Coye Harrett Takes The Win At 2008 Melges 17 Blue Water Regatta

Coye Harrett Takes The Win At 2008 Melges 17 Blue Water Regatta

16 June 2008

Congratulations to Coye Harrett on his amazing win this past weekend at the 2008 Blue Water Regatta, hosted by the Crystal Lake Yacht Club on beautiful Crystal Lake, Michigan. Battling the likes of Matt Ripkey and Bob Heathcote for the top spot, Harrett scooped up the championship in full-on Melges 17 style!

Report courtesy of Coye Harrett - Day 1 of the Blue Water regatta brought 10 – 15 mph out of the South. PRO Stu Sol set a modified windward 2 as the course to keep the races going faster. During the first race, the right side of the course paid the most dividends with consistent pressure and starboard lifts to the mark however, a few times a port lift could be found. Coye Harrett utilized the right side of the course as he led the whole race. Matt Ripkey came in second place, and Rob Terry third. The second race in the morning brought the same conditions and wind patterns as the first race. Dave Harrison led the race until the final fifty yards where he and Coye engaged in a tacking duel. It came down to the last five yards with Coye winning by a boat length. Jim Hilgard followed Dave to take third.

Over the lunch break the breeze cranked up to about 18 – 22 mph. The fleet headed out with high anticipation for the downwind rides. In order to lengthen the races, Stu added a lap. So the course was changed to a modified windward 3. By the afternoon, the breeze coated the lake with relatively the same amount of wind. Still the right side of the course paid off due to fewer waves. At the start of the third race Rob Terry and Brian McMurray took advantage of the heavily port favored line as they port tacked the fleet and headed to the right side of the course. Rob Terry was leading around the first mark with Brian McMurray on his tail. Downwind was quite a ride! During the second time upwind, the breeze began to pick up to near survival conditions. Around the top mark the wind had reached survival conditions, many competitors went for a swim in beautiful Crystal Lake. Coye was leading and made the decision not to put up the spinnaker as a conservative tactic. Matt decided go big or go home and threw the kite up, although by the time the it was up, they were passed the lay line and did a Mexican gybe to pull the spinnaker back in the boat to head to the leeward mark. By the last time up to the finish, the lake was filled with white caps and one to two foot waves. Everyone’s mains were inverted and skippers and crews were hiking for their dear lives. Coye’s conservative decision not to put the spinnaker up paid off as he won the race. Matt Ripkey edged out Bob Heathcote for second.

The Saturday night social event took place at the Wynkoop estate, where grill master Bob cooked hamburgers and hot dogs.

Day 2 of the Blue Water called for isolated thunderstorms and winds from the South around 8 MPH. Once again the weathermen were wrong. It was a perfect morning for sailing, sunny and windy. The wind picked up to 10 – 15 mph. The fleet went out for a 9:30 start in these perfect conditions. The same course was sailed as day one. Even though the wind was from the same general direction, the favored side of the course was left as the more consistent pressure filled in for a nice port lift to the windward mark. Coye Harrett rounded the mark in first followed by Matt Ripkey and Bob Wynkoop. Right as Coye set his kite in time for a puff that increased the lead. Matt had spinnaker issues and was forced to go to shore to tend to it. Bob’s spinnaker went up easily and was trying to hunt down Coye. Both teams rounded the bottom mark without trouble. Both teams played the shifts perfectly up the course. Once at the final windward mark the wind kicked up to 25 – 30 mph as a thunderstorm was on the horizon. Coye tried to gybe just before the lay line but Mother Nature put them in the drink. Bob caught up to Coye’s lead and doused the spinnaker halfway down the run to be conservative. Bob rounded the bottom mark with an insurmountable lead. About a minute before Bob would have finished, Stu pulled the plug on the race due to the nearing thunderstorm and lighting flashing. Everyone made it back to the club without too many troubles and sat under the awning of the yacht club as and watched the squall take our wind. Once the storm cleared up there was a glimpse of hope as some breeze filled the lake. Stu set the final race time for 12:30, but the wind turned out to be a thermal and the time limit was drawing closer. Shortly after 1 O’clock the regatta was declared done. The final standings were as follows:

1.) Coye Harrett
2.) Matt Ripkey
3.) Bob Heathcote
4.) Jim Hilgard
5.) Rob Terry
6.) Dave Harrison
7.) Bob Wynkoop
8.) Brian McMurray
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