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Hutchinson leads into final day Melges 24 US Nats

by Melges media on 1 Nov 2008
Day 3 of the 2008 Melges 24 North American Championships Paul Todd © http://www.outsideimages.co.nz

Terry Hutchinson showed his true class on the third day of the 2008 Melges 24 North American Championships in Annapolis. Hutchinson, sailing USA 751 Quantum Racing, put in two impressive performances, a fourth place in race one and a win in race two, now means that he takes a seventeen point margin into the final day.

Second placed Gabrio Zandona, ITA 777 Joe Fly, recorded a third in the first race but struggled in the fluky conditions of the second race where he could only manage a twelfth. He now holds a ten point lead over Chris Larson USA 655 West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes, who despite a disappointing day, hangs on to third place overall.

The race committee tried to get the race away at around 11.25 this morning but a general recall put paid to that effort. Soon after, the wind faded so much that the RC were forced to wait for several hours before a new six knot breeze arrived and racing could finally get under way.

Race eight was a short, sharp, forty seven minute affair, with the race committee having to shorten the second beat to try to minimise the effect of a cargo ship anchored on the edge of the racecourse. In this race, Brian Porter USA 749 Full Throttle finally showed the sort of form he is renowned for. Leading at every mark, he held his nerve on a tricky final run to take a well deserved race win.

Morgan Reeser USA 750 M-Fatic, who had won the pin in convincing style at the start, sailed an intelligent race to finish second, ahead off Gabrio Zandona who had clawed himself back from what appeared to be a potentially disastrous start. Whilst fourth placed Falvio Favini SUI 521 Blu Moon could still entertain hopes of an overall podium finish, day one leader Dave Ullman USA 505 Pegasus 505 clocked up a painful twenty first, which looks to have put paid to his title hopes.

Eastport Yacht Club PRO Jeff Borland and his team got race two got away after only the shortest of delays. With the breeze up to around eleven knots, the crews were full hiking up wind but there was not quite enough to think about heating downwind. As the leaders approached the windward mark for the first time, the spectators had a difficult time identifying a leader, as first one side and then the next became favoured. However local pundits were not surprised when Annapolis sailor Terry Hutchinson emerged from the melee to round first. Behind him was a close configuration of boats with Porter marginally ahead of Reeser, Zandona and Ullman.

The first run saw the leaders put in a frenzy of gybes as they tried their hardest to out manoeuvre each other. All this effort amounted to little however, as there were no changes in the top five places at the leeward gate. In fact the same scenario ensued on the next two legs and at the finish a relieved Hutchinson took the gun followed by Porter, Reeser, Zandona and Ullman. With the regatta on schedule and the breeze starting to destabilise, the RC sensibly sent the fleet ashore for the day.

On the eve of the final day of the championship, Terry Hutchinson has consolidated his position at the top of the leader board and now looks like a good bet for the title. That said, with three races possible tomorrow he is far from home and dry. Despite Hutchinson’s margin, double European Champions Joe Fly will still feel there is a chance to pull off their first North American Championship victory and it would be unwise to discount them as a major threat.

In the Corinthian division, for all amateur crews, Othmar von Blumencron USA 679 Gannet holds a sixteen point lead over David Dabney USA 626 Wireless in second and Alex Schafer USA 744 Sweaty Betty who lies third.

Racing at the 2008 Melges 24 North American Championship concludes Saturday with the potential for three races being sailed. Similar conditions to today are forecast but the word is that warmer temperatures are a real possibility.

Melges 24, North American Championships - Preliminary, After seven races

1 51/ USA 751 Hutchinson 4 2 4 [9] 2 6 2 4 1 25
2 20/ ITA 777 Maspero 9 6 2 1 [12] 8 1 3 12 42
3 55/ USA 655 Larson 8 8 7 6 1 7 6 9 [24] 52
4 21/ SUI 521 Favini 2 7 1 2 29 3 [50/DNF] 7 4 55
5 27/ USA 747 Ayres 5 9 8 4 10 [15] 5 6 15 62
6 34/ USA 749 Porter 6 10 6 10 5 24 [26] 1 2 64
7 16/ USA 505 Ullman 1 3 3 12 4 17 [50/OCS] 21 5 66
8 50/ USA 750 Reeser 10 4 17 8 15 12 [50/OCS] 2 3 71
9 23/ GBR 569 Lea 7 11 14 11 [18] 4 17 5 9 78
10 57/ USA 679 Blumencron C 13 12 9 7 3 14 10 12 [16] 80
11 40/ USA 620 McNay 11 5 10 14 16 2 14 [32] 18 90
12 17/ USA 539 Lane [23] 13 11 17 11 16 3 14 10 95
13 37/ USA 626 Dabney C 15 15 16 5 [26] 5 21 13 6 96
14 47/ USA 757 Strauss 14 19 13 3 [32] 1 23 16 8 97
15 15/ USA 587 Field 18 [21] 5 15 9 21 9 10 11 98
16 18/ USA 623 Lane 12 1 19 28 [33] 11 8 24 7 110
17 24/ USA 630 Campbell 24 16 [26] 13 14 18 4 8 13 110
18 33/ USA 773 Kopf 21 30 24 23 [50/DSQ] 13 7 11 19 148
19 32/ USA 649 Porter 3 17 12 19 34 26 [37] 17 27 155
20 29/ USA 776 Kolius [36] 26 21 16 6 34 13 19 20 155
21 31/ USA 744 Shafer C 19 24 18 21 28 19 15 15 [34] 159
22 54/ USA 606 Golden C 16 33 27 [34] 7 10 12 34 28 167
23 39/ USA 725 Wilkins 20 20 20 31 20 9 18 [37] 31 169
24 59/ ger 624 Volles 17 18 [50/DNS] 33 8 25 28 26 21 176
25 53/ USA 721 Filter C 25 27 23 29 [41] 33 11 29 14 191
26 35/ USA 619 Wilson 27 14 15 30 13 39 30 23 [40] 191
27 28/ USA 658 Hamilton C 26 23 25 20 22 31 24 22 [35] 193
28 11/ USA 533 Hernandez C 22 22 30 [43] 23 40 25 20 23 205
29 43/ CAN 446 Reid [38] 25 29 25 25 23 32 31 26 216
30 48/ USA 736 Wight 35 28 22 26 43 30 [50/OCS] 28 17 229
31 52/ USA 20 schlegel [41] 38 28 22 31 36 19 27 29 230
32 45/ USA 566 Amendola [40] 31 31 24 19 38 22 35 32 232
33 56/ USA 568 Carleton C 32 34 38 18 24 35 [50/DNF] 25 36 242
34 41/ CAN 130 Lixfeld 37 35 [50/DNF] 45 30 20 16 33 33 249
35 46/ USA 575 Michas [50/RAF] 36 36 32 39 37 36 18 25 259
36 25/ USA 675 Brede 28 29 33 [39] 38 28 38 38 30 262
37 30/ USA 680 Siegler 29 32 37 35 36 29 29 36 [39] 263
38 22/ CHI 412 Gallyas 43 39 40 27 17 22 42 [47] 46 276
39 19/ USA 687 Haynie 44 [50/RAF] 39 38 21 32 31 30 41 276
40 38/ USA 602 Hamilton 30 [50/DNF] 50/DNS 37 27 27 50/OCS 46 22 289
41 12/ USA 371 Creasman C 34 40 34 36 40 [50/RAF] 33 42 38 297
42 36/ USA 245 Mossman 39 37 41 40 [44] 44 27 40 37 305
43 14/ USA 615 Hess C 33 41 35 42 35 46 34 [50/40%] 44 310
44 44/ USA 514 Raby 31 43 32 [48] 45 42 39 41 45 318
45 42/ CAN 346 Lintunen 45 [50/DNS] 50/DNS 41 42 43 20 44 42 327
46 13/ USA 570 McCliment C 42 42 42 46 47 45 35 [48] 47 346
47 10/ USA 274 Gunderson C [50/DNF] 50/DNS 50/DNS 44 46 41 41 43 43 358
48 58/ USA 48 Pemberton [50/DNS] 50/DNS 50/DNS 47 37 47 40 45 48 364

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