Just A Perfect Day — Audi Melges 20s Complete Two More National Championship Races

18 April 2015

Charleston, SC - What started out as doubtful, turned into wonderful for the Audi Melges 20 fleet participating in the 2015 U.S. National Championship held in conjunction with Sperry Charleston Race Week (CRW). Teams awoke to more rain, overcast skies and worry that racing might not even take place on Saturday (based on multiple forecasts from a variety of prediction centers). As teams congregated at the Carolina Yacht Club (CYC), catching up with friends, playing cricket and in general, keeping pre-occupied, they hung on every word broadcasted by the Race Committee as they sounded their intention for the day.

Finally, the signal was given for a 3 o’clock warning. The breeze filled in beautifully to the tune of 8-10 knots of breeze, sunshine and blue skies. Everyone was definitely counting on at least one race, and instead was pleasantly rewarded with two.

Race Four in the CRW Series got off to a clean start with Drew Freides helming Pacific Yankee and Richard Davies driving Section 16 battling hard on port in full charge at the top mark. Freides rounded in first as Drew Weirda’s Peshmerga squeezed in between to round second with Davies in third. Downwind Freides held his lead while Wes Whitmyer’s Slingshot, Bob Hughes’ Heartbreaker and Paul Reilly’s Red Sky found their way into the mix of top contenders. Freides went on to secure the win, Davies finished in second and Weirda was third.

"We had a good start and sailed well,” commented Mark Ivey, tactician aboard Pacific Yankee. “We positioned ourselves to do well. We didn’t over react and we didn’t risk anything. We just sailed a good race — a textbook race.”

California's Tom Kassberg on Flygfisk has had a stellar event thus far and managed to find the right groove to grab fourth ahead of Hughes in fifth. “I think the race committee definitely knew what the weather was going to do, that is for sure,” said Kassberg. “It turned out to be a perfect day. It actually reminded us a lot of San Francisco Bay with the currents, maybe not so much the light air, but definitely the current. It was good and it was a lot of fun. We had a nice long line and it was relatively straight forward on how to get off the line and go.”

The last race of the day was equally as beautiful, and this time it was Davies’ turn to shine. Davies, who is also the Audi Melges 20 North American Fleet President came on strong early to overtake defending Charleston Champ Jason Michas on Midnight Blue for the lead and ultimately the win. Michas gave it his all but could only come up with a second place finish — a finish that was good enough to put him right where he wanted to be — first overall. Hughes had a banner race to finish third.

In the Corinthian Division all things changed with Robbie Wilkins on Vamoose overtaking the Corinthian lead ahead by two points. Paul Currie on Wild Deuces now sits in second with John Brown’s Blind Squirrel in third.

After racing, teams enjoyed an afternoon debrief lead by Melges USA’s Andy Burdick. Free beer flowed at CYC special thanks to sponsor Kreidefels, maker of fine bags from recycled sailcloth. Panel guests included Vincent Porter from Brian Porter’s Full Throttle, Midnight Blue tactician Mark Mendleblatt, Section 16 tactician Charlie McKee and Kassberg.

Sunday will be the final day of racing in Charleston. The start time has been moved up one hour earlier than originally scheduled.

As with other Audi Melges 20 events around the world, the latest racing updates will be posted online at the Official Audi Melges 20 Facebook Page. Be sure to also follow the fleet on InstagramTwitter and YouTube. Tune in for the latest racing information, results, video interviews, and photos. Race reports, press releases and photos will also be available online each day post racing at melges20.com.

TOP TEN RESULTS (After 5 Races)
1.) Jason Michas, Midnight Blue; 8-2-3-8-2 = 23
2.) Cesar Gomes Neto, Portobello; 1-4-4-11-4 = 24
3.) Richard Davies, Section 16; 2-14-6-2-1 = 25
4.) Tom Kassberg, Flygfisk; 4-3-8-4-8 = 27
5.) Wes Whitmyer, Slingshot; 7-5-5-6-7 = 30
6.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 11-1-2-18-5 = 37
7.) Bruce Golison, Midlife Crisis; 5-6-1-16-10 = 38
8.) Robert Hughes, Heartbreaker; 9-11-15-5-3 = 43
9.) Paul Reilly, Red Sky Sailing Team; 10-7-14-7-6 = 44
10.) Drew Weirda, Peshmerga; 6-18-11-3-13 = 51

1.) Robbie Wilkins, Vamoose = 78 pts.
2.) Paul Currie, Wild Deuces = 80 pts.
3.) John Brown, Blind Squirrel = 86 pts.
4.) John Murphy, Solas = 109 pts.
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