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2017 Melges 20 Sail Newport Regatta: Pacific Yankee Doodle Dandy

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Liam Kilroy's WILDMAN races downwind at the 2017 Sail Newport Regatta (ph. Onne Van Der Wal)
Liam Kilroy's WILDMAN races downwind at the 2017 Sail Newport Regatta (ph. Onne Van Der Wal)

The final day of the 2017 Melges 20 Sail Newport Regatta started under blue skies and a light northwest breeze. Melges 20 teams anticipated a tricky day of sailing and with a tight leaderboard prevailing, the stage was set for an epic day.


Moments after the start of Race Six, the trickiness was evident as big changes in velocity were present on the course and the fleet was immediately spread out after the start. Once to the weathermark, a big left shift descended on the course and the middle of the fleet began setting spinnakers to get to the mark. PRO Lynn Lynch wisely abandoned the race and waited for the newly forming sea breeze to fill.

After a 30 minute delay, Newport's iconic sea breeze filled in from the Southwest at a pleasant 12-16 knots. Showing he came ready to play, Drew Freides' PACIFIC YANKEE rounded the top in second with regatta leader Daniel Thielman on KUAI in third. Showing stellar speed and smarts around the track, Freides moved into first after a nice battle with John Kilroy's SAMBA PA TI to take the bullet. Kilroy grabbed second followed by Wes Whitmyer's SLINGSHOT in third. Thielman stubbed his toe on the final downwind and finished eighth, ultimately setting up a 'who beat who' with Freides in the final race.

Without delay, the final race of the event got underway with near perfect Melges 20 conditions. Both Freides and Thielman got off the line clean and worked the middle to left side of the course. Freides would find himself in good position at the top of the course rounding in the top three, meanwhile Thielman was hanging on by his fingernails rounding in fifth.

Again showing solid speed, Freides put his Melges 20 into sixth gear and charged into the finish line for another bullet. Liam Kilroy's WILDMAN grabbed second place with Whitmyer claiming third. After sailing an extremely consistent regatta the first two days, Thielman took a seventh on the final race, securing the win for Freides.

The first event in Newport leading up to the Melges 20 Worlds got off to a wet start, but the final two days showed everyone why Newport is a legendary sailing venue; fun upwind sailing, downwind surfing and overall great racing.

With 2017 half complete, the racing schedule for the International Melges 20 Class Association (IM20CA) officially shifts into overdrive with several upcoming marquee events, ultimately steering the Class to crown its first ever Melges World League Champion. Racing continues next weekend at the 2017 European Championship taking place in gorgeous Sibenik, Croatia (Jul. 12-15). The following weekend, all eyes turn to Asia for the Melges Summer Regatta in Akiya, Japan on July 22-23. The heat gets hotter when the fleet returns to Newport mid-August for the U.S. Nationals (Aug. 17-19), and then back to Riva Del Garda for the Russian Championship on September 1-3. The pinnacle event of year - the World Championship hosted by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) comes to fruition October 2-7.

TOP FIVE RESULTS (FINAL - After Seven Races, One Discard)
1.) Drew Freides, PACIFIC YANKEE; 1-[8]-1-7-3-1-1 = 14
2.) Daniel Thielman, KUAI; 3-3-3-4-2-[8]-7 = 22
3.) Wes Whitmyer Jr., SLINGSHOT; 10-4-[12]-2-1-3-3 = 23
4.) Liam Kilroy, WILDMAN; 8-1-[10]-3-4-6-2 = 24
5.) Alexis Michas, MIDNIGHT SUN; 5-5-2-[12]-7-4-8 = 31
2017 Sail Newport Regatta Yachtscoring Event Website
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1.) Igor Rytov, RUSSIAN BOGATYRS = 85 pts.
2.) Vladimir Prosikhin, NIKA = 57 pts.
3.) Achille Onorato, MASCALZONE LATINO = 48 pts.
4.) Krzysztof Krempec, MAG TINY = 48 pts.
5.) Rodney Jones, CARS 167; 48 pts.

1.) Drew Freides, PACIFIC YANKEE = 37 pts.
2.) Igor Rytov, RUSSIAN BOGATYRS = 35 pts.
3.) Liam Kilroy, WILDMAN = 32 pts.
4.) Rob Wilber, CINGHIALE = 31 pts.
5.) Jim Wilson, OLEANDER = 29 pts.

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