Racing Season In Chicago Commences With High Speed Sailboat … – Block Club Chicago

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"[It's an] awesome place to sail, especially here in Chicago. This city is sick," Canada's SailGP Team's Phil Robertson said. His team placed third after New Zealand and Australia.
NAVY PIER — The first of two large scale races to come to Chicago’s Downtown set sail over the weekend as Chicago hosted its second Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix.
The race series, which took place Friday and Saturday, started SailGP’s Season 4 global championship.
It drew thousands of spectators along Chicago’s lakefront, many of them milling about Navy Pier to watch the competition and soak in the sailing scenes. The eastern end of the pier turned into a race village, with bars, grandstands, activities and spots to watch the race.
“[It’s an] awesome place to sail, especially here in Chicago. This city is sick,” said Canada’s SailGP Team’s Phil Robertson after disembarking his vessel Friday.
“The sort of backdrop on the race course and the breeze blowing up and down here, the fans on Navy Pier, it doesn’t get much better,” he said.
New Zealand’s team placed first in the weekend’s races, followed by Australia in second. Roberston’s Canada team placed third.
Following SailGP, Chicago will next host the NASCAR Chicago Street Race, which will take over Downtown July 1-2. The controversial race series is currently being set up in and around Grant Park.
Read more: NASCAR Pledges Safety — And Big Money For City — Ahead Of July Street Race
The catamarans are known to travel more than 60 miles per hour as they cut through the race course. The vessels made an almost jet-like hissing sound while they maneuvered in the harbor.
The weather over the weekend proved a challenge for the sailors.
Though Friday’s windy conditions were ideal for race day, Saturday’s light breeze made it so that the lightweight, high-speed boats could not execute their trademark foiling.
Canada’s Robertson noted that sailing in Lake Michigan — the only freshwater course in the racing series — makes for a different racing experience, too.
“There’s a little less density than saltwater, so there’s not much lift in the water. So you sort of take off speeds quite a lot later,” he said. “It’s a bit harder.”
Jimmy Spithill is the CEO and driver of the home team, USA SailGP Team, which placed second to last on Lake Michigan.
“On the bright side, it was great to see and hear the huge crowds at Navy Pier this weekend. Chicago is an iconic sports city and it’s an incredible place to race,” Spithill said.
“Navy Pier was buzzing with anticipation and excitement all weekend,” Marilynn Gardner, Navy Pier President and CEO, said in a press release. “We’re grateful for this rewarding partnership with SailGP and the Chicago Sports Commission.”
See more photos from Friday’s racing:
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In addition to the added security, the "most experienced" officers will patrol Lakeview in the late-night hours after the parade, interim Supt. Fred Waller said.
Founder Eric Williams said the annual show, which started as a small gathering of neighbors in a Wicker Park alley, has gotten too expensive to produce. The final edition will be July 29-30 at Oakwood Beach.
After a warm and sunny start to the weekend, showers, thunderstorms and cooler temperatures are in the forecast for Sunday and into next week.

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