Harry Melges IV Wins 2013 Melges 17 U.S. National Championship After Six Races
26 August 2013
Lake Geneva, WI — Lake Geneva Yacht Club (LGYC) played host to the 2013 Melges 17 U.S. National Championship. Thursday was to be the first day of racing and stormy weather put an end to what was forecasted to be a somewhat nice afternoon of sailing. A forty-knot plus storm rolled through with some rain, sucking the wind right out of the area for the rest of the day. The Race Committee made several strong attempts to get something started but it just wasn’t meant to be. The fleet returned to the YC for a pizza party hosted by Melges Performance Sailboats and plenty of other special treats hand made by the local mom’s.
Friday was met with a nice easterly breeze ranging from 7-11, 85 degress and not a cloud in the sky. It took a little bit for the wind to settle in enough for the Race Committee to get a start off but once they did, the twenty-six strong Melges 17 fleet were on a roll. Five races ensued throughout the rest of the day giving us some of the most fun races we have experienced this season — lot’s of lead changes, lot’s of different boats duking it out for the top spot. It was a great day of sailing for everyone.
After the first day of real racing, Harry Melges IV was in first, followed by Sean Fidler in second, RJ Porter was third and Kyle Navin and Deb Gluek rounded out the top five.
The Friday evening party at the YC was festive with live music and a beautiful Lake Geneva sunset to top off a great day on the water.
Saturday morning arrived with a few fuzzy looking faces around the club after a bit too much fun on Friday both on and off the water. The wind surprisingly showed up early at about 8 a.m. out of the Southeast. The first race started on time and turned out to be a real battle for the top spot. Husband and wife team of Sean and Tiffany Fidler won the pin and punched out for a nice lead up the first beat while the rest of the fleet jockeyed for second position. At the top mark, they rounded with a four-boat-length lead, followed by the Harry's, the Navin’s and then the Porters. The run quickly turned fickle as the wind faded and once again filled in from the South mixing up the fleet a bit. The Fidler's maintained their lead until the final windward mark where the Melges’ were able to sneak in off the left under the guise of a big lefty while the Porters closed the gap in third place. The final run to the finish got very close half way down with the Porters catching to both the Fidler's and the Melges’ making it a race to the line. The Melges’ held on for the close win while the Porters snuck by the Fidler's for second moving them up the leader board to tie on points for second place.
The second race of the day and final of the regatta never got under way. The wind faded and became really fickle and the Race Committee, after waiting an appropriate amount of time sent the fleet home.
TOP TEN RESULTS (After six races, one discard)
1.) Harry Melges IV/Harry Melges III, Zenda Express; 1--3-2-2-1 =9
2.) RJ Porter/Vincent Porter, Full Throttle; 6-1--6-1-2 = 16
3.) Sean Fidler/Tiffany Fidler, Aquila; 2--5-3-3-3 = 16
4.) Kyle Navin/Dave Navin, Five Star; 4-2--4-9-4 = 23
5.) Deb Gluek/Jim Gluek, Snack Cakes; 3-5-1-5-10- = 24
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The Melges 17 fleet is full of family teams. This is really cool to see. There are many son/daughter/father teams, wife and husband teams, brothers, cousins, you name it. It’s great to see all of the families sailing together. It’s one of the greatest things about the Melges 17 class and our great sport of sailing. It ties us together with our siblings for life and our sailing friends. The age ranges in this class are vast and impressive. It really shows how versatile and fun these boats are and how young and old are having a blast while sailing intense, competitive races.
The winning set up was base the entire event, both the rig tension and the jib leads. Maybe a slightly looser rig for the heavier teams would be good. Our keys were to start clean, go fast, go with the flow and try to minimize mistakes. Not easy to do in the tricky conditions we had.
A big thank you to the LGYC for a great weekend and especially Julie and Dave Navin and Bill Barrett for organizing this great event. PRO John Zils and his RC staff did a great job running some awesome races in tough conditions!