2008 Melges 17 Spring Championship, 10-11 May

12 May 2008

Lake Geneva Yacht Club rolled out the Red carpet for the Melges 17 fleet this past weekend. Sailors gathered from the Midwest and further locations such as Florida, South Carolina, Colorado. The 16 boat fleet enjoyed the opportunity to practice on Friday evening or hang out with their Melges 17 friends at the LGYC. Great food and fun atmosphere were on tap.

Racing got started around 10:30am on Saturday as the fleet waited a bit for wind to fill in. The forecast was for breeze to be E, SE 8-12. Perfect Melges 17 racing. The first two heats were lighter than 8 though. The fleet sailed two quick races in the ultra light conditions. The Melges 17 is fast and fun in these conditions too as the boat glides along upwind and downwind. Two-Time Melges 17 National Champion Art Brereton started out the 2008 season with a couple of bullets in the light air. Art was doing a fantastic job of sailing low downwind in the light air in comparison to his competition. He pulled away big time on each downwind run. Ken Wruk was second in race one and Matt Ripkey was third. Matt one of the youth sailors in the fleet sails with his father Scott and they had a fabulous start to the series as they worked the shifts upwind with brilliant fashion. Matt has gotten taller and a little stronger over the winter so he felt more comfortable in the boat and he looked fast!

The second race featured a wind shift to port with about 30 seconds to go in the starting sequence. Mary Anne Ward from Florida took advantage of this as she was on the port end. She tacked to port with about 20 seconds remaining and then proceeded to port tack the fleet in style. She crossed easily and then extended to the right hand side of the race course, extending her lead. All of this was caught on camera as Andy Burdick was in a coach boat lending tips to people while racing. The video tape of the port tack will be sold to Mary Anne at a high price! Nice start Mary Anne!

Ward sailed the shifts upwind and had a big lead at the top mark. Brereton was trying to track her down followed by the young star Matt Ripkey. As the fleet glided downwind in the light air it became apparent that the wind was shifting left. Art Brereton saw this in the downwind boats and decided to tack right after the leeward mark so that he could dig left. Ward had extended far right. When the two boats came together again Brereton had taken advantage of the wind shift and now had the lead. He never let up and went on to win race 2. Ward was 2nd, Coye Harrett another young Melges 17 sailor had a fantastic first run and finished fourth. in this race, Ripkey remained 3rd through the race.

The fleet paused for a bit as the wind decided to finally fill in and swing right. So, a little course adjustment and a little time for lunch then it was race 3 with a bit more breeze. 8-10 was the velocity out of the SE.

Jeff Lewis from Appleton, Wisconsin sailed a great third race to end up 3rd in this heat. Art Brereton continued his winning ways and won race 3. That is three straight bullets for his team. Matt Ripkey showing that he will be tough this year was 2nd so he now had a 3,3,2 going into the fourth race of the series.

Finally someone broke the streak. Coye Harrett wins race 4!!!!! Nice job Coye! David Harrison from Oshkosh was winning this race for a long time but Coye snuck around him. Harrison was sailing with his new wife and it was great to not only see them out there but to see them sailing so well. Dave did a nice job throughout the regatta. Thanks for coming to the regatta Dave and thanks for getting your wife involved with the sport of sailing!

The wonderful RC of Jeff Lebonte and Dave Porter decided to do a 5th and final race for the day. The forecast for Sunday was 30mph winds, 43 degrees and rain. Not a good sailing day! So, the RC wrapped the event up with this fifth and final race on Saturday afternoon and the fleet was psyched!

Better breeze moved in for race 5 and Art Brereton with his crew of Harry Melges loved that. They went on to win race 5 and the regatta. Nice job! Jeff Lewis had a 3,7,2 in the final three races so this tune up event was helping him big time. They were 2nd in race 5 followed by Matt Ripkey.

Thanks to LGYC’s Scott Ripkey, chairman Ken Wruk and Sailing Director Kevin Jewett for their efforts at the regatta. Also, LGYC’s manager John Schnupp for a great dinner on Saturday night. The post race meal was perfect and with the handing out of the awards we had a wonderful evening. The Chocolate cake was good too!

Check out the results and photos from the regatta!!!


  1. Art Brereton
  2. Mary Anne Ward
  3. Coye Harrett
  4. Matt Ripkey
  5. Ken Wruk
  6. Blaine Unicume
  7. Jeff Lewis
  8. Bill Wiggins
  9. Mark Unicume
  10. Lesa Gutenkunst
  11. David Harrison
  12. Davis Wall
  13. Peter Tourmanoff
  14. Peter Slocum
  15. Thomas Paine
  16. Ben Biwer