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"Finally" Harry Melges (USA 409 "Star") is 2002 Melges 24 World Champion

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2 August 2002

After five consecutive trys (crewed three times, and driven twice) Harry Melges at the helm for Jeff Ecklund captured the top spot today overall to become the 2002 Melges 24 World Champion in Travemunde, Germany. Even though Harry scored a 9th place finish and took a DNS on the last race as his discard, Harry maintained the top position. When asked to comment on how it feels to have finally won a Melges 24 Championship he said, "Awesome. I had a great crew and just sat in back and drove the boat. Both Jeff and I would like to send a very special thank you to Kristian Nergaard from Norway who really went above and beyond the call of duty allowing us to use the boat. Kristian won the Norwegian Nationals in the boat. Before that it was "Full Throttle" crewed by John and Brian Porter in La Rochelle". Jeff Ecklund also commented that this was a lot of fun and from an owners's perspective was great. When asked if we will see "Star" back again, he commented that their are plenty of regattas such as Key West and there is the next worlds championship in San Francisco next year.

Race nine began with light wind and rain. With so much excitement and adrenaline pumping a general recall on the first race was unavoidable. Once the teams settled down for second start, the rain continued to fall but by no means put a damper on anyone's determination. Around the first mark were the Italians Andrea Racchelli (ITA 438 "Altea") and M. Ziliani driving for A. Preti (ITA 193 "Ale Ali 3"). Racchelli was unable to hold on to the top spot for long. The french had an astounding day with a first place finish from Philippe Legros (FRA 193 "Cotes D'Armor") followed by Francois Le Bourdais (FRA 375 "Voiles Performance") in
second. Vittorio Strosek has a most incredible day with a third place finish. Second place position holder Jamie Lea at the helm for Richard Thompson (GBR 437 "Black Seal") finished with a dissappointing fifteenth.

At the start of the tenth and final race in the series, Andrea Racchelli (ITA 438 "Altea") put on a masterful display of his determination and ability by dominating the entire race. He and Kenneth Thelen (FIN 236 "Suunto") had a great match race to the third mark. Jamie Lea had another distinctive opportunity to show the strength and speed of his crew by moving up past Thelen to round the second to last mark in second place. Racchelli simply pulled away from the rest of the pack, leaving Lea to battle against Sebastien Col, helming for Philippe Ligot (FRA 475 "P & P Racing Team") and Bruno Jourdren (FRA 472 "Pokemon"). Jamie pulled away to almost catch Racchelli again but had to settle for second place, Col found himself in third place, followed by Thelen in fourth and Bruno in fifth.

Overall results leave us with Harry Melges as our champion, Sebastien Col in second place up from yesterdays fifth position, Jamie Lea fell from second place to third and Bruno Jourdren moved up from fifth position to fourth.

Final Results

  1. USA 409 - Harry Melges / Jeff Ecklund - 11, 1, 1, BFD/RDG, 3, 2, 3, 2, 9, DNS = 36 points
  2. FRA 475 - Sebastien Col / Philippe Ligot - 22, 9, 13, BFD, 6, 7, 9, 4, 6, 3 = 64 points
  3. GBR 437 - Jamie Lea / Richard Thompson - 18, 7, 14,1,4, 3, 2, 18, 15, 2 = 66 points
  4. FRA 472 - Bruno Jourdren - 33, 23, 11, BFD/RDG, 7, 1, 1, 8, 10, 5 = 75.5 points
  5. FRA 173 - Oliver Ponthieu - 7, 30, 5, 4, 5, 25, 16, 1, 5, 8 = 76 points
  6. NOR 249 - Kristopher Spone / Neils Hauff - 9, 15, 3, 2, 1, 20, 24, 11, 26, 54 = 111 points
  7. GBR 484 - Rob Smith / Stuart Simpson - 10, 5, 4, 14, BFD, 8, 11, 3, 44, 25 = 124 points
  8. FIN 236 - Kenneth Thelen - 4, 31, 17, 8, 11, 9, 28, 23, 23, 4 = 126 points
  9. FRA 370 - Sylvain Mizzi / Demitri Nicolopoulos - 32, 14, 2, 22, 22, 5, 41,12, 25, 6 = 140 points
  10. MON 429 - Antoine Fickley / Benjamin Cohen -13, 19,9,17,15,12, 45, 12 = 140 points

Be sure to tune in again next year for the latest daily news and updates from San Francisco, California in the US - home for the 2003 Melges 24 World Championship hosted 9 - 17 October,
2003.

For more information contact, Joy Dunigan IMCA Press Officer via e-mail at joy.dunigan@melges24.com