Brian Porter Successfully Defends Melges 24 U.S. National Championship Title

Brian Porter (Winnetka, Ill.) on USA-749 Full Throttle showed that you can come from behind some 10 points out of first place and win back-to-back Melges 24 National Championship titles. On board with Porter was tactician Harry Melges, brother John Porter and Andy Burdick. "We sailed pretty well all week, today we just made all the right choices, especially on the last beat,' said Porter immediately after racing. A well earned second place finish was awarded to Stuart Simpson (London, UK) on GBR-569 Team Barbarians with Jamie Lea at the helm, and in third is overnight leader Simon Strauss (New York, N.Y.) on GBR-592 Simplicity.

With Strauss firmly in the lead of the 2008 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship, the final day of racing was nothing short of spectacular. The racing conditions were on equal par with the quality of the fleet, although under very overcast skies, the breeze was an acceptable 10-12 knots for the start. Off the leward pin end with speed Kristen Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) on USA-623 Brickhouse 623, alongside side hubby, Peter Lane (Tiburon, Calif.) on USA-539 Brickhouse 539 for speed. Upwind the fleet went back to the right as they sailed closer into the weathermark. Lea skirted around first with a serious challenge from Porter. At the gate Lea was still in the lead, Porter still challenging in second. Very impressive, considering his forced penalty turn at the weathermark, he still maintained his second place position. USMCA Southeast District Governor Steve Kopf on USA-489 Blur had a great race rounding the gate third. The three maintained position up to the mark this time Porter pulling into the lead right ahead of Lea for the final rounding. Porter was quick with a clean set, jetted to the finish for the win. Lea was close second and Kopf took third.

The last race of the championship series was to do or die for Strauss as he found himself now one point behind Porter in the lead. Larson also finished deeper than anticipation. Porter, on the other hand was taking no prisioners. The start was immaculate as the fleet lined up for perfect position for the start. It was a match race made in heaven with Strauss, Chris Larson (Annapolis, MD) on USA-655 Lightwave, Porter and Lea amongst the pack leading the upwind charge. Larson made it around first followed by Lea and fleet new-comer Stuart McNay on GBR-620. Lea was the first to gybe out to the right for clean air. Larson sped away downwind. The air was rapidly diminishing as the fleet approached the gate. Larson stretched his lead taking the right gate. Lea followed in second while McNay was third. Taking fourth was Strauss on the right and Porter just slightly behind rounding on the left.The next two legs of the race was dominated by Larson. Lea followed behind, then Strauss and Porter, with Porter constantly creeping up on Strauss.

For the finish beat, Larson set his sites on the line. Lea put down a fantasic chase but Larson extended his lead for the win. Strauss now in third, took to the left looking for the right gear to place him outfront, ahead for the overall win. Porter shot out to the right. Porter came out on top some three positions ahead of Strauss as the leader pack took off for the finish line. Larson confidently took the win with Lea in second. In third was Porter, putting him one point ahead of Strauss to win the title. McNay moved back up the leaderboard to finish fourth, with USMCA Midwest District Governor Mike Dow (Traverse City, Mich.) on USA-613 Flying Toaster in fifth.

The awards ceremony was held immediately after racing where the Charleston Yacht Club served sandwiches for lunch and teams relaxed after a long, hard-fought National Championship.

This was by far, one of the most organized regattas sanctioned by the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association. A very special thanks goes out to the Charleston Yacht Club, especially Regatta Co-Chairs Reggie Fairchild and his wife Judy and Chris Hamilton. Most especially to all the sponsors and competitors!

TOP TEN RESULTS (Eight Races Completed)
01.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 2-1-17-1-[14]-7-1-3 = 29
02.) Stuart Simpson, Team Barbarians; 7-4-11-3-1-[14]-2-2 = 30
03.) Simon Strauss, Simplicity; 4-6-2-[14]-2-2-9-6 = 31
04.) Chris Larson, Lightwave; 1-8-5-9-[10]-1-19-1 = 35
05.) Alan Field, WTF; 9-2-3-6-21-11-7-8 = 46
06.) Scott Nixon, Quantum Racing; [17]-3-1-8-3-15-8-15 = 53
07.) Kristen Lane, Brickhouse 623; 3-9-[13]-10-4-6-15-10 = 55
08.) Mike Dow, Flying Toaster; 12-[23]-7-5-7-18-5-5 = 59
09.) Stuart McNay, GBR-620; 16-12-6-{17]-11-8-4-4 = 61
10.) Allan Terhune, USA-738; 5-10-14-4-6-3-20-20 = 62


It was another tight battle amongst the Corinthian teams at the 2008 OSA Melges 24 U.S. National Championship. Coming out on top is USMCA Charleston Fleet Captain Reggie Fairchild on USA-626 Wireless who surpassed second place Paul Hulsey (Detroit, Mich.) on USA-615 Hoodlum Racing by six points. Next in line for trophies was another Charlestonian John Lucas and Marcus Durlach on USA-450 Spray.

1.) Reggie Fairchild, Wireless
2.) Paul Hulsey, Hoodlum Racing
3.) John Lucas/Marcus Durlach, Spray
4.) Gary Schwarting, Obsession
5.) John Hamilton, Mustang
6.) Travis Weisleder,
7.) Stephen 'Alex' Shaffer, Lamorak
8.) Bill Carleton, Tiburon
9.) Charlie Hess, Funtech Racing
10.) Darren Chambers, ImageFreeway

The 2008 OSA Sailing Melges 24 U.S. National Championship is hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club and takes place on September 18-21. The Championship is sponsored by Ocean Sailing Academy, Yacht Scoring, Charleston City Marina, Cre843, ASB Flower Design, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel,, Quantum Sails, Sadler and Hamm, Sail22 and the U.S. Melges 24 Class Association,