Southern Comfort

12 April 2014

Charleston, SC - After a festive Friday afternoon at the Patriots Point regatta village, and later in downtown Charleston, the Audi Melges 20 fleet welcomed a morning delay in the racing to collect their thoughts, recall stories from the night before, and get properly hydrated as the forecasted sea breeze made its way to the race course. PRO Hank Stuart did a nice job of being patient and waiting for the breeze to settle. Eventually, the first start of two more races (Race Five and Six) commenced around two o’clock under bluebird conditions.

Once the breeze arrived, it was slightly more left than the first day, making for steadier conditions in the 7-10 knot range, but with plenty of gains and losses to be had on big shifts. The current was in full flood by the time racing started, providing a solid left to right push on the course, and as Race Five started, many teams were searching in the dark trying to figure out what the breeze was doing and if there would be any relief from the adverse current heading to the upwind mark.

Continuing on their impressive first day, Jason Michas on Midnight Blue played the middle right going upwind and was able to get across the fleet despite what looked like better pressure left. Like putting a nail in a coffin, Michas extended his lead and finished with an impressive win, followed by local Charleston rock star David Dabney on Stemmed, and a hard charging Richard Davies with his Section 16 team.

Heading into Race Six, there was more fool’s gold on the left side of the course with what looked like better pressure, but with slight current relief and right shifts pulsing over Folly Beach, boats that were able to dig right and be patient were pleasantly surprised with good position and a nice current push up to the layline.

Hot off the blocks in Race Six was Rob Wilbur's Cinghiale who used a lefty at the bottom to take all the way to the upper right, followed closely by the enthusiastic Skip Shapiro on Makaira who has improved steadily over the past few events. "I really enjoyed today, the racing was really tight, and any mistake cost you boats. The breeze was not as crazy as yesterday and we did our best to stay in the pressure and make sure we had a nice current lift on starboard coming into the mark," stated Shapiro after taking second and getting nipped at the line by Wilbur. Posting a solid day, Michael Kiss' Bacio took third to climb the standings.

After a very civilized day of sailing, many teams were feeling refreshed and immediately dove into some cold refreshments to kick off a Saturday night in Charleston. Although Michas has a huge lead, with the conditions being as difficult as they are, there could still be a shake up in the standings.

Overall, Davies now commands the second overall position, with Grace Lucas on Bombarda holding steady in third.

More racing, the final day happens Sunday.

As with other Audi Melges 20 events in North America and around the world, racing updates will be posted online at the Official Audi Melges 20 Facebook Page. Tune in for the latest racing information, results, video interviews, and photos. Race reports, press releases and photos will be available online each day post racing at melges20.com.

TOP FIVE RESULTS (After Six Races, One Discard)
1.) Jason Michas/Mark Mendleblatt, Midnight Blue; 2-1-4-3-1-[8] = 11
2.) Richard Davies/Charlie McKee, Section 16; 10-4-[16]-1-3-5 = 23
3.) Grace Lucas/Sam Rogers, Bombarda; 1-8-[13]-5-7-4 = 25
4.) Travis Weisleder/Scott Nixon, Lucky Dog/Gill Race Team; 8-[10/ZFP]-7-2-2-5-6 = 28
5.) Michael Kiss/Chris Rast, Bacio; 5-7-9-[13]-4-3 = 28
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Official Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 Website
Yachtscoring Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014