Four Races On Final Day Of The Melges 17 U.S. National Championship
29 September 2008
The 30 boat Melges 17 fleet was greeted with brisk winds on Sunday morning. A nice 8-12 Northeast wind blew down beautiful Lake Geneva for the final day of Melges 17 racing. A 9am start time allowed the judging team to get in 4 races. It was a perfect day for Melges 17 sailing and an ideal day to crown a new National Champion!
While the velocity was fairly consistent the wind shifts sure were there. From front to back, everyone had an opportunity to enjoy some big rewards on the race course. Race winners on this final day of the regatta were Vincent Porter (big lead in race one). Then Art Brereton rattled off a couple of big wins to bring him into the regatta after a difficult first heat. Then Mary Anne Ward won the final race in style with a big lead and big win! Congratulations to the race winners!
While the racing was tight throughout the fleet it was especially close between Vincent Porter and Iggy Labanauskus. Iggy is the defending champion and this year is was sailing with his superstar sailing brother and 2007 Melges 17 Inland Champion Andy. The racing went back and forth as Porter had a 1, 3 to start his series but Iggy had a 1,3. On a shifty downwind leg in race 3 Porter finally put some points on Iggy as Iggy dropped back to a still respectable 7th to Porter’s 5th.
Going into the final heat the wind had dropped considerably so it made the final race rather exciting. You could tell Porter wanted to be in the “same water” as Iggy as they sailed up the lake. Iggy was just too elusive though, he got around Porter and extended. To hold onto his lead Porter tried to roll the dice which dropped him back to a 15th in the last race to Iggy’s 3rd. Art Brereton finished a 2nd in the final heat well behind final race champion Mary Anne Ward.
Iggy is the two time Melges 17 National Champion. Congratulations to Iggy and Andy! Please see the final results posted.
With this being the Melges 17 fleet we also had some “17” Winners. All were awarded something at the trophy presentation. 17th place in each race received a Melges premium. Ben Biwer was 17th in two races! Bob Heathcote finished 17th overall and received special recognition and Toby Sutherland from Denver, Co. was the 17th boat registered! All 17!
There are many youth sailors and women involved with the Melges 17. Notably the Ripkey sailors. Matt sailed really well with fellow youth Coye Harrett. They almost won race race number 3. Matt’s sister Hannah sailed well also. This was her first Melges 17 event and her Dad crewed for her. “I made him hike”! Good for you Hannah! Bill Wiggins had a Lake Norman Youth Champion crew for him and 5th place overall in the championship went to Tom Munroe. Tom sailed with his son Tom and they were a tough tandem out there. Watching his young son crew on this boat in pretty good wind was impressive to see. They were all smiles at the awards presentation! Another couple of young guys came out from Denver’s Grand Lake Fleet. Ben Ingalls drove out to sail and had a blast on and off the water! Thank you all for coming and thank you for your youth sailor participation.
The Melges 17 is a great couples boat too! Brian McMurray and his wife sailed a fantastic regatta to achieve 4th place overall. They traveled all the way from White Lake, MI. Rob Conley and good friend Kara Kaiser were 7th. John and Lesa Gutenkunst sailed really well to be 8th overall. Lesa and John moved to Pewaukee after living and sailing a lot on San Francisco Bay and the Melges 17 was their boat of choice so they could sail and race together. Pete Toumanoff and his wife sailed well and had a 4th in race number 2. Deb and Jim Gluek are always in the front of the fleet and Dave Harrison with his wife (new to sailing) did a nice job as always on the water.
TOP TEN RESULTS(After four races)
01.) Iggy Labanauskas
02.) Art Brereton
03.) Vincent Porter
04.) Brian McMurray
05.) Tom Munroe
06.) Mary Anne Ward
07.) Rob Conley
08.) Lesa Gutenkunst
09.) Kevin Ward
10.) Brad Sprouse
So, lots of youth, lots of couples, lots of fun with the Melges 17 fleet.
Congratulations to all – see you at the 2009 Midwinter Championship in March. Stay tuned to melges17.com for updates!