Ken Wruk Wins 2008 Melges 17 Midwinter Championship — Perfect Conditions For Final Day
11 March 2008
Due to high winds, no races were sailed Saturday. Sailors were forced to resort to auxiliary activities. Bowling!! In addition to being one of the premier racing fleets on the water, many sailors in the Melges 17 fleet proved to be excellent bowlers.
It was cold Sunday, and some even reported frost as they uncovered their boats. This was a rare experience in Florida. As the sun came up, the sailors headed out for the days racing in heavy spray gear and winter hats. Cold, but heated up fast!!
Sandy Sundberg and his PRO team were right on time with a 9:30 AM start for race 1. The breeze was a perfect 10-12 knots. Racing was close up the first leg.There were many lead changes, as the fleet tried to figure out the tricky winds. At the windward mark it was Bill and Angie Wiggins followed by Mary Anne Ward and Blaire Ross. These two were able to extend downwind, and separate themselves from the fleet. With their new 'Melges Rocks' spinnaker, team Wiggins proved they were a dominant team sailing downhill. They were able to lengthen their lead around the entire course, and won by a nice margin. Ward was second followed by Ken Wruk in third. The downwinds were exciting in these conditions. Tactically, many gains and losses can be made in these boats downwind. You really need to find the pressure and stay in it for as long as you can to keep the boat going top speed.
The breeze had now settled in nicely for race two of the day. Ken Wruk played in safe off the line and got a great start right in middle. This team used their speed and tactics to work up to the front of the fleet, and eventually they led at the first windward mark. Following in second was Jordan Wiggins who was filling in for Ron Baerwitz. Jordan is 10 years old and a competitive opti sailor. It was great to see such young talent sailing these boats!! Jordan was able to challenge Wruk downwind, but Wruk proved too much to handle upwind. Wruk went on to win this race, Jordan Wiggins second, and Mary Anne Ward rounded out the top three.
With one final race to go, Ken Wruk and Tommy Clough were the regatta leaders. They had a two point lead over team Baerwitz/Wiggins/Kimball. The racing had been close leading up to this point, and Wruk and Clough had had their eyes on them for most of the day. They had been tacking on and covering this boat any chance they could. A good strategy that had worked for the first two races.
The third race started in a dying breeze. The wind proved to be very tricky up the first beat. Mary Anne Ward and Jordan Wiggins got off to great starts only to see the wind cave on the left side and the fleet sail by. Not a pretty sight for those two! Knox Rodgers and Wruk led most of the race. Wiggins and Ward battled hard to get back into this race in the shifty conditions. On the final beat things got really crazy. The leaders, Rodgers and Wruk, sailed into a massive hole. Several boats were able to pass these two, and one of them was Jordan Wiggins. The Championship was now up for grabs. Wruk was close and fighting hard to stay there. Mike and Drew Sayce went on to win arguably the hardest race of the regatta. Jordan Wiggins was able to finish fourth with Wruk in sixth. Not enough to pass Wruk for the overall regatta lead. Ken Wruk and Tommy Clough sailed a great series to win their first Midiwinter Championship. Congratulations!
MELGES 17 2008 MIDWINTER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS : FINAL
- Wruk/Clough- 13
- Baerwitz/Wiggins/Kimball- 14
- Wiggins/Wiggins- 22
- Sayce/Sayce- 24
- Gutenkunst/Gutenkunst- 27
- Kiss/Kiss- 31
- Ward/Ross- 32
- Rodgers/Adams- 37
- Branford/Blouin- 41
- Unicume/Sutherland- 43
- Wynkoop/Howell- 55