by Joy Dunigan
Congratulations to the brand new 2011 Melges 24 U.S. National Champions — Bora Gulari on New England Ropes and crew consisting of tactician Jeremy Wilmot, George Peet, Dan Kaseler and Chris Fortine.
Bora Gulari, New England Ropes - Melges 24 Nationals 2011
The victory is well deserved and long overdue, as the Championship was well fought. 'This feels pretty good. Not often does it come down to the last gybe as to whether or not you win a championship or not,' said a very happy Gulari. 'Needless to say, there was a lot of tension in the one and only race today. The last time I was this close was in 2008 when Brian Porter stole the win on the last leg of the last race, so it feels really good to have held on to win.'
Nathan Wilmot at the helm of Conor Clarke's Embarr proudly took second overall. Brian Porter's Full Throttle finished third. Rounding out the top five was Harry Melges, III at the helm of Henry Colie's Babs in fourth. This was the first time since 2003 (when he made an attempt to defend his 2002 World Championship title) that Melges has helmed a Melges 24. The lovely and talented Kristen Lane on Brickhouse 812 placed fifth.
Additional congratulations are in order for Lake Geneva's Tom Freytag on Wicked Feet as he is 2011 Corinthian U.S. Melges 24 National Champion. Heating it up as crew was Patrick Doran, Chris Impens and Rob Rowe. Also seated twelfth overall, Freytag's local knowledge about the lake kept him one step ahead of Corinthian division runner-up August Hernandez on High Voltage who placed thirteenth. Fred Rozelle on Rustler claimed third Corinthian overall. View The Full Corinthian Entry List
Spectators were in abundance for the final showdown on Lake Geneva, not to mention on the edge of their seats for what was going to be an exciting final race. Tension hung heavy in the air as the fleet went into sequence. Gorgeous sunshine was on tap along with some very light, shifty breeze to commence the start. Gulari shot off the line, as did Lane, Alan Field on WTF and Philip Werhiem at the helm of Peter Cucci's Matador. At the top, Lane pulled into the lead, followed by Werhiem and Gulari in third. Porter took fourth and Wilmot was fifth. Downwind, multiple lead changes occurred with Gulari moving to the front of the pack, Werhiem now in second both heading left. Porter moved up to pass through the right-side gate in third. With a shortened, change of course, Porter cashed in big with his gate choice as the breeze filled in nicely off of Cedar Point, Wilmot tagging along on his transom. Werhiem was quick to see the same breeze that Porter was enjoying, moved across the course and maintained the lead position. Porter looked as though he had the upper hand, but Werhiem rounded in sync fending off Porter one final time. Downwind the two battled to the finish with Werhiem taking the win. Further back the excitement continued as Gulari watched Wilmot move ahead of him at the mark, yet out sailed him at the finish with a final gybe to port and across the line less than a boat length ahead of Wilmot. It was an epic, right-down-to-the-wire finish as Gulari's team celebrated when they made the gybe for the finish.
Bora Gulari, 2011 Melges 24 U.S. National Champion
After a fantastic, easy Saturday afternoon around LGYC, teams crowded into famous Gordy's for a sensational Melges Rocks Party that brought out the very best party goers in the fleet. Every team was represented. Sailors danced and partied into the wee-hours of the morning, indulging in free drinks and tons of laughter, friendships flowing simultaneously. This great celebration of the U.S. Melges 24 National Championship was held especially to the fleet by Melges USA! A very special thanks to The Melges Team and most especially, to those gorgeous Melges Girls - Suzanne Melges, Candice Burdick, Chrissie VonderSitt and team helped pull out the all the stops including a rockin' DJ that had everyone dancing. The event was planned perfectly!
First and foremost, the event would be nothing with out the participation of Melges 24 owners from all over the USA and World. A very special thank you to every team that traveled from near and far!
The U.S. Melges 24 Class Association wishes to sincerely thank PRO Hank Stuart for his world-class, on-the-water race committee work, and careful guidance of the championship. LGYC was the greatest host, and worked perfectly in tandem with Stuart to deliver the best Nationals ever!The presence of Mrs. Gloria Melges on race committee meant that things were well run. A very special thanks to the grand sprawl of LGYC volunteers. So many individuals gave their time to assist with weigh-in, registration, launching/hauling boats each day, parking and selling regatta gear. The USMCA wishes to recognize the excellent work of Regatta Co-Chairs LGYC Commodore John Simms and Steve Boho, Club Manager Kimberly Bliss and Julie Navin in particular, as well as the tremendous efforts of the friendly yacht club staff. The food was incredible, the race committee and jury support was amazing. Buddy Melges was on hand too, even going as far as helping teams launch and haul boats.
TOP TEN RESULTS (OVERALL - FINAL, After eight races)
1.) Bora Gulari, New England Ropes; 1-5-2-4--3-1-3= 19
2.) Nathan Wilmot/Conor Clarke, Embarr; 4-3-1--3-2-3-4 = 20
3.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 3--5-1-1-7-9-2 = 28
4.) Harry Melges/Henry Colie, Babs; 2-1-10-[OCS]-2-8-2-8 = 33
5.) Kristen Lane, Brickhouse 812; -9-6-3-8-5-6-5 = 42
6.) Alan Field, WTF; 7-2-12-2-11-13--6 = 53
7.) Peter Cucci, Matador; 5-16-8-7-12-6--1 = 55
8.) Bruce Ayres, Monsoon; 6-4-4-[OCS]-13-24-4-13 = 68
9.) Douglas Wilhelm, Wilco; 10--3-9-10-9-23-17 = 81
10.) Argyle Campbell, Rock n' Roll; 19-7-14-[ZFP-26]-5-11-21-7 = 84
TOP FIVE RESULTS (CORINTHIAN - FINAL, After seven races)
1.) Tom Freytag, Wicked Feet
2.) August Hernandez, High Voltage
3.) Fred Rozelle, Rustler
4.) Edward Massey, Sweet as Bro!
5.) Charlie Hess, Funtech Racing
Full Results here