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John Kilroy launched at Melges 20 North Americans

Published on October 3rd, 2014

San Francisco, CA (October 3, 2014) – Reigning Melges 20 World Champion John Kilroy came out of the blocks hot on the first day of the class’ North Americans, posting a 1-1-2 to take the lead over the 21 teams. Trailing by six points is Alexis Michas in second, with Cesar Gomes Neto two points further back in third. Racing continues Saturday and concludes Sunday. Event details.

Additional report from class media…
The term Indian Summer typically does not apply to the moderate Bay area, but with a string of days in the mid-90’s Audi Melges 20 sailors swapped their foulies for sunscreen and soaked in a perfect day of light air, flat-water racing on the Berkeley Circle. Being patient and waiting for a northerly breeze to develop, PRO Bruce Golison and his team left the dock around 1030 and migrated the fleet just off the Berkeley shore for the start of Race One. Despite the unusual direction, the breeze was surprisingly steady in the 6-8 range allowing for three balanced, fair races.

As teams circled for the first start, it was a tough call finding the best breeze and even more difficult to get a handle on the strong current moving across the race course. Teams that tacked early and headed right initially looked good, but as some painfully found out when they sailed to a healthy layline that the current was helping them make mark, allowing the boats from the left to tack underneath and lay. Alexis Michas on Midnight Blue with longtime friends Mark Mendleblatt and Brian Ledbetter called a perfect layline underneath a hard charging Samba Pa Ti with John Kilroy at the helm on starboard to lead around the first mark. After a good battle around the track, Kilroy did the best job of staying in pressure and sailing fast to take the bullet followed by Michas, and Audi Melges 20 North American Fleet President Rob Wilbur on Cinghiale.

With the usual suspects on Kilroy and Cesar Gomes Neto on Portobello swapping blows and nabbing bullets in Races Two and Three, there was plenty of good sailing and full action in the middle of the fleet. Melges 24 owner and now, Audi Melges 20 veteran Mike Keefe and his team on Flannel saw their hard work payoff with solid first mark roundings only to have early gybes out of the downwind line-ups prove costly, but solid finished regardless.

Tom Kassberg on Flygfisk showed his light air ability and snuck in for a seventh in Race Two, while longtime Audi Melges 20 sailor Sid Gorham on Funner proved his fourth place at the PCC’s was no fluke will a solid Race Three.

Day Two does have more breeze in the forecast with slightly cooler temps and the potential of four races.

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