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2006 Melges 24 US Nationals
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The Publisher
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Nov 17, 2006, 6:07 AM

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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

FULL RESULTS

CORINTHIAN HEAT
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


The Publisher
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Nov 19, 2006, 8:41 AM

Post #2 of 2 (9657 views)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. MELGES 24 CLASS ASSOCIATION

CHRIS LARSON WINS THE 2006 MELGES 24 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

18 NOVEMBER 2006 Chris Larson at the helm for Scott Holmgren on Rosebud is the new, 2006 Melges 24 National Champion. In addition to Larson and Holmgren was the great league of Chuck Norris and Andrew Estcourt. Standing in for second, on his 37th birthday was Scott Nixon at the helm for David Ford on Lightwave Micro with Mark Ivey on board calling tactics, Bell Canty and Brian Smith. Overnight leader John Pollard on Excellent seemed to have everything under control in the first two races of the day, but a very dissappointing last race dropped them to third overall.

After yesterday's change-up in the results, the cause and effect of light air conditions, Pollard led the fleet overall by a comfortable margin, but with a very humble attitude. No mistakes is what he was looking for, good speed and solid boat handling would be required as mistakes can be unforgiving in a competitive, deep-in-talent fleet like the one in Jacksonville. Larson was in second and Nixon was third.

A unique energy and high anticipation could be felt on the docks as the last day of racing was expected to be monumental. Sailing conditions were almost a carbon copy of Friday. The very light air most certainly had some teams concerned as game faces were on and they were ready to race.

Race one started on time, winds 3-5 knots. On the start Ginson jostled for position approaching the pin, Pollard with a great start up the middle Ginson on his port hip. Larson, keeping Pollard in his sights match races on starboard. It's three wide - Ginson, Pollard and Larson playing the left. Coming straight up the middle Nixon was making great progress came in to the mark fast and several boat lengths ahead of Morgan Reeser at the helm for Geoffery Pierini, challenging Doug Kessler driving for Justin Chambers on LayLine.com, then Brian Porter on Full Throttle rounds fourth, Bora Gulari driving for Chuck Holzman on Flyer was fifth and Bob McElwain on Silver in sixth.

Downwind, Nixon left the building extending his lead by double. At this point Nixon's closest opponent was Kessler, then Reeser a short ways back. Nixon was first through with a clean douse, jetting back off to the left. Kessler and Reeser are back at it. At the mark, Kessler looses out again to Reeser. Pollard gains downwind and is back up to speed rounding fourth and Othmar Mueller Von Blumencron on Gannet overtook Holzman, Porter and Larson for fifth. Nixon now miles in front of the fleet, rounded the top again with the real race continuing for second between Reeser and Kessler. Blumencron held onto his fourth place position, Pollard and Porter took it to the mark. Porter shut the door on Pollard, Larson coming around on starboard. Pollard rounds in sixth. For the finish, conditions were super light and the cold chill in the air had dissappeared. A change of course was reflected at the leeward gate - a 30-40 degree shift. Nixon cr eeped across the finish. Reeser gets second. Blumencron comes in from left field, snagging third as Kessler, fourth practically stalls at the line, forced to deal with no wind and a lot of current. Larson takes fifth, Gulari finishes sixth with Pollard in seventh. Porter took eighth. Peter Cucci was nineth and tenth was Jamie Lea at the helm for Stuart Simpson on Team Barbarians.

For race two of the day (race eight in a series of nine) a course location adjustment took place as the wind shifted to 330. A slight postponement took place and shortly after 1:00 p.m. with only two races to go, the level of excitment was up, nerves on edge as the entire fleet was over on the first start, resulting in a general recall. The second start was clean, on the right side Lea launching at the start with Reggie Fairchild on SabalMedical.com and Mike Krantz at the helm for Rebecca Barkley on Lamorak alongside. Great battles on the left as well Pollard and Jeff Lindheim on Be er Googles coming in from the left taking the lead ahead of Gulari. Pollard loving the race rounding third followed by Porter in fourth and Larry Sellers rounded fifth. Gulari stayed the middle of the course downwind taking the lead, both Pollard and Porter passing Lindheim. At the top mark it was all Gulari with a nice set. Pollard is next with Lindheim back in the hunt in third, followed by Kelly Gough driving for Shawn Grisham on Bullseye in fourth, then Simon Strauss on Gill, Sellers, and Porter dropping back a few spots after great strides downwind. Gulari is first at the leeward gate heading right as before. Next closest competitor is Pollard some ten to fifteen boat lengths behind. Then Linheim, Porter, Sellers and Grough. Gulari went on to win, with Pollard taking second and Lindheim in third.

The last race of the series commenced around 3:00 p.m. The breeze has settled around at 3-5 knots. Championship leader Pollard, got a bad break at the star t as he was OCS alongside a couple of other boats. Quickly he got off the line and shot back out to race. Larson finally got his shot at the top mark first, Pethick in second, Justin Chambers in third, John Podmajersky on USA-511, Blumencron and Lea rounded respectively.

Even though Larson got a nice jump on the fleet, Lea and Pethick gave him a run for the money to the bottom mark. Larson is around first taking the left side, Pethick followed. Chambers, Lea and Porter round respectively taking the right. Larson's luck changed as the race produced a shake-up in the leaderboard with Reid Collins on Desparate Measures taking a surprising lead downwind, Jamie Lea driving for Stuart Simpson on Team Barbarians also passed Larson, as did Podmarjesky. The race committee made a change of course, and the top five boats drag raced to the finish. Nixon's back in the running gaining on Lea to the finish. Collins stalls, Larson passes him as does Podmajersky. Larson back out front with Lea on the move on the outside in clear air. Collins and Podmajersky neck-and-neck. Then Lea and Podmajersky with a photo finish. Podmajersky taking fourth and Collins settleing for fifth.

Once things shook out back on the docks, the final decision and reconfiguring of numbers makes Chris Larson on Rosebud the new Melges 24 National Champions!

FULL RESULTS

Congratulations and thanks to all competitors most especially our European competitors that traveled so far to be with U.S. fleet. To Pat Lambert, Rick Preston and the entire race committee, the Florida Yacht Club, hats off to a fantastic championship! It could not have been more spectacular!

Special thanks for 2006 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship sponsors: Latis Yachting Solutions, LayLine, Melges Performance Sailboats and Quantum Sails.

For more information, please contact Joy Dunigan, USMCA Class Communications Director and 2006 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship Press Officer via email at communications@usmelges24.com or by phone at (912) 398-5776.
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- Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt


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