2021 Melges 15 US Nationals
Published on September 19th, 2021
Emily and John Haig (Beach Haven, NJ) were crowned the first Melges 15 US National Champions after the 7-race series held September 17-19 at Fontana, WI. The father-daughter duo (above) bested a fleet of 31 boats for the inaugural championship finishing ahead of second-place Toby and Peter Sullivan (Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN) and third-place Mike Schroff and Emily Shandley-Roberts (Chicago, IL).
A final taste of warm temperatures greeted sailors on Day One with winds up to 18 knots. The Haigs won two of the four races sailed alongside young Owen Kohut and Ian McClenathan (Lake Geneva, WI) and Schroff/ Shandley-Roberts.
Eighteen youth sailors raced in the Nationals as further proof that the Melges 15 is for everyone young and old. “When you’re a junior sailor like Owen, and you get this kind of exposure to different ages and skill levels, the learning curve is off the gauge. It’s invaluable and it shows,” said Schroff, winner of Race Four.
Young Anna Regan (Minnetonka, MN) showed off her prowess on Day Two finishing 1, 2 in the sixth and seventh races. Regan commanded the fleet over three legs leading several seconds ahead of the next boat until the competition started catching up on the final downwind.
“The biggest challenge in this fleet is maintaining your lead downwind since it’s really easy to catch up,” said Regan. “I was getting really nervous when I saw boats gaining on us, and my dad kept reminding me to look in front of me and focus on what’s ahead.”
On the final day, the forecasted light air finally descended upon the region with temperatures increasing even further into the mid-80s. With not a breath of wind in sight, the Race Committee closed the regatta.
“The competition was awesome this weekend. Every time we rounded a mark, there were different boats around us,” said Emily Haig. “It was great seeing so many other teams with father-daughters, college friends, and new owners.”