An overcast sky, showers and light, variable conditions couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Melges 24 Class at Yachting Key West Race Week today.

Race one kicked off in around 14 knots north-east, but shortly after the start a shower front came through dropping the breeze back to under 10 knots. The left hand side of the beat paid and again Karen Gottwald showed amazing form to lead the fleet into the first windward mark and finish 4th.

Winner of last year’s event Brian Porter was clearly determined to improve on his very average first day and was able to redeem his honour with a third, while overall 2nd placed Morgan Reeser took line honours and the overall lead. Overnight leader Harry Melges had a bad start, rounding the first mark in the mid 20s, and had his work cut out to get through boats, particularly on the second beat when the breeze shifted off to the left making it very one sided.

Race two saw a number of boats over the line including Porter whose original intention appeared to be to go off to the left. His return forced him out to the right and into the perfect position to take advantage of a big right hander. The majority of the fleet had opted for the left and suddenly found themselves down in the cheap seats whilst a number of new faces suddenly found themselves up in the chocolates for the first time in the regatta. With the breeze down under10 knots and shifty it was another difficult race but Porter held his lead to the finish ahead of Stanley Lopez, who was forced to leap over the side to clear a lobster pot from his keel only yards from the finish. Tony Wattson came in 3rd and Morgan Resser took 4th.

Resser’s extremely consistent 3, 4, 1, 4 score line puts him into the lead at the end of day two with Brain Porter (10, 7, 3, 1) in 2nd and Harry Melges (1, 1, 10, 11) 3rd. Dave Ullman (5, 2, 14, 7) is in 4th place overall with Mike Budd (9, 9, 6, 18) leading the European contingent in 5th.

Comment from overall leader Morgan Reeser dockside after the second day’s racing:

"Our big advantage today was that we didn’t get our weather report. It was such a crazy day you couldn’t go out with any preconceived notions, you just had to look around and see what was going on. Our tactician Dave Chapin did a great job and Paul and Jim did a great job trimming sails so we went fast and we won the first race. We started in the middle of the fleet and everyone ran out of wind to the right of us. It was raining so hard we couldn’t see the marks or anything so we tacked and the mark showed up right in front of us. So it all went perfectly!

In the second race we were well back in the fleet having stayed in the middle when the right paid, but we clawed our way back and stayed ahead of Melges and Ullman to finish up fourth, which was good."