Gulari Takes The Lead At Melges 24 U.S. Nationals
The first day at the 2011 U.S. National Championship, by Lake Geneva Yacht Club (LGYC), was nothing short of spectacular as PRO Hank Stuart fired off four heats, leaving Bora Gulari on New England Ropes in first overall, followed by Gold Medallist Nathan Wilmot at the helm of Ireland's Conor Clarke on Embar in second and reigning National Champion Alan Field on WTF in third. In the words of Field's tactician Steve Hunt, "today was breezy, shifty, tricky - a great day of racing, but really hard."
Four races and a final count of 38 entries kicked off the Championship series with a perfect 20-25 knots of northerly breeze. Gulari came on strong in race one taking the top mark in first with lead challenges from Melges and Wilmot. Downwind Gulari's lightening fast team launched their chute and punched the super speed button for an incredible downwind run, passing through the gate firmly in the lead. Melges rounded second, while Lake Geneva's Brian Porter on Full Throttle took over for third. Gulari extended for the win with Melges and Porter holding steadfast to finish second and third.
With the breeze still pumping nicely out of the same direction (350 @ 1.0 nm), the second race of the day gave 2002 Melges 24 World Champion Melges a commanding lead as he launched ahead of the fleet, feeling the effects of heavy opposition from Field. Melges, Field and Wilmot kept things tight at the top with Field moving into the lead, Melges slipping back to round second, Wilmot in third. Melges had great upwind speed playing the shiftier conditions on the right, regaining the lead and taking the win. Bruce Ayres on Monsoon finished in fourth, and Gulari in fifth.
The third and fourth races dealt the fleet tougher conditions as the diminishing breeze began to shift further. Wilmot nailed the start in race three giving him a massive lead to round the weathermark in first, with Doug Wilhelm on Wilco rounding in second, and Warren Kruell on USA-626 in third. Downwind Gulari picked up the pace to round behind Wilmot, Wilhelm hanging on in third. Wilmot took the win, followed by Gulari, then Wilhelm and Ayres in fourth. It was a dogfight on the right side of the course, to the finish between Kristen Lane on Brickhouse 812 and Porter. Lane edged out Porter right at the finish for fifth.
Race four spelled disaster for Melges and Ayres as both were called OCS, yet failed to return to the line. They were sitting pretty, as third and fourth respectively, but with heavy penalties they slid back to ninth and tenth in the overalls. Although Melges came across the line in first and Ayres in fourth, Porter took the official win after a great fight with Field who came second. Lane was third, Gulari was fourth, and Corinthian division entrant August Hernandez on High Voltage rounded out the top five.
More racing is scheduled for Saturday, where cooler temperatures, lighter and continued shiftier breezes are expected.
TOP TEN RESULTS (PRELIMINARY OVERALL, After four races)
1.) Bora Gulari, New England Ropes; 1-5-2-4 = 12
2.) Nathan Wilmot/Conor Clarke, Embar; 4-3-1-6 = 14
3.) Alan Field, WTF; 7-2-12-2 = 23
4.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 3-17-5-1 = 26
5.) Kristen Lane, Brickhouse 812; 14-9-6-3 = 32
6.) Peter Cucci, Matador; 5-16-8-7 = 36
7.) Guy Mossman, Battle Rhythm; 9-6-11-11 = 37
8.) Douglas Wilhelm, Wilco; 10-27-3-9 = 49
9.) Harry Melges/Henry Colie, Babs; 2-1 10-39,OCS = 52
10.) Bruce Ayres, Monsoon; 6-4-4-39,OCS = 53
A total of 12 teams have qualified for the popular all-amatuer Corinthian division. After a brilliant performance in the final race of the day, top player Hernandez takes the lead of the Corinthian division (9th overall). Former International Melges 24 Class Chairman Tom Freytag on Wicked Feet from Lake Geneva is seated second. Completing the top three is Fred Rozelle on Rustler.
TOP FIVE RESULTS (CORINTHIAN, After four races)
1.) August Hernandez, High Voltage
2.) Tom Freytag, Wicked Feet
3.) Fred Rozelle, Rustler
4.) Charlie Hess, Funtech Racing
5.) Erwan Le Gall, Aborage
Dramatic Day Two At Melges 24 U.S. Nationals Leaves Gulari And Wilmot Tied In Points For The Title
01 October 2011 – Things did not get any easier on the second day of racing at the 2011 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship, hosted by Lake Geneva Yacht Club (LGYC). Super tricky, light air conditions on Lake Geneva left some top teams right where they anticipated being score wise, others were left scratching their heads. Three more short and sweet races were completed leaving overnight leader Bora Gulari on New England Ropes and Nathan Wilmot at the helm for Conor Clarke's Embarr tied for first place in points. Gulari is seated in first on countback, Wilmot is second, while Melges is eleven points back in third.
Race one commenced under perfect fall like conditions with a light 8-10 knots of breeze out of the east. Tricky and super shifty conditions were in store for the 38-strong fleet with Wilmot, Dan Moriarty on TopNotch and Brian Porter on Full Throttle blasting up the left side, then catching some nice breeze as they approached the top mark, rounding first, second and third. Downwind Porter put the moves on Wilmot taking over the second position, Gulari stepped up his program to pass through the gate in third. Porter had great upwind speed, assuming the lead, with Kristen Lane on Brickhouse 812, moving up for second while Wilmot slipped to third. Porter continued on for the win. The Move Of The Day clearly goes to Harry Melges at the helm of Henry Colie's Babs. After a lack-luster start, Melges clawed his way from a deep fourteenth place first mark rounding to finish second. Wilmot settled for third.
As the breeze dropped off further, conditions on the course intensified the racing competition. Lane had a great, first upwind beat taking a huge lead. She led the entire race by a sizable margin, her next biggest opponent appeared to be Wilmot, and Philip Werhiem at the helm of Peter Cucci's Matador moving into attack position. About 100 yards from the finish, the top ten, which included Tom Freytag on Wicked Feet, Mike Dow on Flying Toaster, Doug Wilhelm on Wilco and Jeff Wittenberg on Tom Slick in addition to Gulari, Wilmot, Lane, Werhiem, Porter and Melges, crossed the line for an amazing, clustered photo finish. Porter, looked to the low side and was determined to remain in the hunt. Corinthian competitor and division forerunner Freytag, pulled off the win by a nose, Werhiem charged forward to take second, Wilmot took third, while the remaining aggressors fought for best finishing position.
At this point, Wilmot had the overall Championship lead, followed by Gulari, then Porter, each separated by a two point margin. With Sunday's predicted, possible super light conditions, race three would be mission critical.
With the shifting breeze, the Race Committee moved further east on the lake to accommodate a third race. Gulari had a killer start, punching the line, Bruce Ayres on Monsoon to leeward. Gulari staked his claim on race three rounding the weathermark first, Melges hot on his heels in second, Wilmot third, and Lane in fourth. As the race progressed the race leaders pressed on to the finish with Gulari and Melges match racing to the finish, Gulari taking a big win. Melges settled for second, Wilmot was third and Ayres moved up to finish nicely in fourth.
It is certain that Sunday will be a serious showdown. It will mark the final day of racing at the National Championship. Light air conditions are expected to prevail for the grand finale.
TOP TEN RESULTS (PRELIMINARY OVERALL, After seven races)
1.) Bora Gulari, New England Ropes; 1-5-2-4--3-1= 16
2.) Nathan Wilmot/Conor Clarke, Embar; 4-3-1--3-2-3 = 16
3.) Harry Melges/Henry Colie, Babs; 2-1-10-[OCS]-2-8-2 = 25
4.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 3--5-1-1-7-9 = 26
5.) Kristen Lane, Brickhouse 812; -9-6-3-8-5-6 = 37
6.) Alan Field, WTF; 7-2-12-2-11-13- = 47
7.) Peter Cucci, Matador; 5-16-8-7-12-6- = 54
8.) Bruce Ayres, Monsoon; 6-4-4-[OCS]-13-24-4 = 55
9.) Douglas Wilhelm, Wilco; 10--3-9-10-9-23 = 64
10.) Argyle Campbell, Rock n' Roll; 19-7-14-[ZFP-26]-5-11-21 = 77
Lake Geneva's Tom Freytag moved into the Corinthian division lead, with a spectacular win in race two of the day. Freytag got in on the action early, taking the win right at the line. August Hernandez on High Voltage suffered a tough day on the water, sliding back to second overall. Fred Rozelle on Rustler hangs on for third. View The Full Corinthian Entry List
TOP FIVE RESULTS (CORINTHIAN, After seven races)
1.) Tom Freytag, Wicked Feet
2.) August Hernandez, High Voltage
3.) Fred Rozelle, Rustler
4.) Charlie Hess, Funtech Racing
5.) Edward Massey, Sweet as Bro!
Gulari Wins 2011 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship, Freytag Named Corinthian Champion
02 October 2011 – Congratulations to the brand new 2011 Melges 24 U.S. National Champions — Bora Gulari on New England Ropes and crew consisting of tactician Jeremy Wilmot, George Peet, Dan Kaseler and Chris Fortine. The victory is well deserved and long overdue, as the Championship was well fought. "This feels pretty good. Not often does it come down to the last gybe as to whether or not you win a championship or not," said a very happy Gulari. "Needless to say, there was a lot of tension in the one and only race today. The last time I was this close was in 2008 when Brian Porter stole the win on the last leg of the last race, so it feels really good to have held on to win."
Nathan Wilmot at the helm of Conor Clarke's Embarr proudly took second overall. Brian Porter's Full Throttle finished third. Rounding out the top five was Harry Melges, III at the helm of Henry Colie's Babs in fourth. This was the first time since 2003 (when he made an attempt to defend his 2002 World Championship title) that Melges has helmed a Melges 24. The lovely and talented Kristen Lane on Brickhouse 812 placed fifth.
Additional congratulations are in order for Lake Geneva's Tom Freytag on Wicked Feet as he is 2011 Corinthian U.S. Melges 24 National Champion. Heating it up as crew was Patrick Doran, Chris Impens and Rob Rowe. Also seated twelfth overall, Freytag's local knowledge about the lake kept him one step ahead of Corinthian division runner-up August Hernandez on High Voltage who placed thirteenth. Fred Rozelle on Rustler claimed third Corinthian overall. View The Full Corinthian Entry List
Spectators were in abundance for the final showdown on Lake Geneva, not to mention on the edge of their seats for what was going to be an exciting final race. Tension hung heavy in the air as the fleet went into sequence. Gorgeous sunshine was on tap along with some very light, shifty breeze to commence the start. Gulari shot off the line, as did Lane, Alan Field on WTF and Philip Werhiem at the helm of Peter Cucci's Matador. At the top, Lane pulled into the lead, followed by Werhiem and Gulari in third. Porter took fourth and Wilmot was fifth. Downwind, multiple lead changes occurred with Gulari moving to the front of the pack, Werhiem now in second both heading left. Porter moved up to pass through the right-side gate in third. With a shortened, change of course, Porter cashed in big with his gate choice as the breeze filled in nicely off of Cedar Point, Wilmot tagging along on his transom. Werhiem was quick to see the same breeze that Porter was enjoying, moved across the course and maintained the lead position. Porter looked as though he had the upper hand, but Werhiem rounded in sync fending off Porter one final time. Downwind the two battled to the finish with Werhiem taking the win. Further back the excitement continued as Gulari watched Wilmot move ahead of him at the mark, yet out sailed him at the finish with a final gybe to port and across the line less than a boat length ahead of Wilmot. It was an epic, right-down-to-the-wire finish as Gulari's team celebrated when they made the gybe for the finish.
MELGES ROCKED THE WORLD
After a fantastic, easy Saturday afternoon around LGYC, teams crowded into famous Gordy's for a sensational Melges Rocks Party that brought out the very best party goers in the fleet. Every team was represented. Sailors danced and partied into the wee-hours of the morning, indulging in free drinks and tons of laughter, friendships flowing simultaneously. This great celebration of the U.S. Melges 24 National Championship was held especially to the fleet by Melges USA! A very special thanks to THE MELGES TEAM and most especially, to those gorgeous MELGES GIRLS - Suzanne Melges, Candice Burdick, Chrissie VonderSitt and team helped pull out the all the stops including a rockin' DJ that had everyone dancing. The event was planned perfectly!
First and foremost, the event would be nothing with out the participation of Melges 24 owners from all over the USA and World. A very special thank you to every team that traveled from near and far!
The U.S. Melges 24 Class Association wishes to sincerely thank PRO Hank Stuart for his world-class, on-the-water race committee work, and careful guidance of the championship. LGYC was the greatest host, and worked perfectly in tandem with Stuart to deliver the best Nationals ever!The presence of Mrs. Gloria Melges on race committee meant that things were well run. A very special thanks to the grand sprawl of LGYC volunteers. So many individuals gave their time to assist with weigh-in, registration, launching/hauling boats each day, parking and selling regatta gear. The USMCA wishes to recognize the excellent work of Regatta Co-Chairs LGYC Commodore John Simms and Steve Boho, Club Manager Kimberly Bliss and Julie Navin in particular, as well as the tremendous efforts of the friendly yacht club staff. The food was incredible, the race committee and jury support was amazing. Buddy Melges was on hand too, even going as far as helping teams launch and haul boats.
The class is especially appreciative of U.S. National Championship Spectator Sponsor Sail 22 as they also furnished on-the-water updates, blogging and real-time mark roundings via the very sophisticated SailingUpdates.com. Additional media and video can be seen online, courtesy of Sailing Anarchy.
TOP TEN RESULTS (OVERALL - FINAL, After eight races)
1.) Bora Gulari, New England Ropes; 1-5-2-4--3-1-3= 19
2.) Nathan Wilmot/Conor Clarke, Embarr; 4-3-1--3-2-3-4 = 20
3.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 3--5-1-1-7-9-2 = 28
4.) Harry Melges/Henry Colie, Babs; 2-1-10-[OCS]-2-8-2-8 = 33
5.) Kristen Lane, Brickhouse 812; -9-6-3-8-5-6-5 = 42
6.) Alan Field, WTF; 7-2-12-2-11-13--6 = 53
7.) Peter Cucci, Matador; 5-16-8-7-12-6--1 = 55
8.) Bruce Ayres, Monsoon; 6-4-4-[OCS]-13-24-4-13 = 68
9.) Douglas Wilhelm, Wilco; 10--3-9-10-9-23-17 = 81
10.) Argyle Campbell, Rock n' Roll; 19-7-14-[ZFP-26]-5-11-21-7 = 84
TOP FIVE RESULTS (CORINTHIAN - FINAL, After seven races)
1.) Tom Freytag, Wicked Feet
2.) August Hernandez, High Voltage
3.) Fred Rozelle, Rustler
4.) Edward Massey, Sweet as Bro!
5.) Charlie Hess, Funtech Racing