Melges 32 U.S. National Championship 2015 – Winning what has become a two-day long game of hide and seek, the sun has yet to show itself at the 2015 Melges 32 U.S. Nationals hosted by the Lauderdale Yacht Club (LYC) and Bahia Mar Marina. However, the breeze and waves treated the sailors to some memorable moments.
Starting on-time, PRO Clyde Wright assembled a 1.3 nm course with the breeze out of the NE at 14-18 knots in what would be the lightest conditions of the day.
Similar to Day One, low passing rain clouds had a big effect on the breeze and getting to the edges of those clouds paid big. Finding the top right on the first beat in Race One, Ryan DeVos on Volpe picked up quick on the trend and earned a handy five-length lead at the first top mark, followed by Jason Carroll on Argo and Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio’s G-Spot. Managing the downwind well and showing some solid legs, Ryan hung on for the lead. Carroll was the beneficiary of a port/starboard collision on the second upwind beat between Dick DeVos at the helm of Delta and di Lapigio. DeVos took a spin for a foul, while di Lapigio suffered day-ending damage to the port side of their boat. Carroll slid into second place with Richard Goransson’s Inga From Sweden in third.
As the breeze ticked up and clocked right, the first race of the day was a mere appetizer to the main course that awaited the fleet as the anemometers began to read 22, 23, 24 knots prior to the start of Race Five. With teams beginning to lick their wounds, carnage began to sprinkle itself across the fleet that included Chris Wientjes on Stormvogel and Ryan DeVos both experiencing broken lower shrouds. Showing some great speed, the kids on Team Hydra hung tough after the first lap rounding the second mark in second, but were passed by Veit Hemmeter and Christian Schwoerer’s La Pericolosa and Dick DeVos on the run finishing second and third behind Carroll.
With the breeze hovering in the low 20s and the wave machine still set on high, Race Six began without delay and the fleet was treated to some truly epic Melges 32 sailing. ‘In all my years of Melges 32 sailing, these were some of the best downwind rides we have had,’ commented longtime Melges 32 Argo trimmer Chuck Norris. ‘There was a lot of water coming through the cockpit and we were doing our best to just keep the boat flying toward the leeward marks.’
Recovering from their broken shroud, Ryan DeVos and his Volpe team picked up where they left off in Race Four and led wire to wire for the Race Six bullet. Carroll and Goransson locked horns on the second upwind beat pinging each other to the port and starboard laylines. Goransson grabbed the last lefty into the mark to finish second, Carroll finished third.
Both Corinthian entrants continued to swap blows in the standings while keeping the fleet on notice, nor were they going to be overlooked. Grant Hood’s Team Quest notched a solid fourth in Race Four, while Team Hydra posted a four – five in Races Five and Six to finish the day one point ahead in the Corinthian standings. ‘Our motto of the day was safety first!’ Hydra helm Morgan Kiss said laughing. ‘We did a good job of everyone focusing on their areas while continuing to learn how to keep the boat going fast.’
by Melges 32