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U.S. Melges 24 Spring Racing Season ushers in National Championship & National Ranking Series battle

by Joy Dunigan / USMCA 20 May 2019 03:24 PDT 22-26 May 2019
U.S. Melges 24 National Championship © JOY / U.S. Melges 24 Class Association

The U.S. Melges 24 Class Association (USM24CA) is less than one week out from the start of its National Championship hosted by the Fairhope Yacht Club on May 22-26.

Teams are revving up their programs as thirty-seven Melges 24s are slated to compete, with at least 14 qualified for the all-amateur Corinthian division.

"The racing on Mobile Bay can easily be compared to sailing in Galveston or Corpus Christi. There is typically a steady sea breeze that is just great to drive the short waves in. Each day we anticipate the breeze to start out around 9-10 knots, and build throughout the day to around 15-17. Every afternoon/night there will be a keg of beer for competitors, a band, light food, tons of giveaways, and a big dinner on Saturday. We are ready to welcome the fleet," says Zane Yoder, Regatta Chair and USM24CA Gulf Coast District Governor.

Not only has the Nationals attracted top teams from all across the continent, but it has also brought out the bread and butter teams of the Gulf Coast District sailing scene. Teams such as Chris Edwards's Coyote, Nick Cumbie's Da Booty, Ryan Glaze's Gringo, Josh Deupree's Hippy Chick, Glen Tonguis with Chris Wientjes as driver on Kryptonite, Lee Eikel's Last Call, David Hoye's Rocket Science, Kyle Wild on Sierra and Dwight Leblanc's Triple D's entry are all in attendance, many of which have qualified as Corinthian teams.

The U.S. National Championship is the third event of an eight-part 2019 National Ranking Series, and at the conclusion of Sperry Charleston Race Week, it now involves the participation of 45 boats from all across America, Canada and around the World.

After a fierce battle with Bruce Ayres' Monsoon in Charleston last month, atop the ranking is Travis Weisleder's Lucky Dog/Gill Race Team in the open division. The two are tied with equal points, Weisleder in front. Brian Porter's Full Throttle, and Kevin Welch's MiKEY are running a very close third and fourth, followed by KC Shannon's Shaka in fifth.

Megan Ratliff's Decorum with her brother Hunter at the helm leads the Corinthian division, as the only all-amateur team in the top ten. They are followed by Roger Counihan's Jaws, then Michael Lenkeit's Rapscallion with William Morang at the helm in third. View the 2019 National Ranking Results (Preliminary - After Two Events).

Post Nationals, Melges 24s migrate North and West. Registration is now open for the New York Yacht Club One Design Regatta (June 29-30). The first event of the West Coast Championship Series gets under way in late July at the Columbia Gorge One Design Regatta. And, the North American Championship (August 15-18) in Traverse City, Mich. now commands with 40 entries!

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