As Good As It Gets, 2023 Melges 24 U.S. Nationals

October 6, 2023 - Fontana, Wisconsin, U.S.A. -  It was a wild and windy day for the 2023 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship fleet in Fontana, Wisconsin. After three races, two-time U.S. Melges 24 National Champion Bora Gulari sailing Knocky Knocky leads the regatta. Following in second overall is Geoff Fargo’s Sentinel and Brian Porter’s Full Throttle is third.

Gulari, who took a short hiatus from the Class is back and showing signs of being as strong as ever. “Today was awesome. Lake Geneva on a breezy fall day is about as good as it gets,” said Gulari post-racing. “Lots of shifts and lots of opportunities today.”

Gulari is sailing with a couple of new crew members. Augie Dale and Nick Ford are sailing with the team now.

“To be on the Melges 24, with some of my very best friends is the best. We enjoy the action.” 

2023 Melges 24 U.S. Nationals | DAY 1

The day kicked off with Shea Gibson at Sailflow Weather, Andy Burdick from Melges and Scott Nixon and Dave Gerber with Quantum Sails giving a comprehensive look at the daily forecast. An interactive and informational breakdown of the conditions were thoroughly reviewed and explained. Click here for the Day 1 Weather Briefing and Local Knowledge courtesy of Quantum Sails.

The day started out sunny with a light breeze at the docks. Shortly thereafter, overcast skies moved in and the wind picked up slightly for the 1100 start of Race 1.

Gulari came off the starting line on fire, landing a solid bullet in Race 1. Fargo’s west-coast based team placed second, and Scot Zimmerman’s Bad Idea took third. Local racer Roger Lyon on Clean Break bested Mike Dow’s Flying Toaster for the early Corinthian division lead, followed by fleet newcomer Jamie Torres on Smile and Wave.

For Race 2, the rain moved in and the continuously oscillating breeze increased with Fargo trading places with Gulari making for an intense fight at the front of the fleet. Gulari and Fargo steered into Race three tied at 3 points each. Defending National Champion Porter moved up the ranks to take third. Chelsea Simms’s Straightarrow loved the breeze to finish in fourth followed by reigning North American Champion Richard Reid on Zingara

The fight for top position in the Corinthian division raged on with Dow moving into the lead and winning Race 2, Dan Berezin’s Surprise came second, while Torres remained in the hunt.

A massive squall about mid-Race 3 produced white-out conditions with gusts being reported at 30+. Heavy rain and big puffs hammered the fleet upwind to the final mark of the day. Gulari did well to capture the win, Porter finished second followed by Eddie Cox racing Zenda Express

The Corinthian division will be a hot-button all weekend. After one day of racing, the standings are super tight. Brent McKenzie’s Ex-Kahn from Georgia sits in first, and ninth overall. McKenzie had a fairly good day moving up slightly as each race unfolded. Torres is currently seated in second place Corinthian, followed by Dow in third.

Three additional races are scheduled for tomorrow with an 1100 start. Similar conditions are expected.

“The breeze tomorrow is looking like it will be a little bit more from the northwest, north-northwest, so that is going to make things a little bit more challenging. It should be an interesting day as the breeze should still be in the 15-20 range. Should be another great day of racing,” says PRO Terry Blanchard.

2023 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship sponsor Quantum Sails will be hosting daily weather briefings on Zoom. Each day, Shea Gibson from Sailflow Weather will lead interactive forecasts. He will be joined by Andy Burdick from Melges, with Scott Nixon and Dave Gerber from Quantum Sails for local knowledge and expert tips. It’s a great opportunity for teams to ask questions and prepare for the day! Register Now.

OVERALL TOP FIVE (Preliminary, After 3 Races)
1.) Bora Gulari, Knocky Knocky; 1-2-1 = 4
2.) Geoff Fargo, Sentinel; 2-1-5 = 8
3.) Brian Porter, Full Throttle; 6-3-2 = 11
4.) Eddie Cox, Zenda Express; 4-7-3 = 14
5.) Scot Zimmerman, Bad Idea; 3-9-4 = 16

CORINTHIAN TOP FIVE (Preliminary, After 3 Races)
1.) Brent McKenzie, Ex-Kahn; 14-13-8 = 35
2.) Jamie Torres, Smile and Wave; 13-11-14 = 38
3.) Mike Dow, Flying Toaster; 11-8-20 = 39
4.) Chuck Lamphere, Entente; 20-15-6 = 41
5.) Tony Stanley, Hermes; 19-12-12 = 43
Full Results
Photo Gallery

2023 Melges 24 U.S. Nationals | HIGHLIGHTS DAY 1