High Quality Fleet Ushers In The 2009 Autonet Mobile Melges 24 U.S. National Championship
11 June 2009
The 2009 Autonet Mobile Melges 24 U.S. National Championship may only have twenty-one boats registered, but a powerful majority of the teams are super-stacked with talent. This can mean only one thing. Without a doubt this National Championship will be one of the most exciting and tightest fought ever.
The Melges 24 is the standard by which all other sportboats strive to measure up to — and those that are in doubt need to stand up and take note this weekend.
Very few fleets can deliver 2007 World Champion Dave Ullman on USA-505 Pegasus 505 with Etchell's World Champions Erik Shampain and Steve Hunt, 2008 North American Champion crew George Peet and the phenomenal Brent Rhune. Ullman has held the Melges 24 U.S. National title only once, in 1996. Ullman's success in the Melges 24 is impressive. He has only sailed the boat once this year at the St. Petersburg NOOD in which he won in a fleet 45 strong. Unquestionably he is aiming for a 2-0 Melges 24 year.
One of Ullman's greatest rivalries, defending Champion Brian Porter on USA-749 Full Throttle has installed his brother John, along with 2002 World Champions Harry Melges and Andy Burdick to assist in vindicating the title. For Porter, this regatta could be pivotal. He has worn the crown a record three times (1999, 2007, 2008), as has Morgan Reeser (2000, 2003, 2005). If he does well in San Francisco, this could be a record-breaker.
The only two-time Melges 24 World Champion helmsman Vince Brun (1998, 1999) on USA-553 Bailout will be in attendance too. Brun has never won a Melges 24 Nationals, but with Seadon Wijsen on tactics, Matt Cassidy and Brian Terhaar as crew, it can be assumed that he would like to make this his first. Since the 2008 Nationals, Brun has been frequenting the fleet more and more including a great performance in Key West where he finished 7th overall.
Lady helm Kristen Lane will drive one of two Brickhouse teams USA-623 Brickhouse 623. Kristen's team is wired for success and includes 2003 World Champion Brian Hutchinson, 2005 World Champion Charlie McKee and Jon Goldsberry. She, along with her husband Peter on USA-539 Brickhouse 539 with Mark Ivey, Mark Strube and Scott Norris as crew, will be the perfect formidable opposition for Ullman, Porter and Brun.
The Melges 24 provides a healthy breeding ground for a phenomenal group of sailors called Corinthians. This Championship is not only over the top with professional guild, but extremely rich with some of the most extraordinary amateur sailors in the world. Bruce Ayres on USA-747 Monsoon has been in the fleet since the mid-nineties, and in tow is an exceptional, dedicated long-time crew of Jon Pinkney, Dave Sheldon and Don Smith. In 2008, Ayres traveled to Sardinia, Italy for the World Championship, lashed out at the European competition winning a race and finishing 22nd overall in a fleet of 114. He and his sensational team took that great experience and won the Corinthian division in Key West this year, for a second consecutive time.
Great things will be seen from Loren Colehan on USA-556 Lounge Act with good friends Jeff Grange, Jeff Otis and Tedd White. Although runner-ups to Ayres in Key West, this team has massive potential. They won the 2009 Melges 24 Spring Keel Regatta last March so, they are destined to have a great regatta.
LIVE REGATTA COVERAGE OF AUTONET MOBILE NATIONALS
Seems one of the major trends in sailing these days is to bring it closer and closer to land, and that is exactly what Autonet Mobile will be doing at the 2009 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship beginning tomorrow, Friday June 12. Watch, see and witness the racing for yourself courtesy of Autonet Mobile.
By trade, Autonet Mobile is a high-technology company who loves racing, so with professional commentating by Zach Berkowitz, they will bring to the world really hot Melges 24 racing — LIVE from San Francisco, California. Berkowitz is best known for his success in the International 14. He is a 2001 World Champion, holds 11 National Championship titles and was a Rolex Yachtsman of the year nominee.
Capture this link: http://www.autonetmobile.com/webcam/ and tune-in between the hours of 11:00 - 16:00 PST, (14:00 - 19:00 EST and/or 13:00 - 18:00 CST)
The official apparel sponsor for the 2009 Autonet Mobile Melges 24 U.S. National Championship is SLAM. Latis Yachting Solutions is the official transportation and logistics supplier. Other sponsors supporting the Autonet Mobile Nationals are, based in San Francisco, BPM — Burr, Pilger and Mayer— the largest non-national accounting and business-consulting firm in the Bay Area, Velocitek, K&L Gates, KRT Marketing and Hutchinson Sports. Also supporting the event is the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association, San Francisco Melges 24 Fleet and the St. Francis Yacht Club.
Visit the official class websites of the International Melges 24 Class Association (IMCA) and U.S. Melges 24 Class Association (USMCA). Also bookmark the Official Blog of the Melges 24. The Melges 24 can also be followed on Twitter at Melges24 and USMelges24.