Past and Current Local Sports Stars Set Sail for Charity

Athletes Battle on Lake Michigan in "Chicago Sports Commission Charity Sports Challenge" as part of Chicago Match Cup at Navy Pier

Aug 06, 2013, 09:30 ET from Chicago Match Race Center

CHICAGO, Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 


Chicago's "land-based" professional and collegiate sports stars will trade in their gloves, cleats and helmets to test their athletic skills on a new playing field: the waves of Lake Michigan as they compete in a charity pro-am sailing competition to benefit World Sport Chicago and officially kick off the 2013 Chicago Match Cup.

This contest for a cause, created by Chicago Sports Commission and Chicago Match Cup, is a fun way to introduce some of Chicago's sports stars from the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, Northwestern University and University of Illinois to the exhilarating world of competitive sailing. 

The teams will be a mix of Chicago's sports and media personalities, Alpari World Match Racing Tour professional sailors, and lucky students from Chicago Public Schools Rickover Academy.  Chicago Match Race Center, host of the Chicago Match Cup, will make a $25,000 donation on the winning team's behalf to World Sport Chicago.


Athletes competing in the Challenge:

Chris Collins, Northwestern University basketball coach

Tony Esposito, former Chicago Blackhawks goalie

Robin Earl, former Chicago Bears running back

Ron Kittle, former White Sox left fielder

Jerry Hester, former University of Illinois basketball player

Special guest at post-challenge reception: Mickey Johnson, Former Chicago Bulls power forward


Up-close, on-the-water action

** Cameras allowed on power boats to go alongside competing boats**

Post-race interviews with Chicago sports stars and professional sailors


Tuesday, Aug. 6

 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. (Open to the public)


East end of Navy Pier


Spectators invited! (Admission is complimentary)


Match racing is exciting for both the spectators and the sailors:  two boats compete head to head with the simple objective of crossing the finish line in front of your opponent. Match racing also has judges in powerboats who watch the races closely, and who dole out "instant justice" on the water. 


  • NASCAR:  All equipment is the same "box rule"; putting team work at a premium; there are 'virtual' passing lanes all throughout a sailing race (must be paying attention to wind, water and your competition to find them, however); 2 laps in the 'race track'
  • FOOTBALL: The tactician on board is akin to the quarterback: calling the plays; Match racing is like an on-field battle between a receiver and a cornerback, and the wind is the ball.  Both want to get to it first and keep it from the other, and just like in football, there are rules about how you can go about getting the wind, and if you break those rules there is a penalty.
  • BASKETBALL:  Racing sailors aim to steal their opponent's breeze just like you would intercept a pass in basketball
  • HOCKEY:  Sailing umpires and referees both intervene and provide instant justice to police competitors when rules are broken
  • BASEBALL: Boats will tack and jibe back and forth in an attempt to pass. It's a lot like the cat and mouse game of a pitcher trying to keep a good base runner close to first, so the runner can't steal second base.


This August the Chicago Match Cup, a $100,000 sailing competition and the only U.S. stop on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, will set sail alongside the Tall Ships® Chicago 2013 Festival, Aug. 6 – 11, 2013. Twelve of the world's best teams compete in match race sailing, a form of head-to-head combat similar to the America's Cup. Navy Pier's east end will be transformed, promising front-row seats, family-friendly Race Village, live music and race commentary. For more info,  Tickets are available at


World Sport Chicago (WSC) is a not-for-profit working to enhance participation in sport by youth across Chicago. As the legacy organization of Chicago 2016, World Sport Chicago works to expand existing sport programs, to increase access to new programming and to develop a deeper understanding of sport, all with a focus on applying sport as a tool for social and emotional development of youth. Since 2007 WSC has been helping schools, communities and youth across Chicago benefit from participation in sport.


The Chicago Sports Commission recruits, attracts and supports major sports events in Chicago. CSC's goal is to fill hotel rooms through sports events and position Chicago as the premier sports tourism destination in the world. For more information visit


Laura Muma


SOURCE Chicago Match Race Center