Melges 24 North American Championship : Australians dominate in San Francisco
Saturday, 25 August 2012
San Francisco produced spectacular conditions for the opening day of the 2012 Melges 24 North American Championship with competitors enjoying three fantastic races in near perfect conditions. With the breeze up at around 18-20 knots throughout the day it was the bold and the brave who made it to the top of the heap and tonight Australians Warwick Rooklyn, sailing Bandit, and Nathan Wilmot, helming Embarr for Ireland's Connor Clark, head the leader board.
Rooklyn and his team reveled in today's strong conditions, giving a master class in heavy weather Melges 24 sailing to win the opening two races and take second in race three. With great starts, great boat speed and impressive boat handling this team barely put a foot wrong all day. Wilmot's day got off to a moderate start with a seventh, but it wasn't long before he found his rhythm, and he went on to take second in race two followed by a very confident win in race three. Rooklyn now leads the fleet by six points with Wilmot second on 10 points. Just a single point back lies Newport Harbour's Argyle Campbell, aboard Rock N Roll, and Italy's Flavio Favini, helming Blu Moon for Switzerland's Franco Rossini, who both count 11 points. Alan Field aboard WTF completes the top five and is just a single point behind his rivals.
In the Corinthian Division for the all amateur crews it is local hero Shawn Bennett sailing Melges 49 who heads the fleet with a 1, 3, 1 scoreline. Don Jesberg, also from San Francisco and sailing Viva, is a single point behind him in second with Main's Scott Holmgren sailing Rosebud four points further back in third.
It was an eventful day on the water with plenty of drama throughout the fleet. Flavio Favini and his team trawled their kite severely at the leeward gate of race two loosing a number of places in the process and had to fight their way back up to fourth place. But the Pusser's Rum/Regatta Ginger Beer Award for the most spectacular photo opportunity of the day was won hands down by Edward Massey and his crew aboard Sweet As Bro! who executed a truly spectacular broach on the first run of race one. Despite attempts by several other teams to out broach them Sweet As Bro!'s was without doubt the best effort of the day and at the daily prize giving the crew collected a Pusser's/Regatta gift pack with which to drown their sorrows.
With two more days and up to eight races ahead plus a weather forecast for more classic San Francisco conditions we're all set for a knock out championship. This evening the crews enjoyed sun-downers and snacks courtesy of our wonderful sponsors as they kicked back and relaxed at the San Francisco Yacht Club's wonderful Belvedere clubhouse.
Special thanks must to our event sponsors North Sails, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, Swartz Brewery, Trumer Pils, Pusser's Rum, Regatta Ginger Beer, Weather Routing Inc, Tiburon Peninsula Club and GT3 Creative for their most generous sponsorship support.
The 2012 Melges 24 North American Championship continues until Sunday 26 August with up to eight races scheduled. .
Fiona Brown & Joy Dunigan
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Last Updated ( Saturday, 25 August 2012 )