Bill Wiggins' 'Palmetto Express' Wins 2007 Halloween Regatta

Bill Wiggins' 'Palmetto Express' Wins 2007 Halloween Regatta

15 October 2007

Needless to say it was the ultimate Scow extravaganza this past weekend at the August Sailing Club at the long-running Halloween Regatta. Thirty-four MC Scows, four E Scows, five C Scows collided with the six strong Melges 17 fleet. All racing on the same course, everyone got a full dose of the speed this incredible boat is capable of especially in very testing, light air conditions.

Saturday's racing was some of the toughest sailing conditions the Melges 17 has ever seen. Husband and wife team of Bill and Angie Wiggins from York, South Carolina took the overall win, made it look easy, but it was anything but a breeze. Savannah, Georgia's John Porter on M&M Sailing Team gave him a run for the money. The racing in the M17s was by far the closest on the course of all the classes. The boats were fast, consistent and right together almost the full durations of the races.

The first race of the regatta was brutal. Very light air prevailed at the start and diminished as the race progressed. Both Wiggins and Porter were swopping sides of the course, aggressively looking for pressure. Porter had a clear lead, but Wiggins' persistance paid off as the two split the difference at the bottom gate. Wiggins took advantage of what he referred to as a 'goofy shift' on the left headed for the finish line. Porter on the other hand virtually stalled about 100 yards from the finish on the opposite side. Wiggins slid right in and took the win about three boat lengths ahead.

Wiggins lead going into Sunday's racing, in which everyone was fully convinced conditions were going to be as difficult as Saturday, however it turned out to be much, much better. Beautiful, warm sunny, blue skies really topped off the stage with a steady and more consistent breeze. The result — Wiggins got a better grip on the front side as the Palmetto Express focused on a first place finish staying mostly to the right side of the course. Again he finished comfortably ahead of Porter in second and Rodgers in third.

1.) Bill Wiggins, USA-100 Palmetto Express
2.) John Porter, USA-157 M&M Sailing
3.) Knox Rodgers, USA-188 Low Expectations
4.) Peter Marenakos, USA-110
5.) Matt Sablonski, USA-186
6.) Mike Sayce, USA-183
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