by Joy Dunigan
Melges 24 U.S. National Championship 20th edition, sponsored by CSR Marine, is being hosted by the Seattle Yacht Club (SYC) in Seattle, Washington from 15th to 17th June 2012.
Melges 24 US National Championship 2012
As one of the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association (USMCA) annual marquee events, the 2012 CSR Marine Melges 24 U.S. National Championship is especially proud to welcome 36 teams from across North America and abroad to the Evergreen State. A majority of entrants call the Seattle area home, while others have traveled from California, Idaho, Oregon, and as far away as South Carolina and Wisconsin. Making the event internationally-complete, six Canadian teams and one Australian entry are also in attendance.
Thursday marked the commencement of intense on-the-ground fleet activity with registration, weigh-in, practice and tuning taking place, all in anticipation of three great days of championship racing. The breeze was on the upswing this afternoon, prompting several teams to venture out and ready the boats in an attempt to prepare for the stiff competition ahead.
Seattle boasts one of the most vibrant and exciting sailing communities, and the Melges 24 fits the into the scene just perfectly. Some of the greatest Melges 24 teams are standing by, ready to compete and many say, local knowledge may play a key factor in who comes out on top.
'Sailing in Seattle is really not that hard to figure out. It's really no different than a venue like Charleston. There is lots of tide and lots of current here too. Teams like WTF and Australia's Warwick Rooklyn on Bandit looked very fast today,' commented Dave Brede, an active Melges 24 owner and former Pacific Northwest District Governor. 'The good news is that the conditions are unsettled, rather than having a big high pressure above. It has brought in some nice breeze over the past few days. We'll see what tomorrow brings.'
'The vibe is really, really good here for Nationals. Already we have a lot of happy sailors walking around with big smiles, especially after the 22 knots of breeze this afternoon,' concluded Brede.
In addition to watching a very strong local fleet excel, all eyes will be on the usual suspects including 2010 U.S. National Champion and recently crowned Bayview One Design Regatta winner Alan Field on WTF, Guy Mossman on Battle Rhythm, not to mention 2002 World Champion Harry Melges will helm Zenda Express. On board with Melges is fellow World Champion crew member Andy Burdick. This is the first time that they have sailed together on a Melges 24 since their Travemuende, Germany victory.
The Corinthian division looks to be strong as well and powered by deep Melges 24 convictions. Thirteen of the 36 entrants have submitted their declarations looking to qualify and race in the all-amateur division.
Full list of entries
Full list of Corinthian entries
Seattle Yacht Club website
US Melges 24 Class Association website