Canada’s Cup 2011

For just the second time in its 115-year-old history, the upcoming Canada’s Cup, set for September 1-4, will take place on Lake Michigan. Organizers are hoping that moving the event earlier in the season and hosting it in a new venue will help increase public interest. In 2007, servers for the regatta’s host media company crashed due to high traffic during the event—a sign of how popular it has become.

Established in 1896 as a friendly challenge between the Lincoln Park Yacht Club of Chicago and Toronto’s Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the series has included 22 matches in all, with the United States winning 13 to Canada’s nine. Over the years, racing has taken place aboard a wide range of boats, including everything from cutters to 8 Meter sloops to IOR one-tonners. Since 2001 racing has been held exclusively aboard Farr 40 one-designs.

U.S. Defender Trials are set for August 26-29, and the Cup’s current co-defenders of record are the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club and the Chicago Match Race Center. Defending Cup helmsman Robert Hughes will represent MBYC aboard Heritage, battling it out off the coast of Holland, Michigan, with CMRC’s Convexity.

The winner of the trials with then sail against challenger of record RCYC, which will be represented by skipper Grant Hood aboard Vincere. Racing will feature windward-leeward courses and on-the-water officiating. According to Cup racing chairman Roger Gamache, each race will last between an hour and 90 minutes.

“It’s extremely intense, and the only thing that matters is beating one other boat,” says David Sligh, Sr., a past MBYC commodore and a current Canada’s Cup co-chair. “Watching the level of talent we have at this Cup, they’re at the top of their craft with boats that are absolutely unparalleled.”

“We cannot wait to defend the Great Lakes’ most prestigious trophy on our home waters,” says defending skipper Hughes. “The fact that it’s match racing separates it from other events, and any time an event is country versus country it’s more exciting. What is better than getting the chance to sail for your country?”

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