16 April 2009

Congratulations are pouring in from everywhere for 2009 Melges 17 Easter Regatta Champion Jim Hilgard! After a semi-triumphant effort in Lake Eustis, Fla. for the title of Midwinter Champion, only to be ousted at the last minute by the very consistent Lesa and John Gutenkunst, Hilgard finally got a piece of the action with the ultimate win in Charleston. As expected, the conditions and competition were primo. Way to go Jim!

It was windy both days. Hilgard sailed with local pro and former US Sailing Team member Michael Miller who according to Jim, "Michael did a tremendous job, It wasn't so much that we out-sailed anyone, we just decided to hang in there, didn't dump over and/or make any huge mistakes."

It was so windy the first day that the MC Scows opted not to sail, and when they changed our start sequence both Lesa and John missed the gun, as would have Hilgard had he not have had Miller. It was too much upwind for the husband and wife tea, of Bill and Angie Wiggins so they retired from the first race. The Gutenkunst's held steady. Others elected not to race due to the short amount of practice time they had. After that race, all racing was abandoned for the day. 

Day two provided additional breeze on conditions and two final races, still some teams opted not to race due to such heavy air conditions. Wiggins brought out a new crew member for day two. At the first mark, Hilgard hit the pin, had to turn. Wiggins and Gutenkunst headed out to the right, however Jim's speed was right on for the win.

Due to the lag time between races and dock's proximity to the finish, Hilgard headed in as did everyone else. 

Teams spent the day hauling out the boats and packing the kits, getting ready for the awards ceremony. 

The Melges 17 fleet had a great time in Charleston — they love to sail there — the breeze is always perfect, great dining experiences in the evening not to mention fantastic racing and friends!

Jim can not only add the Easter Regatta feather to his hat, he also won the Velocitek Speed Challenge in Charleston at 13.9! With big breeze conditions, the Melges 17s were rippin'!

A special thanks to all the participants, the Carolina Yacht Club and especially to PALMETTO PERFORMANCE YACHTING for transporting services. A very special gesture of gratitude extends to Sonny Meavers for opening his beautiful home to the fleet for the awards presentation.


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