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2019 Melges IC37 US National Championship at Newport, Rhode Island - Day 1

by Melges Performance Sailboats 28 Sep 2019 06:25 BST 27-29 September 2019
2019 Melges IC37 National Championship © Melges Performance Sailboats

With the first summer sailing season for the Melges IC37 Class culminating in this inaugural Melges IC37 National Championship, it seems poetic that the Members Only syndicate team top the overall standings after issuing a "one-two punch" on Day 1. Two races were held in a light six- to eight-knot breeze, sunshine, and flat water - a perfect start to this prestigious event. A mere six points separate second through 10th place in the standings setting the tone for the rest of the Championship.

The Race Committee left the dock this morning with aspirations of completing at least one race in the northerly breeze before it died, and promptly fired the first warning signal of the day on time at 11:00 am EDT. The fleet, equally as eager to get racing, piled up on the starting line for an extremely competitive first start of the series. Despite major traffic on the signal boat end of the starting line, the fleet was declared "all clear" and set off to the weather mark.

Race 1 ultimately came to a close with Members Only taking the win and RUSH crossing the finish line right on their heels. Ganson Evans and his crew aboard Old School finished Race 1 in third, followed by Alexis Michas, helmsman of Midnight Blue. Ken Colburn of Apparition 37 rounded out the top five.

The northerly breeze died, as forecasted, and the waiting game for the breeze to shift south and for a Race 2 began. Teams spent the hour delay swimming, playing games, and lounging until the wind finally filled in and it was time to get back to business.

Double Jointed skippered by co-helmsman Ray Wulff and Andy Fisher won Race 2 handily after dominating the pin end of the starting line, nailing every wind shift, and leading the fleet wire-to-wire around the race course. The Members Only syndicate team took second place followed by Qubit in third. Gamecock 37 narrowly snuck across the line in fourth ahead of Yonder in a photo finish.

Coming full circle at the end of the summer season, helmsman Jay Cross and his crew on syndicate team Members Only showed the fleet they are a force to be reckoned with on the water this weekend with a first and second place in today's races. "We came out pretty strong in the beginning (of the season) and then we fell off the cliff a little bit and we were changing our crew out a lot," Cross recounts. "We've tried to focus on having a steady crew, and today I think proved that consistency comes down to a great crew that really knows their jobs. Every little detail gets more important as the season goes on."

Despite having two more days and six scheduled races left to be contested, Cross is already reflecting on his experience in the 2019 Melges IC37 National Championship. "Even though the wind was a little bit fickle in some respects, we got two races off which I think is kudos to the Race Committee. It was light, very raceable, and it was warm - a really gorgeous way to end the season."

Melges IC37 teams hit the dock after racing, beaming from an incredible day on the water and headed back to the New York Yacht Club for the evening social. The sailors banded together outside of the Sailing Center and mulled over their experience sailing among friends and family in the Melges IC37 Class.

Having sailed in the Class earlier this summer, Christina Wiley excitedly teamed up with Impetuous V for the Melges IC37 National Championship and the experience on the water today didn't disappoint. "It was pretty awesome to have sunshine and light wind and our team was so fun," Wiley said. "Everyone on the team was so chill, did their job, kept a smile on, joked a little bit and everything went so smooth so it was pretty ideal, even with the wind delay."

The Race Committee will announce tomorrow's course area at 9:00 am EDT and racing is scheduled to begin with a First Warning at 11:00 am EDT.

For more results and event information, visit nyyc.org/2019-melges-ic37-national-championship.

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