Charleston – The final day at of the 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship hosted by the Charleston Yacht Club (ChYC) commenced as originally forecasted – light to almost no breeze. Plenty of sunshine and warmth prevailed, but very little on the wind horizon resulting in an immediate on-shore postponement. PRO Hal Smith kept teams up-to-date on the half-hour, every hour until it was realized that there was no hope for any racing on the final day in Charleston.
That said, the results from Saturday stand as final and Brian Porter on Full Throttle (USA-849) has won his seventh Melges 24 U.S. National Championship title – an accomplishment that has barely been challenged here in the United States. 2016 National Champ Bora Gulari has won the trophy only twice (2011, 2016) – no one yet has come closer to reaching that same number of wins.
Porter was joined by tactician Andy Burdick, his son R.J. Porter and fellow 2013 World Champion crew member Matt Woodworth. While accepting his award, Porter introduced and thanked his team, the Race Committee for their efforts particularly on Friday in the big breeze, and of course, all the restaurants in Charleston.
In second overall, is John Brown’s Blind Squirrel (USA-547), which is quite a stellar achievement as he has been in the fleet for less than two years. Completing the overall podium is Kevin Welch’s Mikey (USA-838).
A huge round of congratulations goes out to KC Shannon on Shaka (USA-801) – a team that has worked so hard to rise to the top of the all-amateur division. Mike Miller, Doug Nickel and Tom Sawchuck sailed as crew. “I’m really in disbelief. I can count on my hand how many races/regattas I’ve ever won,” said Shannon. “This is better than any dream I could come up with in the Melges 24. We’ve taken our lumps over the years, so with this win, we know we are really blessed. We’re looking forward to coming back for more by sailing at Race Week.”
Brent McKenzie’s Ex-Kahn (USA-575), who led the fleet on Friday finished the event in second place, followed by Great Britain’s Stuart Simpson on Team Barbarians (GBR-691) in third.
At the prize giving, each crew member of the top three teams in each division took home some amazing Gill Race wear, customized with their insignia. Congrats also to George Haynie Firewater (USA-687) as he won the jib given by Quantum to a ranked Corinthian team.
The 2017 U.S. Melges 24 National Championship was Act 2 of the Quantum World Winter Series (QWWS), and is Stage 1 of the 2017 NorAm Tour. The 2016/17 QWWS wraps up in a couple of weeks at Sperry Race Week. As for the NorAm Tour, things are just getting going. The U.S. Nationals was Stage 1. The second Stage takes place on July 19-22 at the Gorge/Cascade Locks, Ore. – NorAm Championship. The 2017 Canadian Nationals serves as the third and final Stage of the 2017 NorAm Tour. Online registration is currently open for both events.