Sunday, August 30, 2009

Melges 17 Nationals Turn Up The Heat

Photos by Andy Burdick
Melges 17 Nationals Turn Up The Heat – Four Races With Ideal Wind

The best part of day two was the perfect wind condition for the Melges 17. Ideal breeze, 10-18 mph greeted the fleet in the morning and they were psyched. We won’t mention the cool temperatures and forecast for rain showers. "As long as we have wind, we will be fine," said super crew Meg Six.

Meg sails with Coye Harrett, both from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The fleet had wind and fantastic racing today ahead as four races werer planned overall for this fleet.
Brian McMurray and his wife Deb port tacked the fleet and took off in race one and rounded the first mark in first. It was a tight race between the McMurray's, Sean and Tiffany Fidler, Coye Harrett and Derek Packard.
The McMurray's won which started them on a great day of racing. Jamie Jones the PRO fired up another race right away. The Race Committee adjusted the mark left as a slight shift came through. The second race of the day and fifth race in the championship series, was a battle between local hero Jim Hilgard and now overall leader Fidler. Mike Dow had another good race going but the real race was between Fidler and Hilgard. Fidler held off Hilgard for another race win and now has a good lead in the regatta as Ward and Dow dropped back a bit.

A big rain squall came through as the PRO sent the fleet in for lunch. Good move as the lake had some waterspouts which were quite spectacular. Very heavy rain continued through lunch but it did not bother the fleet as they were inside Glen Lake Yacht Club warm and dry. A major fire was in the fireplace there and the sailors huddled around getting dry.

"I did not realize that on my regatta inventory list I needed a ton of firewood, heck it is August," said Brad Sprouse the event chairman. Sure enough – the fleet needed firewood and some heat!
The rain cleared a bit and the wind shifted way right so a new racecourse was set and races 3 and 4 kicked off.

Sean Fidler said at lunch that they raked their mast back a few inches (from 26'10" to 26'8") and it seemed to settle the boat down in the breeze – makes sense. He then tightened his uppers and lowers 3 full turns. He had good speed but most important was his good boat handling. He and his wife Tiffany sailed the boat very well today. They escaped with a win in race 6 of the series. Rob Terry and Coye Harrett were close and they tried to track him down but could not.

In race 7 of the series and the 4th and final race of day, Coye Harrett and Meg Six put on a display of great sailing, boat handling and boat speed. Harrett tightened up their rig 6 full turns on the uppers and 4 on the lowers. Their mast rake was at base (26'10") but the increased rig tension certainly helped their overall speed as they took off and won the race big. Harrett ended his day with a 3,1 and now in third overall for the regatta. Derek Packard finished 2nd in the race and Brian McMurray finished off a great day getting 3rd in this race.

No question the fleet was tired and ready for some relaxing. Four races in one day, great breeze though and some tremendous rides downwind. It was a perfect day of Melges 17 Racing.
The GLYC put on a fantastic party tonight. Great food, a band and lots of interested members came out to meet and greet this exciting new fleet. The Melges 17 has a lot of people at this yacht club excited about fast, one-design racing.

TOP TEN RESULTS1.) Sean Fidler - 122.) Mike Dow - 233.) Coye Harrett - 254.) Brian McMurray - 285.) Mary Anne Ward - 296.) Rob Terry - 357.) Lesa Gutenkunst - 398.) Tom Munroe - 489.) Derek Packard - 5010.) Jim Hilgard - 50
View Photo Gallery