Strauss Leads the 2008 OSA Sailing.com Melges 24 U.S. National Championship
20 September 2008
Charleston, S.C. - Simon Strauss (New York, N.Y) on GBR-592 Simplicity sailed to perfection today maintaining his Friday night, overall lead at the 2008 OSA Sailing.com Melges 24 U.S. National Championship hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club. In second overall is Chris Larson (Annapolis, MD) on USA-655 Lightwave and in third is Brian Porter (Winnetka, Ill.) on USA-749 Full Throttle.
The second day of racing for the 44-strong Melges 24 fleet began under overcast skies, relatively calm breeze and seas. All forecasts lead the fleet to believe that the breeze would fill-in nicely and the racing results would be drastically different from Friday's monster wind conditions. The breeze picked up slightly, 5-7 knots for the first start, which by comparison to Friday's 20-25+ was quite civilized. Porter, USMCA Midwest District Governor Mike Dow (Traverse City, Mich.) on USA-613 Flying Toaster, Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) on USA-623 Brickhouse 623 and Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.) on USA-587 WTF were all in good position for the top mark rounding. Porter lead the fleet around in first, Argyle Campbell (Newport Beach, Calif.) on USA-630 Rock n' Roll in second, Lane and Field tussled for position right at the rounding. The downwind run was tricky with Porter and Campbell match racing to the gate gradually separating themselves from the fleet. Alan Terhune caught up to take third, Stuart Simpson (London, UK) on GBR-569 Team Barbarians was fourth. Lane, Paul Hulsey (Detroit, Mich.) on USA-740 Hoodlum Racing and Dow took it three wide into the left gate, Hulsey winning over Dow and Lane. The wind died down considerably as the fleet headed back upwind. Porter went on to take the win, with Campbell in second and Simpson in third.
Just before the start of race two, the wind shifted forcing the fleet into a short postponement. It wasn't long before the race committee had the course set and the fleet went back into sequence. Nerves got in the way with an initial general recall on the first start. The second start was clean with the right side heavily favored. It was a dual between Hulsey and Larson struggled for position at the top, followed by Porter and Lane. The air got really, really light and all the more trickier - especially ia in a class like the Melges 24 where deep talent is commonplace. Racing on Saturday was such a major change from the previous days raging breeze and seas. The last gate of the race spelled tragedy for Porter as he got caught up in the mayhem pushing him deep in the fleet. Simpson came out on top at the weathermark in first. Everything was shakin' downwind with a new leader. Simpson on the left with Strauss challenging for the lead, and Nixon following on the right. The right side looked to have a little more pressure as Strauss appeared to be pulling away. Lea, out on the left kept tabs on Strauss, soon leaving him to battle for position with Nixon. Nixon in the meantime also looked to be gaining on Strauss. At the finish, Lea took the win in stride a couple of boatlengths in advance of Strauss who kept the upper hand for second leaving Nixon to settle for third.
The third and final race of the day started a little after three o'clock with a building breeze. USMCA President and IMCA Vice Chariman Travis Weisleder (Annapolis, MD.) on USA-605 Carloan.com launched off the right end pin with Hulsey alongside. Upwind, the entire fleet shifted left then back to center coming up to the weathermark. Local knowledge seemed to play an important factor, with the breeze rising and a raging current in full effect, native Charlestonians John Lucas and Marcus Durlach on USA-450 Spray rounded first followed by Porter and Lane neck-and-neck at the mark, Lane won the offset jetting off downwind ahead of Porter, who experienced a short snag on the set. Porter quickly recovered as he caught Lucas/Durlach at the gate closing the margin by two boat lengths. The gate rounding, for some was more trouble than anticipated including race leader Lucas/Durlach. The strong current pushed them into the mark. Lucas, while taking his penalty turn looked back to see Porter breathing down his neck, both tacking to weather for the final upwind stretch. The current beat up on the fleet at the mark with Larson taking charge. Most of the fleet came in high above the offset to round the mark. Battling in from the left, Porter and Lucas/Durlach took it up to the mark and back downwind challenging their new adversary Larson for the lead. Larson went on to win the race with a three-way dual for second place. Strauss came out of right field for third just ahead of Porter in fourth, Terhune found the right groove downwind to make fifth.
With six races completed, including a throughout Strauss is eight healthy points ahead of second place overall Larson. Porter trails by one point, then Simpson another point out in fourth. Terhune is holding his own in fifth.
TOP TEN RESULTS (Preliminary, after six races)
- Simon Strauss, Simplicity; 4-6-2--2-2 = 16
- Chris Larson, Lightwave; 1-8-5-9--1 = 24
- Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 2-1-17-1--7 = 26
- Stuart Simpson, Team Barbarians; 7-4-11-3-1- = 26
- Allan Terhune, USA-738; 5-10-14 = 29
- Scott Nixon, Quantum Racing; -3-1-8-3-15 = 30
- Alan Field, WTF; 9-2-3-6-21-11 = 31
- Kristen Lane, Brickhouse 623; 3-9--10-4-6 = 32
- Argyle Campbell, Rock n' Roll; 10-5-8-2-16- = 41
- Mike Dow, Flying Toaster; 12--7-5-7-18 = 49
In true Melges 24 style the Corinthian division of the fleet excelled in every way possible. This stands true for Charleson's Reggie Fairchild on USA-626 Wireless as he is in first place in the all amateur division. In second overall, Paul Hulsey and his incredible USA-740 Hoodlum Racing Melges 24. Hulsey was was able to mix it up in race two of the day with Chris Larson. And, place third overall John Hamilton on USA-659 Mustang from Newport, R.I.
TOP TEN CORINTHIAN RESULTS (After six races)
- Reggie Fairchild, Wireless
- Paul Hulsey, Hoodlum Racing
- John Hamilton, Mustang
- John Lucas/Marcus Durlach, Spray
- Travis Weisleder, Carloan.com
- Gary Schwarting, Obsession
- Bill Carleton, Tiburon
- Alex Shaffer, Lamorak
- Charlie Hess, Funtech Racing
- Darren Chambers, ImageFreeway
The 2008 OSA Sailing Melges 24 U.S. National Championship is hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club and takes place on September 18-21. The Championship is sponsored by Ocean Sailing Academy, Yacht Scoring, Charleston City Marina, Cre843, ASB Flower Design, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, Quantum Sails, Sadler and Hamm , Aqua-Safaris.com, Sail22 and the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association.
The Melges 24 is designed by Reichel Pugh and considered the most unique one design sportboat in the world as well as one of the fastest-growing classes of high performance yachts. For more information visit the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association (USMCA) and the International Melges 24 Class Association (IMCA) on the web.
For more information or press photos, please contact:
2008 OSA Sailing Melges 24 U.S. National Championship Press Officer
U.S. Melges 24 Class Association Communications Director
+1 (912) 398-5776