New Leadership on All Fronts at Melges 20 Nationals in Charleston

16 April 2016

Charleston, SC -  All things change on Day Two at the 2016 U.S. National Championship being held in conjunction with Sperry Charleston Race Week. It was a stunning day of sailboat racing with great breeze and tons of action.

Deeper finishes for overnight leader Jason Michas on Midnight Blue opened a door of advancement opportunity for Daniel Thielman on Kuai. From the start, it was obvious that the battle was on between Thielman and Michas.

Thielman came on strong early winning the first race of the day, closing the points gap between himself and Michas substantially. Tom Kassberg on Flygfisk did well to finish in second and Cesar Gomes Neto on Portobello found his best Saturday groove to round out the podium.

Race Six gave way to a heated battle at the top, on the last beat between top Corinthian Justin Quigg on Character 2.0 and Russ Lucas’ Shimmer. Simultaneously, Thielman maintained great position approaching the mark from the left. Quigg, Lucas and John Brown’s Blind Squirrel charged hard and lined up to round respectively. Quigg took the lead on the final run to the finish, Lucas rounded second and Thielman just squeezed in ahead of Brown for third with a lot of separation from the rest of the fleet in the breezy 14-15 knot northeasterly.

With Lucas on the right and Quigg trying to maintain speed and position, Thielman was hot on his heels for what would be an exciting finish. Quigg gybed beautifully to take the win at the finish line leaving a fierce fight between Lucas and Thielman. Lucas grabbed second place by a hair with Thielman placing third.

At this point, six races were on the board and a discard went into play. Thielman’s strength was apparent as he moved into first place overall going into Race Seven, three points ahead of Michas.

Quigg was on fire in Race Seven stirring a continuous back-and-forth battle with Thielman. On the final run it was four wide with Quigg, Thielman, Brown and Lucas challenging for the win. A very fast downwind sprint made the finish all the more exciting with Quigg getting another bullet, Thielman finished second, Lucas third, Brown fourth and Rhonda Joyce’s Grinning Streak basked in fifth place Charleston sunshine!

For the start of the final race, Thielman was now on top of the scoreboard six points ahead of Lucas now in second and Michas third.

With the breeze increasing up to around 20 knots for the final heat of the day, Lucas ‘Shimmer’ed his best ending the day on a high note with a win. A big fight for the top five positions ensued between Joyce, Michas, Thielman and Tom Kassberg on Flygfisk. In the end, Michas took second, and Joyce had her best finish yet this weekend in third. Thielman finished a moment ahead of Kassberg for fourth.

Sunday marks the final day of racing in Charleston.

If you did not make it to Charleston to race or watch the excitement in person, never fear… Live Race Tracking is in play this year. Check out this Live Race Tracking Site to check out the action as it happens.

TOP FIVE RESULTS (PRELIMINARY - After Eight Races, One Discard)
1.) Daniel Thielman, Kuai; 2-3-1-[6]-1-3-2-4 = 16
2.) Russ Lucas, Shimmer;  [6]-2-4-1-6-2-3-1 = 19
3.) Jason Michas, Midnight Blue; 1-1-2-3-5-7-[10]-2 =21
4.) Justin Quigg, Character 2.0; 5-5-3-4-[13/RET]-1-1-13/DNS = 32
5.) Tom Kassberg, Flygfisk; 4-6-7-7-2-6-[8]-5 = 37

1.) Justin Quigg, Character 2.0; 5-5-3-4-[13/RET]-1-1-13/DNS = 32
2.) John Brown, Blind Squirrel; 7-4-[11]-5-8-4-4-8 = 40
3.) Paul Currie, Wild Deuces; [10]-9-9-10-7-10-6-9 = 60
4.) Lance Smotherman, Details; [11]-11-10-11-10-11-11-10 = 74
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