Nov 17, 2006, 6:07 AM
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2006 Melges 24 US Nationals
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U.S. MELGES 24 CLASS ASSOCIATION
BRIAN PORTER LEADS 2006 MELGES 24 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER ONE DAY OF RACING
16 NOVEMBER 2006 • Brian Porter on Full Throttle leads the 2006 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship in Jacksonville, Florida hosted by the Florida Yacht Club. Porter pulled out his speed card and played it in every race, rewarding him with a 1, 2, 1 finish for first overall. In second position is Chris Larson at the helm for Scott Holmgren on Rosebud and following closely is an English entry, brand new to the U.S. racing scene is John Ginson at the helm for Eamonn O'Nolan on Bateauneuf.
Despite the gloomy and overcast conditions left behind by a vicious line of storms overnight, the teams were greeted on Thursday morning, the first day of racing with an elegant breakfast buffet. Final weigh-ins were conducted and the skipper's meeting took place promptly at nine o'clock. With the formalities out of the way, everyone hit the docks. Inshore the water seemed flat and the winds were variable. But out on the course, the wind was decent around 8-10 knots and expected to increase throughout the day.
As the warning signal approached, the winds maintained and the teams scrambled for position as the one minute signal was fired. The first start resulted in a general recall. The second and third starts were not any better as they too resulted in general recalls. A lot of wind and apparently more excitement than could be contained plagued the fleet. The fleet finally settled down as the fourth start was good. Immediately, overnight leader Porter had great speed, up the middle as did Ginson and reigning Melges 24 National Champion Morgan Reeser at the helm for Geoffery Pierini. At the first weather mark, with winds now dropping off and the water flatter than before, it was full on Melges 24 power as the fleet rounding was tight. Porter rounded first with Ginson less than a boat length behind. Chasing in third was Jamie Lea at the helm for Stuart Simpson on Team Barbarians. Reeser was hot on his heels in fourth followed by Scott Nixon at the helm for David Ford on Ligh twave Macro. As the race progressed the racing conditions improved, the skies opened up and the heavy air started pumping into the St. John's River. Clearly out front, the big race was for the lead as Ginson and Porter each battling it out for the lead. It was down to the wire as Porter pulled away from Ginson and took the win.
Race two was equally exciting as the wind was up, 13-15 knots. Again the fleet struggled with the starts as the excitement and speed was too much for some to harness. After two more general recalls the teams settled back into racing mode with winds noticeably increasing. The third start, even though it got off well there was no shortage of drama at the committee end, multiple boats pushing to get across the line only resulted in a couple of individual OCSs. The left side was favored with Ginson getting off the line fast along side of Larson, Lea and Argyle Campbell on Rock n' Roll. At the top mark Ginson maintained the lead, if only for a moment as he blatantly fouled Larson rounding the mark in second. Rather than running the risk of protest Ginson got out of the crowd, performed his penalty turn and moved on. In the meantime, the likes of Lea, John Podmajersky on USA-511, Porter, top Corinthian player Sean Scarborough on Rhino, Justin Chambers on LayLine.com (rounding respectively) all slid right by leaving Ginson with a big job of catching-up to do. He never fully recovered from the fatal decision. The winds really began to kick-in, 15-18 knots and so did the fun downwind. Ginson could only make the fifth place finish position, behind John Pollard on Xcellent in fourth, Jamie Lea in third, Brian Porter in second. Chris Larson had an amazing race as his team of Holmgren, Chuck Norris and Andrew Estcourt really turned on the speed. They came on strong taking on a substantial lead to win.
The last and final race of the day got underway around 3:30 p.m. with winds continuing to howl out of the west — 18-20 knots was now the standard with gusts up to 25 knots. A clamber at the start occurred at the pin end with the regatta leaders favoring the left. With a clean start, the fleet eventually split right down the middle, evening out as they approached the weather mark. Larson had a great start, as did Pollard and Ginson. Rounding first was Brian Porter who continued to have not only great boat speed, but simply called the shifts and enforced superior boat handling. The real battle was happening further back between Pollard and Ginson. Pollard had a little more speed than Ginson and it was just enough to keep him ahead. The two exchanged positions match racing for the remainder of the race. Larson on the other hand had his sights set on another bullet. He got ahead of Pollard and Ginson, and for a moment challenged Porter. On the finish leg, Porter separated himse lf from the fleet, Larson did the same as Pollard and Ginson took it all the way to the finish line. Pollard held off Ginson and took third for the race, Ginson settled for fourth. Scott Nixon was fifth.
Going into day two of the championship, Brian Porter leads the fleet with four points. Chris Larson is in second overall with ten, John Ginson is third with eleven, tied with John Pollard with eleven also in fourth. Jamie Lea is placed fifth overall only two points out at twelve.
TOP TEN OVERALL RESULTS
1.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle: 1, 2, 1 = 4
2.) Chris Larson/Scott Holmgren, Rosebud: 7, 1, 2 = 10
3.) John Ginson/Eamonn O'Nolan, Bateauneuf: 2, 5, 4 = 11
4.) John Pollard, Xcellent: 4, 4, 3 = 11
5.) Stuart Simpson, Team Barbarians: 3, 3, 6 = 12
6.) Scott Nixon/David Ford, Lightwave Macro: 6, 6, 5 = 17
7.) Bora Gulari/Chuck Holzman: 8, 8, 7 = 23
8.) Argyle Campbell, Rock N' Roll: 18, 7, 9 = 34
9.) Sean Scarborough, Rhino: 13, 10, 14 = 37
10.) John Podmajersky, USA-511: 10, 18, 12 = 40
This year the USMCA has chosen to recognize those outstanding Corinthian competitors. Each day daily awards are being given to the best finisher of the day and at the end will award Corinthian trophies of the top five. Thursday's top Corinthian daily winner is Sean Scarborough from Ocean City, New Jersey. Over the years Sean and his team of Mike McGuckin, Brian Huntsman and Todd Scarborough have attended the Jacksonville event and performed well. They are also placed ninth overall. In second place is a new boat owner, but not new to the class. Othmar Mueller Von Blumencron helmed for past Northeast District Governor Bill Blank. Now that Bill has sold his boat, Othmar was not about to give up that Melges 24 ride. He is the proud owner of USA-679 as well as the second place daily Corinthian winner, seated thirteenth overall. And last, most certainly not least is Scott Gregory and his Team Satisfaction crew of Mike Schulz, Patrick Ryan Wilson and Jeremy Tudor in third. Team Satisfaction has a spectacular eighth place finish in the last race of the day making them the third place daily Corinthian winner, finishing sixteenth overall.
TOP FIVE CORINTHIAN RESULTS
1.) Sean Scarborough, Rhino
2.) Othmar Mueller Von Blumencron, Gannet
3.) H. Scott Gregory, Team Satisfaction
4.) Justin Chambers, LayLine.com
5.) Steven Kopf, Blur