before them. Sail in the coldest place on earth for the 2009 Great Lakes Match Racing Championship: Wayzata, MN. Five times they came within close reach of the summit and five times they had failed.

The winner of the event would be awarded the coveted Richardson Cup. The Richardson Trophy was established in 1912 by Commodore S. O. Richardson, Jr., of the Toledo Yacht Club, Toledo, Ohio. It is a Sterling Silver Trophy (created by Tiffany & Co) which is the second oldest sailing trophy in US history. The 2009 event was the 70th running of the Richardson Cup.

Flash: Friday- Wayzata Yacht Club- Lake Minnetonka greeted 11 different teams with brisk winds and 45-50 degree temperatures. Your BYC team finished the day with a 4-2 record to start the 11 team round robin series. Two other teams, Steve Lowery and Lars Hanson, finished the day a perfect 6-0.

Flash: Saturday- the sea was angry…. like an old man trying to return soup at a deli. Temps now plunged into the 20’s and the forecast was for a high of 34. Winds were 15-25 mph with a wind-chill of 18 and a layer of steam blowing from shore to shore. The J22s were covered with about an inch or so of snow. Our team scrambled to the local Target and bought up critical winter gear that included fake fur hats and gloves. Tactic: the warmest team will win. This day our team went unbeaten; finishing out the round robin 8-2.

Flash: Sunday: 6-10 knots, 40 degree temperatures

Final 4:

1st spot - Steve Lowery: 9-1
2nd spot - Lars Hansen: 9-1
3rd spot - Chris VanTol: 8-2
4th spot - Mark Johnson: 6-4

Steve Lowery, 2008 Richardson Cup winner, picks Mark Johnson for the first to 2 points semi-final. The other semi-final features VanTol vs. Hansen.

Result- Lowery wins 2-1 & VanTol wins 2-0.

Final Flash: The finals. Team VanTol vs. Lowery: First to 3 points.

Race 1: Lowery squeaks a two boat length win
Race 2: Lowery wins 5 boat length.
Race 3: Back against the wall- VanTol wins by ½ a leg.
Race 4: Momentum has swung -VanTol wins by a leg.

Race 5: 8 minutes remain to the 2:30pm warning signal cut off. Warning signal Foxtrot is posted. Race on. Pre-start: boat boats battle for pin bias and a last second hook on Lowery flicks the veteran with a penalty. But Captain Crash, aka Chris Van Damage, sold the 2nd luff too hard; tap tap tapping Lowery’s stern quarter. Flags go up on both yachts and a long delay on the umpire boat ensues. The call: blue & yellow!

With offsetting penalties the spectator crowd of 30+ brings up the noise level to that of a ballgame. Positions swing radically in the shifty conditions. On the last downwind, Lowery leads by 10 ft at the last windward mark. Both boats initially carry on the final run within inches. Our final move is signaled out by the cagey bowman who somehow signals for a fake gybe as he wrestles the pole. Our vessel surges to starboard and swings radically to port; Lowery takes the bait and has already gybed to starboard. With more pressure in hand and the starboard advantage...Team VanTol sails on to reach the summit in the 2009 Richardson Cup. No loss of Sherpas.

Skippers Full Name
Nation (e.g.ITA)
ISAF Sailor ID
Round Robin 1 Wins
Wins from
Knock-out Round
Total Wins
Final Position
Chris Van Tol
USA
USACV1
9
5
14
1
Steve Lowery
USA
USASL11
9
4
13
2
Lars Hansen
USA
USALH4
8
2
10
3
Mark Johnson
USA
USAMJ26
7
2
9
4
Josh Kerst
USA
USAJK57
6
3
9
5
Sarah Bury
CAN
CANSB8
6
3
9
6
John Peterson
USA
USAJP46
4
2
8
7
Riccardo Navon
USA
USARN26
3
0
3
8
Keith Ziegler
USA
USAKZ4
2
2
9
Tim Carlson
USA
USATC66
1
1
10
Dan McNamara
USA
USADM39
0
0
11
             

Perspective of the defending Champion

The 2009 Richardson Trophy held at Wayzata YC on Oct 9-11 in Minnesota was a character building experience. My crew reminded me to bring my dry suit before the event and they weren't wrong! I've never worn a dry suit in a J22 or any other keel boat but the early winter that hit us during the regatta made it an easy decision. Friday was relatively normal with 45 degree weather and sun but Saturday was a different story when we woke up to 26 degrees, snow, and whitecaps and mist on the water. After a two hour delay we were racing, although bumbling around in my heavy winter gear and rubber gloves led to some rather unsightly roll tacks on my part. Despite the weather, the organizers were able to run all the races as planned with us leading the round robin. The semifinals against Mark Johnson went well for us at 2-1. The finals against Chris Van Tol were tougher with us winning the first two but losing the next three, letting Chris win the championship. We definitely felt that we had upped our game over the year, but there is more to go. We'll be back to try again next year. 

Steve Lowery
Sailing for Highland Park Yacht Club and Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation

 

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The Wayzata Yacht Club race committee did a terrific job, keeping things rolling smoothly throughout. This year the event OA provided for a strong umpiring team including 2 international umpires, 4 international judges, 2 national umpires, 2 national / senior judges and several umpires-in-training. Potential umpires in training were treated to an event starting seminar along with it being open to the club members and public. In doing so, this event also served as a significant umpire training event for qualifying new match race umpires in the Midwest.

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