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Second day of the 2017 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship in Charleston © JOY / USM24CA
Second day of the 2017 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship in Charleston © JOY / USM24CA

Melges 24 U.S. National Championship 2017

Wow, what a difference a day can make. This was the theme of Day Two (April 8) of the 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC).

More sunshine, cool temps, and a lot less breeze settled the fleet in well for round two of Melges 24 racing.

Three races were conducted with six-time Melges 24 U.S. National Champion Brian Porter (1999, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015) on Full Throttle (USA-849) winning all three heats. With a ten point advantage over second place finisher John Brown on Blind Squirrel (USA-547), it is highly likely that 2017 will see Porter collect a record-breaking, seventh National Championship title. Kevin Welch’s Mikey (USA-838) with Jason Rhodes at the helm, is now in third.

PRO Hal Smith got the racing started on time, despite the possibility that with a stiff, outbound current and a very shifty breeze, Race Four may not come easy. A first attempt ended in abandonment, leaving the fleet to wait for almost two hours before having another chance to start a race.

Around 2 o’clock, Smith and his ChYC Race Committee set the course and the fleet went racing. Thankfully, the breeze came in early allowing for not only one race, but three for a total of six complete, activating a discard of each boat’s worst score.

Bruce Ayres' Monsoon (USA-851) ended Day 2 at the Melges 24 U.S. Nationals in Charleston on the fourth position © JOY / USM24CA

Bruce Ayres’ Monsoon (USA-851) ended Day 2 at the Melges 24 U.S. Nationals in Charleston on the fourth position © JOY / USM24CA

Indeed Porter had a flawless day, but others managed to bask in the spotlight too such as relatively new fleet member Michael Goldfarb on Warcanoe (USA-825) scoring a second place finish in Race Five, while Corinthian George Haynie on Firewater (USA-687) also found some speed to place third. Southeast District Governor Gary Schwarting on Obsession (USA-578) grabbed a top ten finish in Race Six, as did Tom Babel at the helm of Thomas Roop’s Le Coq (USA-121).

Don’t Tread On Me

While Porter dominated today’s overall division, the fleet was under siege in the Corinthian category. Atlanta-based teams Brent McKenzie at the helm of Ex-Kahn (USA-575) and K.C. Shannon’s Shaka (USA-801) chose to ‘go to the mattresses.’ After a light, shifty and very tricky day of sailing, only one point separates these two teams with Shannon taking over the lead from Friday leader McKenzie. ‘We’re gonna take’em out’, said Reid Collins, long-time Melges 24 sailor and crew member aboard McKenzie’s Ex-Kahn. ‘Like an ‘Ex-Kahn’ would!’ he furthered in friendly banter. The perseverance of these two teams paid off nicely today as they now find themselves also in the top ten overall standings.

Stuart Simpson’s Team Barbarians (GBR-691) struggled a bit sliding back one space to round out the podium in third. Zane Yoder’s FNG/Eelsnot (USA-9) is fourth, and Lake Geneva’s, 76-year old Frank Davenport on Wild Goose (USA-736) emerged to round out the top five Corinthian standings.

Sunday is the final day of scheduled racing, where the fleet will attempt two more final races.

by Melges 24

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