Sunday, August 21, 2016 5:00 AM
As the breeze remained in the ESE direction overnight and began bucking an outgoing tide in the morning hours, the Melges 32 fleet at the 2016 U.S. National Championship hosted by Sail Newport was greeted with a lumpy, streaky race course, rewarding those teams that started clean and minimized maneuvers. Sitting a few points back of the lead headed into Day Two, Jason Carroll's Argo helmed by Graham Landy dominated the day while Chris Wientjes' Stormvogel looked primed to extend his lead which ended up being cut slightly by the Morgan Kiss on Hydra who handled the tough conditions very well.
Starting on time, PRO Anderson Reggio and his legion of volunteers from Sail Newport set a tight, pin favored line that challenged all eight teams. Winning the pin in the first race was Carroll and as the pack extended left, they managed to stay in the lead at the top mark. Charging through the fleet, Rick DeVos at the helm of Delta gybed out early on the first run, resulting in nice gains and just enough momentum to pass Carroll and claim the race win.Carroll hung on for second with a slippery Richard Goransson on Inga From Sweden in third.
Race Four in the regatta series featured similar conditions with the wind from the 125-135 direction and pulsing velocity as the land heated and cooled. Again, Carroll was strong off the pin with Ed Tillinghast's Dark N Stormy and the majority of the fleet pushing hard to the left corner. Wientjes quietly snuck to the right side, snagged a nice right shift with pressure and led around the first top mark. Showing solid speed around the track, Wientjes hung on for his first ever National Championship bullet followed by Carroll and Goransson.
For the final race of the day, the Argo Team once again showed their pin end prowess and won the start, tacked on their timing with a nice left shift and led around the first top mark. Morgan Kiss got off the leeward end clean and showed nice speed on the 1.4 mile beat followed by Ryan DeVos and the veterans aboard Volpe. The top three would remain unchanged throughout the race with Carroll putting a stamp on Day Two with a solid 2-2-1. After Andrea Lacorte's Vitamina struggled, Carroll vaulted into first place overall with three races remaining.
CHASE FOR THE CORINTHIAN TITLE
Despite winning the second race of the day, Wientjes saw his overnight Corinthian lead reduced by the kids on Team Hydra who posted a scoreline of 5-6-2 to Wientjes' 6-1-7. Headed into the final day of racing, Wientjes holds a slim five-point lead over Kiss with three race remaining.
With five of eight races completed, all is to play for on Sunday with three races scheduled and a solid breeze forecast. Not only is a third of the regatta remaining to be completed, but the course will shift to the infamous "Halfway Rock" race course where the breeze is much shiftier and the current more of a factor. While solid leads are held in the overall and corinthian fleets, a big shake up is all but tee'd up for Sunday.
MEDIA AND RACING COVERAGE
As with all other Melges 32 events around the world, racing updates will be posted online at the Official Melges 32 Facebook Page. Tune in for the latest racing information, results, video interviews, and photos. Race reports, press releases and photos will be available online each day post racing at melges32.com.
FULL RESULTS (PRELIMINARY - After Five Races)
1.) Jason Carroll-Graham Landy/Cameron Appleton, Argo; 3-4-2-2-1 = 12
2.) Richard Goransson/Vasco Vascotto, Inga From Sweden; 2-5-3-3-4 = 17
3.) Rick DeVos/Ed Baird, Delta; 6-2-1-4-8 = 21
4.) Andrea Lacorte/Gabriele Benussi, Vitamina; 1-1-7-7-8 = 22
5.) Ryan DeVos/Mark Mendelblatt; Volpe; 7-3-4-5-3 = 22
6.) Chris Wientjes/Nick Voss (CORINTHIAN), Stormvogel; 4-6-6-1-7 = 24
7.) Morgan Kiss/Alex Post (CORINTHIAN); Team Hydra; 8-8-5-6-2 = 29
8.) Ed Tillinghast/Chris Larson, Dark n'Stormy; 5-7-8-8-5 = 33