Mike Dow Leads The Melges 17 Blue Water Regatta

Mike Dow Leads The Melges 17 Blue Water Regatta

14 June 2009

Article courtesy of Coye Harrett - Lots of excitement surrounded the parking lot for the 2009 Melges 17 Blue Water Regatta and everyone was anxious to get out on beautiful Crystal Lake for some great racing. The sailors arrived at the yacht club with an East thermal that filled the lake nicely for about thirty minutes and fizzled out, much like an East wind does on Crystal. The initial start time was supposed to be at 10 A.M. but the wind did not cooperate. Some boats had already ventured out in the East wind, only to be stuck out there after the breeze died out. The second East thermal came through and the Race Committee thought that this would be the true breeze of the day and sent the fleet out to attempt a race before lunch. Just like the first thermal, the second East wind faded within about thirty minutes and left the water without a breath of wind.

The fleet went in for lunch hoping the wind out come out of the South - Southwest in the afternoon for some good races. Just as lunch was winding down the breeze came out of the predicted direction of the South - Southwest around 5 - 7 MPH.

The courses were set as Windward Modified 2's with a closed gate, which could definitely be used as a tactical spot up or down wind. The first race, the Starboard end of the line was heavily favored along with the right side of the course. Many boats at the start used the delayed starting technique to ensure they would be on the correct side of the course. Around the first mark, Mike Dow was leading the race and not looking back. The huge starboards upwind meant gybing at the offset was a must in order to get the port angle and the breeze coming off the shore. At the finish of the first race Mike Dow had a comfortable lead, with Lesa and John Gutenkunst in second and Bob Heathcote in third.

The second race offered pretty much the same race course as the first, starboard favored line and big starboard lifts up the lake. As in the first race, Mike Dow were winning with Lesa and John Gutenkunst right behind them and Sean Fidler, who are Lighting sailors in sailing a Melges 17 for the first time, and are doing extremely well! The top three held their places till the finish while the others were shuffling around trying to catch up.

The third and last race of the day had slightly different conditions than the first two races, in that there were some port shifts on the lake. After a general recall and a little line adjustment the fleet was off. The leaders of the race came from the left side instead of the right, up in the front was Mary Anne Ward and Dave Mooring with a slight lead over Tom and Tommy Munroe and Sean Fidler. Mary Anne and Dave did a nice job putting some separation between T2 and Sean. At the last windward mark, Mary Anne gybed a few boat lengths too far past the offset, leaving the door wide open for T2 to gybe on the inside of them and take her breeze and left them in the dust. At the finish, T2 won the race with Sean in second and Mary Anne in third.

Standings after Day 1:
1.) Mike Dow 1 1 5 Total: 7
2.) Sean Fidler  5 3 2 Total: 10
3.) Lesa Gutenkunst 2 2 7 Total: 11
4.) Mary Anne Ward 6 4 3 Total: 13
5.) Tom Munroe 9 5 1 Total: 15
6.) Coye Harrett 4 7 4 Total: 15
7.) Jim Hilgard 7 6 6 Total: 19
8.) Bob Heathcote 3 9 8 Total: 20
9.) Brad Sprouse 10 8 9 Total: 27
10.) Brian McMurray  10 10 Total: 28
11.) Bruce Patterson 11 11 11 Total: 33

Very tight racing, be sure to check back to see the final scores!

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