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Terry Hutchinson leads Melges 24 North Americans

'Pusser’s Painkiller Wipeout of the Day - USA649 Vincent Porter'    Paul Todd ©

The Race Committee stepped up the pace today at the 2008 Melges 24 North American Championship, running four excellent races (race four to seven in the 12 race series) in winds ranging from 10 – 15 knots. Terry Hutchinson on USA 751 Quantum Racing made his intentions clear for this regatta by moving into a seven point overall lead.

Gabrio Zandona on ITA 777 had a mixed day on the water but won the first and last races to sit in second place tonight. Chris Larson on USA 655 put in a steady performance to claim the final podium place, eight points behind Zandona.

Zandona came out punching in race four, winning the start and rounding the first mark well in the lead. Down the final run, nobody’s place was secure with the premium on keeping heads out of the boat and staying in the veins of pressure. With Zandona securely across the line with a win under his belt, the chasing pack were involved in a gybing frenzy which resulted in Flavio Favini SUI 521 catapulting himself from fourth to second. Simon Strauss on also pulled up to take third ahead of a disappointed Ayres, whilst Dabney had to be content with fifth.

Race five was all about Chris Larson who led around every mark to take a convincing win. Behind him a tight knot of boats including Shane Vowels GER 624, Hutchinson, von Blumencron and Ayres, were involved in a prolonged fight for second place. This was only eventually resolved close to the finish, with Hutchinson taking second and von Blumencron third. Yesterday’s overnight leader Dave Ullman kept his title hopes alive with a fourth.

2008 Melges 24 North American Championship -  Paul Todd?nid=50371 ©  
Day 3 - 2008 Melges 24 North American Championship -  Paul Todd?nid=50371 ©  
Day 3 - 2008 Melges 24 North American Championship -  Paul Todd?nid=50371 ©

Race six was also dominated by a single boat. Simon Strauss USA 757 found some of his true form for the first time this regatta, winning the start and taking control of the race from the off. Stuart McNay on USA 620 had his work cut out holding off a sustained challenge from Favini throughout the whole race but eventually prevailed to take second. On the final run Favini had to break off his attack to close off an advancing Jamie Lea GBR 569 who crossed the line on Favini’s transom to take fourth. Corinthian David Dabney clocked up a solid fifth.

With light airs forecast for tomorrow, the race team wisely opted to put one in the bag by running a five leg fourth race. Perhaps it was fatigue or enthusiasm, but no less than twenty boats were called OCS at the start of race seven. Significantly, several boats failed to return to exonerate themselves, including Morgan Reeser USA 750, Ullman and Favini.

Zandona had no such worries and having rounded ten lengths clear at the windward mark he went on to give the fleet an absolute sailing master class. Hutchinson had a difficult job on his hands getting past Kristen Lane, but finally wrested second from her at the start of the final beat. With Zandona and Hutchinson finished, a couple of big shifts at the end of this leg upset the running order, allowing Peter Lane USA 539 to move up into third.

Corinthian division leader Othmar von Blumencron is pleased to have extended his lead on second placed David Dabney. 'We are an amateur team and so don’t get much time to practice. That usually results in us getting better as the regattas go on but this time we have made a good start so our challenge is maintaining our performance.'

Racing at the 2008 Melges 24 North American Championship continues Friday and runs through to Saturday with five more races scheduled.

Melges 24 US Nationals - Preliminary, After seven races

1 51/ USA 751 Quantum Racing Hutchinson 20
2 20/ ITA 777 Joe Fly Maspero 27
3 55/ USA 655 WMR/New England Ropes Larson 35
4 16/ USA 505 505 Ullman 40
5 27/ USA 747 Monsoon Ayres 41
6 21/ SUI 521 Blumoon Favini 44
7 57/ USA 679 Gannet Mueller v Blumencron 54
8 40/ USA 620 TBA McNay 56
9 34/ USA 749 Full Throttle Porter 61
10 23/ GBR 569 Team Barbarians Lea 64
11 50/ USA 750 M-Fatic Reeser 66
12 17/ USA 539 Brick House 539 Lane 71
13 47/ USA 757 Simplicity Strauss 73
14 37/ USA 626 Wireless Dabney 77
15 15/ USA 587 WTF Field 77
16 18/ USA 623 Brick House 623 Lane 79
17 24/ USA 630 Rock N Roll Campbell 89
18 54/ USA 606 Chillout Golden 105
19 39/ USA 725 vamoose Wilkins 107
20 32/ USA 649 TBA Porter 111
21 29/ USA 776 KO Sailing Kolius 116
22 31/ USA 744 Sweaty betty Shafer 116
23 33/ USA 773 Blur-Pacific Energy Ventures Kopf 118
24 59/ ger 624 im with stupid Volles 129
25 35/ USA 619 Convexity Wilson 129
26 28/ USA 658 Mustang Hamilton 140
27 53/ USA 721 Wild Child Filter 148
28 43/ CAN 446 Zingara Reid 159
29 11/ USA 533 High Voltage Hernandez 162
30 45/ USA 566 Entourage Amendola 165
31 52/ USA 20 bufflehead schlegel 174
32 56/ USA 568 Tiburon Carleton 181
33 41/ CAN 130 Zen Lixfeld 183
34 48/ USA 736 Babs Wight 184
35 22/ CHI 412 ( Blurr ) Gallyas 187
36 30/ USA 680 Cre843 Siegler 190
37 25/ USA 675 12happythoughts Brede 194
38 19/ USA 687 Firewter Haynie 205
39 46/ USA 575 ZETIANA Michas 216
40 12/ USA 371 Aiemef Creasman 217
41 14/ USA 615 FUNTECH Racing Hess 220
42 38/ USA 602 PBR Street Gang Hamilton 221
43 36/ USA 245 Riot Act Mossman 228
44 44/ USA 514 No Decorum Raby 232
45 42/ CAN 346 Vapour Trail Lintunen 241
46 13/ USA 570 Cujo McCliment 252
47 58/ USA 48 Snaahlz Pemberton 271
48 10/ USA 274 BIG SKY Gunderson 272
49 26/ USA 614 Where's Bob? Tennant 300

by Melges 24 media


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2:32 PM Fri 31 Oct 2008 GMT

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