Melges 20 Worlds Gets Underway
Published on October 4th, 2017
Newport, RI (October 4, 2017) – The legendary local Sou’wester breeze delivered near perfect conditions for the start of the 2017 Melges 20 World Championship as the fleet of nearly 40 teams blasted through three of the ten races scheduled.
Dominating the day was current US National Champion Drew Freides’ PACIFIC YANKEE with Morgan Reeser and Charlie Smythe that hold the overnight lead with an impressive 1, 2, 2.
With a plan to start on time, at 11 a.m. eastern time, PRO Peter “Luigi” Reggio sent the fleet to course ‘Alpha’ or better known as the outside course. With wind at 15-18 kts, 2-3 ft waves and a solid southwest direction, Race One began with a clean start and Friedes leading at the top mark, followed by Igor Rytov’s RUSSIAN BOGATYRS, and John Kilroy’s SAMBA PA TI. In a duel of leaders from North America and Europe, Freides showed polished form around the track to fend off Rytov, and making a hard charge for third was Rob Wilber and his team of pork chops on CINGHIALE.
Wasting no time, Reggio fired of the warning signal for Race Two and it was Jim Wilson’s OLEANDER who tacked off the line and found a nice honey hole in the deep right corner. With a track similar to a Nascar oval, the teams that extended to the right corner on the upwinds and nailed the right corner downwind saw big gains. Wilson would hang on for the win followed by Freides and SAMBA.
“We had ideal Newport conditions today,” said Wilson. “It felt great to win a race here at the Worlds. The racing was close and clean. It was full-on near the top end of the fleet. Lots of high speed action. On a day like today, there’s nothing better than going downwind with the kite up!”
The final race of the day saw a general recall which was a much needed additional break for teams looking to catch their breath. With breeze continuing to touch 22-23 kts, the Melges 20s had a full gallop downwind while surfing big waves and getting the occasional mouth full of salt water.
Using the mid-line sag to his advantage, Wilber punched off the line, tacked to port and extended to the right, and played the middle left taking advantage of the first lefty puffs of the day. After a brief tussle with longtime Melges 20 owner Daniel Thielman at the helm of KUAI, Wilber managed to hang on for the win, with Freides charging into second and Rytov in third.
“We kinda pulled it together on the last race of the day,” said Wilber. “We had a great first race, a tough Race Two, but we regrouped to take a bullet in the third race. There’s no better way to do that than to go out and win one. We are excited for Day Two.”
Amid the five all-amatuer teams in the Corinthian Division, Canada’s Justin Quigg on CHARACTER 2.0 and Brazil’s Cesar Gomes Neto on PORTOBELLO swapped leadership places throughout the day. Ultimately, it was Quigg getting the upper hand over Gomes Neto to lead.
“Generally we’re pretty happy – We think we’re in a good spot for tomorrow,” commented Quigg. “In the Corinthian fleet, there’s lots of trading places back and forth. We’re only a few places ahead of the guys behind us right now.” Sweden’s Johannes Lind-Widestam sailing INTERMEZZO sits third after three races.
When six or more races have been completed, a boat’s series scores will be the total of her race scores excluding her worst score.
Racing continues daily through October 7.
Day One Results (Top 10 of 38; 3 races)
1. Pacific Yankee, USA300, Drew Freides – 1 -2 -2 ; 5
2. Oleander, USA250, James Wilson – 4 -1 -5 ; 10
3. Kuai, USA7676, Daniel Thielman – 9 -4 -4 ; 17
4. Samba Pa Ti, USA13131, John Kilroy – 11 -3 -6 ; 20
5. Slingshot, USA217, Wes Whitmyer Jr – 6 -7 -8 ; 21
6. Russian Bogatyrs, RUS898, Igor Rytov – 2 -19 -3 ; 24
7. Wildman, USA311, Liam Kilroy – 7 -5 -12 ; 24
8. Stig, ITA65, Alessandro Rombelli – 10 -9 -11 ; 30
9. Cinghiale, USA414, Rob Wilber – 3 -28 -1 ; 32
10. Raya, MON301, Matteo Marenghi Vaselli – 8 -11 -15 ; 34
Source: Melges 20 class