New Melges 24 champs are crowned
Published on November 14th, 2022
Thirty-four teams arrived in Pensacola, Florida for the 2022 Melges 24 National Championship hosted by the Pensacola Yacht Club over November 11-13, 2022.
On the opening day of the regatta, the teams were greeted with stunning conditions on the course and it stayed that way throughout the four races completed on the first day of racing. The day started with a building 13-15 knots of breeze, and by the second race, it was hitting a steady 20+ knots with pockets of wave action.
Defending Melges 24 U.S. National Champion Brian Porter at the helm of Full Throttle got the job done on day 1 with a 1-2-4-4 scoreline placing him in first place overall. Porter likes it when the breeze picks up.
It was a toss-up between second place Bruce Ayres’ Monsoon and Harry Melges IV’s Zenda Express (third place) as to who is Porter’s biggest rival. By the looks of the cumulative results, Porter also needed to a keep close eye on Drew Freides’ Pacific Yankee who trailed by 6 points, which is a mighty short spread by Melges 24 standards.
Corinthians encountered super tough and seriously competitive conditions on Day One of racing in Pensacola at the 2022 National Championship. Megan Ratliff’s Decorum is no stranger to victory in the Corinthian division, and her performance on the first day of racing proved she could win the all-amateur title.
The Corinthian division was hot to go with Megan Ratliff’s Decorum taking the overall lead of the all-amateur division. Seated 13th in the open standings, Ratliff, with her brother Hunter as driver, commented at the start of the day that the level of competition at the Pensacola Nationals is very high and that this championship can be won by a number of boats.
At the end of day one, Scot Zimmerman’s Bad Idea was second followed by 2022 Corinthian Canadian Champion Dan Berezin on Surprise in third. 2022 Corinthian Canadian National Champion Dan Berezin on Surprise punched it hard on Day One of racing in Pensacola to land third overall in the all-amateur division.
Day Two of racing served up a wide range of conditions that lead to a slight shuffle of players in the overalls, as well as the Corinthian division. Everyone had anticipated the change due to a cold front forecasted to move across Pensacola Bay. This front provided the fleet with a pleasant 7-9 knots of breeze during the late morning, then continued to shift right all afternoon. The result: much cooler temperatures and a brisk 18-20 knots rounded out the completed four-race schedule.
Defending Melges 24 U.S. National Champion Brian Porter, Full Throttle, maintained his lead. “I just love sailing with my boys. It is so much fun to sail with my boys,” says Porter in the afternoon. RJ Porter, Bri Porter and Matt Woodworth are the Full Throttle team.
Drew Freides’ Pacific Yankee and crew members Charlie Smythe, Alec Anderson, Nic Asher and Mark Ivey moved up the leaderboard to finish the day in second overall.
Moving up from fourth to second overall, Drew Freides’ Pacific Yankee worked hard in the shifty conditions to deliver an 11-2-2-2 result. Bruce Ayres’ Monsoon fell a notch to third. These two top competitors headed into the final day of competition tied with 29 points each.
Taylor Canfield steering Laura Grondin’s Dark Energy moved up from sixth overall to fourth. Victor Diaz de Leon racing 2022 World Champion Peter Duncan’s Raza Mixta moved up as well from ninth overnight to fifth. Peter Karrie’s German Melges 24 Nefeli team enjoyed the final race win of day two, which helped him move up from tenth to eighth overall.
Leadership of the Corinthian division resided with long-time Class stalwart Steve Suddath on 3 1/2 Men. Racing with some of his most steady all-amateur crew — Shawn and Steve Burke, and tactician Dave Chapin, they went from fourth overall into first, leaving Megan Ratliff’s Decorum in second and Dan Berezin’s Surprise in third.
2019 Corinthian Melges 24 U.S. National Champion Steve Suddath aboard 3 1/2 Men came on strong on Day Two and moved into the all-amateur division lead.
Megan Ratliff’s Decorum with crew Hunter Ratliff (skipper), Nicholas Diephouse, Miro Kaffka and Steve Liebel slipped back a position to finish in second in the Corinthian division on day two.
The final day, after 10 races were completed, U.S. Melges 24 Class has crowned Brian Porter, owner and helm of Full Throttle along with ‘his boys’, RJ Porter, Bri Porter and Matt Woodworth as 2022 National Champions.
Brian’s results all weekend long never dipped below the top ten, eight of which finished him in the top five. “It feels good,” said Porter when asked about how it felt to win at such a level in the Melges 24 Class.
Steve Suddath, equal the Class stalwart won the Corinthian division for a second time. Suddath helmed 3 1/2 Men with tactician Dave Chapin and crew members Steve and Shawn Burke. Suddath won his first Corinthian National Championship in 2019. “It was tough out there. It was challenging and the shifts were significant today, but we hung in there.”
Taylor Canfield at the helm of Laura Grondin’s Dark Energy finished the event in second place followed by Bruce Ayres’ Monsoon.
Trailing by one point, finishing in second place Corinthian was Megan Ratliff’s Decorum. Canada’s Dan Berezin’s Surprise captured the third place Corinthian position.
The 2023 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship will take place on October 6-8, hosted by the Lake Geneva Yacht Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, home of the Melges 24. In 2023, the Melges 24 turns 30, so get ready to celebrate.
Top Ten Results (FINAL – After 10 Races)
1.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle – 1-2-4-4-5--4-4-3-6 = 33
2.) Taylor Canfield, Dark Energy B Team – -7-7-5-1-6-1-5-1-2 = 35
3.) Bruce Ayres, Monsoon – 3-8-1-3-6-3-5--5-8 = 42
4.) Drew Freides, Pacific Yankee – [16/SCP]-1-10-1-11-2-2-2-7-7 = 43
5.) Victor Diaz de Leon, Raza Mixta – 8-6--6-7-8-3-6-2-3 = 49
6.) Harry Melges IV, Zenda Express – 2-4-8-2-13-35/UFD-7-10-11-4 = 61
7.) Chris Rast, Warcanoe B Team – -5-9-8-9-7-6-8-4-5 = 61
8.) Richard Reid, Zingara – 12-12-5-[35/RET]-2-1-12-7-8-11 = 70
9.) Peter McClennen, Gamecock – 10-3-3-11-8-13-8--6-10 = 72
10.) Peter Karrie, Nefeli – 4-[21/SCP]-6-13-4-11-13-1-13-12 = 77
Top Ten Corinthian Results (FINAL – After 10 Races)
1.) Steve Suddath, 3 1/2 Men – 126 pts.
2.) Megan Ratliff, Decorum – 127 pts.
3.) Dan Berezin, Surprise – 152 pts.
4.) Fred Rozelle, Rustler – 163 pts.
5.) John Alden Meade, Dansoux – 178 pts.
6.) Tom Ritter, Tramp – 187 pts.
7.) KC Shannon, Shaka – 193 pts.
8.) Scot Zimmerman, Bad Idea – 197 pts.
9.) Scott Sonnier, Revolution – 199 pts.
10.) Brent McKenzie, Ex-Kahn – 212 pts.
Source: Joy Dunigan, U.S. Melges 24 Class Association Press Officer