Newport – A massive round of congratulations is in order for newly crowned Drew Freides on Pacific Yankee. He and his team which includes Morgan Reeser and Charlie Smythe are the 2017 Melges 20 U.S. National Champions.
It took eight challenging races over the course of three days and Freides’ extremely consistent performances to ultimately win the event by one point, ahead of John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti finishing second. Jason Michas’ Midnight Blue came third, Liam Kilroy’s Wildman was fourth and Jim Wilson’s Oleander rounded out the final top five standings.
As Friday’s rain gave way to a hot sun and blue skies, the wind went with it and Saturday morning looked like the perfect day for water skiing instead of sailboat racing. After a brief delay, PRO Anderson Reggio sent the fleet to the outside ocean race course to take advantage of a slowly filling seabreeze. As teams made their way past infamous Castle Hill, they were greeted with 6-7 ft swell, confused seas and no wind, leaving a portion of the fleet questioning the decision to enjoy Thames Street the night prior.
After a brief postponement to let the breeze continue to build and settle, Race Seven got underway with 6-7 kts out of the Southwest. Making no mistake about his intentions to seal the win, Freides started at the boat, tacked, legged it out into the right corner and took advantage of a nice starboard tack angle and pressure. The only boat besting Freides was Wilson who nailed the first beat on the right side, leading wire-to-wire for the win. Freides followed in second, and Daniel Thielman on Kuai was third. Kilroy had a tough time getting back from the left side of the course, but fought hard to grab eighth. The spread in points gave Freides the overall win with a race to spare.
In the final race of the day, Kilroy showed that his first race on Saturday was a fluke and took his fourth bullet of the series, cementing a second place finish overall. Capping off a stellar day, Wilson grabbed second, moving him up to finish the event fifth overall. Liam Kilroy sailed consistent to finish fourth. A very fast and well sailed team on Midnight Blue capped off the event with a final day 4-5 scoreline to secure third overall.
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