Melges 17 Easter Championship ? Cold Front Mixes With Hot Racing!

Melges 17 Easter Championship ? Cold Front Mixes With Hot Racing!

6 April 2007

07 APRIL 2007 ? (Article by Sam Rogers) Most of the northern Scow sailors who make their way to the annual Charleston Easter Regatta are expecting 80 degree weather and sunny skies. Well, the sunny skies were aplenty, but the temperatures hovered around forty as everyone prepped the boats.

Along with the cold conditions, the breeze varied from 18-23 knots out of the north. PRO Tommy Harken decided to postpone an hour before the first race, a decision that did not receive much resistance. By 11 a.m., it got a little warmer and the breeze calmed enough to get everyone out on to the water to commence the first race.

When the first warning signal sounded for all the fleets, the breeze was out of the north at 12-15 knots with a few knots of adverse current. One thing is for certain about Charleston ? if you do not have sailing experience with current, you will by the time the regatta is over! Boat handling and tactical mistakes seem to be even more apparent when there is a fair amount of current on the course. In race one, it was important to get left on the course where there was the most current relief due to shallower water. Teams that decided to stay in the middle of the course found themselves bucking a 3 knot current while the left only experienced 1 knot. Quite a difference!

On the Melges 17 start, winds were 8-10 knots and the current had increased, which made for some very interesting racing. Iggy and Andy Labanauskas battled the ultra competitive M17 fleet with Bill Wiggins and his wife Angie on their tail. After the top two boats finished, the breeze dropped off further making it almost impossible to sail upwind in the current. Half of the fleet was able to finish, while the back half of the fleet fell victim to the current and had to settle for DNFs. The breeze was almost null as everyone headed back in for lunch and waited for the sea breeze.

For race two, the wind kicked in nicely at 10-12 knots allowing for two good races this afternoon. The brief break did anything but slow the Labanauskas powerhouse down. They compiled a 3, 1 finish for the afternoon and look to take their first Easter Regatta title. However, they do have their hands full and some fierce competition to hold off such as Wiggins in second with 9 points total. He and his wife have become a force to reckon with on the Melges 17 circuit. Another husband and wife team ? Bob and Kam Heathcote sailed well and spotted the number 3 slot.

Looking ahead to Saturday's racing, here's the top three standing:

1. Iggy and Andy Labanauskas (5)
2. Bill and Angie Wiggins (9)
3. Bill Fauntleroy and Tommy Clough (12)
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