Breeze-on conditions put Porter's 'Full Throttle' into early Melges 24 U.S. National Championship lead, McKenzie's 'EX-KAHN' in charge of the Corinthian Division.
2017 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship Day 1
The Beauty Behind the Speed
Melges24 U.S.National Champoinship 2017 in Charleston - photo (c) JOY
April 8, 2017 - Charleston, S.C.,  U.S. -  Melges 24 teams could not have asked for more spectacular racing conditions on opening day (April 7) at the 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC). Plentiful sunshine, a shifty 20-25 knots of breeze and relatively moderate seas ushered in the event, along with a thousand smiles.

PRO Hal Smith and his race committee did an amazing job with the ideal conditions presenting three championship-style races. No more than one mile in length, the simple windward/leeward configurations provided the perfect playground for the insatiable Melges 24 fleet.

Seven-time Melges 24 U.S. National Champion Brian Porter on Full Throttle (USA-849) blistered the race course with speed to win the first race of the day. As a number of individual recalls were announced, Porter put the pedal to the metal to lead at the top mark, then extended to win by a sizable margin, leaving Jason Rhodes at the helm of Kevin Welch's Mikey (USA-838) and John Brown's Blind Squirrel (USA-547) to fight for second place. Brown won the second slot, Welch came third, Steve Suddath's 3 ½ Men (USA-526) was fourth followed by Bruce Ayres' Monsoon (USA-851) in fifth.

Ayres' extremely experienced Charleston Harbor Melges 24 team proved why they are back-to-back Sperry Race Week Champions (2015/2016) in Race Two. After being called OCS, he along with long time pal Porter, had work to do to stay in contention. With the breeze still pumping at an ideal 20-25 knots, Ayres made big gains on the right side of the course, on the final run, playing the current like a fine-tuned fiddle to take an impressive first place win. Brown was second, Peter Duncan's Jigs In Space (USA-515) was third, and Porter recovered nicely to take fourth.

Another highlight of Race Two came a little after the top five crossed the finish line. A steady stream of big puffs blasted down the course touching into the upper 20s presenting spectators with a few entertaining crash and burns.

The final race of the day was a Course Five - and an absolute dogfight between Weisleder ( Lucky Dog USA848) and Porter. The tough and very challenging conditions added to the spectacle of watching the Melges 24 revel in the breeze. Upwind and down, Weisleder and Porter were neck-and-neck, continuously trading lead positions. At the final gate, Weisleder secured the lead, less than a boat length ahead of Porter up the right side of the course to the finish. Weisleder held on for the win followed by Porter, Duncan, Wes Whitmyer Jr.'s SlingSHOT (USA-747), and Welch rounded out the top five.

CLASSIC CORINTHIAN
The competition in the overall division was heated, but the same can be equally said for the all-amatuer Corinthians. These fierce, weekend warriors were commonly spotted throughout the day mixing it up in the top ten.

Atop the field is Brent McKenzie on EX-KAHN (USA-575). Keeping the points standing tight, Great Britain's Stuart Simpson on Team Barbarians (USA-691) is currently seated second, followed by Alabama's Zane Yoder on FNG/Eelsnot (USA-9) in third. Rounding out the top five is KC Shannon on Shaka in fourth, and Jay Greenfield's Old School (USA-491) in fifth.

For fleet newcomer Greenfield, packed solid with young, aspiring sailors... they had a blast. "It's the first time we have ever sailed the Melges 24 before. It was so much fun,' said Greenfield post racing. Once he took notice of being currently seated in fifth, his simple response was "We'll take it."

Racing continues on Saturday, April 8 with more sunshine and moderate breeze.

MELGES 24 MEDIA
Real-time racing updates will be coming across the U.S. Melges 24 web and social wires during the 2017 U.S. National Championship. Tune in for the latest racing information, results and updates online everyday at usmelges24.com. Each day, the USMCA will be working hard to bring you mark-to-mark action and updates via video, photos and text. Play-by-play action will be accessible at the Official U.S. Melges 24 Facebook Page. Tell your friends and be sure to LIKE the USMCA on Facebook.

TOP TEN RESULTS (PRELIMINARY - After Three Races)
1.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle: 1-4-2 = 7
2.) Bruce Ayres, Monsoon; 5-1-6 = 12
3.) John Brown, Blind Squirrel; 3-2-7 = 12
4.) Kevin Welch/Jason Rhodes, Mikey; 2-7-5 = 14
5.) Wes Whitmyer, Jr.; SlingSHOT; 7-8-4 = 19
6.) Peter Duncan, Jigs In Space; 12-6-3 = 21
7.) Michael Goldfarb, Warcanoe; 8-5-10 = 23
8.) Travis Weisleder, Lucky Dog; 25/RET-3-1 = 29
9.) Brent McKenzie, EX-KAHN; 9-9-12 = 30
10.) Guy Mossman, Jack Mormon Coffee; 10-10-11 = 31
 
TOP FIVE CORINTHIAN RESULTS (PRELIMINARY - After Three Races)
1.) Brent McKenzie, EX-KAHN = 30 pts.
2.) Stuart Simpson, Team Barbarians = 34 pts.
3.) Zane Yoder, FNG Eelsnot = 40 pts.
4.) KC Shannon, Shaka = 40 pts.
5.) Jay Greenfield, Old School = 43 pts.

 
MELGES 24 MEDIA
Real-time racing updates will be coming across the U.S. Melges 24 web and social wires during the 2017 U.S. National Championship. Tune in for the latest racing information, results and updates online everyday at usmelges24.com. Each day, the USMCA will be working hard to bring you mark-to-mark action and updates via video, photos and text. Play-by-play action will be accessible at the Official U.S. Melges 24 Facebook Page. Tell your friends and be sure to LIKE the USMCA on Facebook.

PERFECTLY PARTNERED
The USM24CA would like to extend many thanks to National Championship sponsors including World Winter Series title sponsor  Quantum Sails, the  Charleston Yacht ClubCoral Reef Sailing Apparel and, the  Charleston Visitors and Convention Bureau. The Class and event are super grateful in particular, for the support from Quantum for the World Winter Series with product. Gill will be providing great prizes to the winners in the form of custom technical gear. Gosling's Rum will be there to make sure no one goes thirsty as they serve up the best Dark'n Stormies in the world!

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION
2017 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship Chairman, Randy Draftz
Phone: +1 (843) 557 - 6082 | SKYPE: charleston.yachting

U.S. Melges 24 Class Association Admin, Joy Dunigan
Phone: +1 (912) 398-5776
Seven-time Melges 24 U.S. National Champion Brian Porter on Full Throttle (USA-849) blistered the race course with speed to win the first race of the day - photo (c) JOY/USM24CA
Bruce Ayres' Monsoon (USA-851) scored 5-1-6 on Day 1 at the Melges 24 U.S. Nationals in Charleston - photo (c) JOY/USM24CA
John Brown's Blind Squirrel (USA-547) is on third place after Day 1 tied with Monsoon being second - photo (c) JOY/USM24CA
Atop the field of the Corinthians is Brent McKenzie on EX-KAHN (USA-575) - photo (c) JOY/USM24CA
Brian Porter's Full Throttle (USA849) - photo (c) JOY/USM24CA
The Melges 24
is designed by Reichel/Pugh and built by Melges Boat Works and holds a unique position among the world's one design sportsboats as one of the most successful classes of high performance yachts. 
For more information please visit the official website of the
International Melges 24 Class Association | Kirkkoniementie 6 c 2 | 03400 Vihti | Finland