Two More Bullets
For Harry Melges On Day Three
15 October 2003 - Harry Melges showed blistering speed on day three
at the Audi Melges 24 World Championships in San Francisco to
take two further bullets. Although very happy with his result
Melges by no means had it all his own way and today's racing
was fast, furious and incredibly close. Melges' nearest rival
for the Championship, fourteen year old Shark Kahn, kept up an
incredibly consistent performance posting a third and second
leaving him trailing by just five points after six of the ten
Conditions on the Berkley Circle were the most testing so far
with a shifting wind which built from 12 to 20 knots as the day
wore on. The start of race five was initially delayed as a front
went through and the wind flipped back and forward through 20+
degrees. After a general recall the fleet got going with some individual
recalls at the second try. The right hand end of the line was favoured
with the main players opting for right of centre up the first beat.
Britain's Jamie Lea, helming Richard Thompson's Black Seal Team,
troubled the front of the fleet for the first time this week
rounding just ahead of Melges, Argyle Campbell, Don Jesberg,
Stuart Rix, helming Team Gill for Simon & Quentin Struass,
Shark Kahn and Dave Ullman. The front of the fleet was incredibly
closely packed and with the flood tide pushing them away from
the mark a number of boats found themselves having to take a
second go at it or doing turns for infringements as they barged
their way in.
As the leaders took off down the run Melges was the first to gybe
away whilst Lea held on starboard into the corner. At the leeward
mark Melges was ahead by a whisker and took the left mark whilst
Lea went for the right. Jesberg slotted in third ahead of Phillipe
Ligot's P&P Racing, being helmed today by Le Defi America's
Cup mainsail trimmer Sebastian Col, who had swopped places with
Morgan Reeser. Shark Kahn was fifth and Rob Greenhalgh sixth.
Col and Greenhalgh had sailed impressive runs to move up from
eighth and ninth respectively.
The wind had gone left forcing the committee to relay the weather
mark for the second beat. Harry Melges had great speed and opened
up his lead to 40 seconds by the end of the leg. Shark and Lea
were neck and neck with Shark just getting the advantage as they
rounded. Jesberg led the rest of the pack off down the run followed
by Col, Ullman, Tom Freytag and Rix. Although Melges was out
on his own Shark, Jesberg, Lea and Ligot grouped up and were
changing places constantly down the run. At the leward mark Lea
just got in front of Jesberg from Shark and Col with all four
boats rounding overlapped.
On the final beat the leading pack went hard right and the spectators
were on the edges of their seats to see who would wind up second.
At the line it was Col who followed Melges in head of Shark,
Lea and Jesberg. Sheldon Ecklund had moved up to sixth with Brian
The unstable breeze meant a long wait for race six by which time
the tide had turned and the chop was building. The wind had settled
at 18 to 20 knots from 205 degrees and the fleet got away first
time with a few recalls. Again the smart money seemed to like
the right and this time it was Col who led at the first mark
from Melges. Behind them Shark Kahn was just able to sail over
Argyle Campbell to take third with Lea fifth and Greenhalgh sixth.
As they took off down the run Melges and Shark gybed early and
split from the fleet but at the leeward mark the top five places
remained the same whilst Philippe Kahn pulled into sixth infront
of Olivier Ponthieu and Greenhalgh.
On the second beat Melges just sailed right past Col who could
do nothing but watch him go by. Shark held onto his third place
as Greenhalgh made a couple of smart moves to take fourth from
Lea, Campbell, Freytag and Philippe Kahn. On the second run Shark
was the only boat to gybe off and gained as a result. Col had
a minor broach half was down loosing several seconds. At the
leeward mark it was Melges by 25 seconds from Shark. Behind them
Col, Greenhalgh, Lea and Campbell rounded together and set up
for a thrilling dog fight to the finish. Melges crossed the line
20 seconds ahead of Shark with Col eventually pipping Greenhalgh
for third with Lea fifth.
With six races completed the discard now comes into play and whilst
the top four positions haven't changed there is now a significant
points gap between Harry Melges (6 points), Shark Kahn (11 points)
and the rest of the fleet. Third placed Luca Santella, helming
Giovani Maspero's Joe Fly Team, scored a somewhat lacklustre
13, 9 today leaving him on 32 points while Brian Porter's 7,
10 gives him 36 points and fourth overall. Rob Greenhalgh moves
up from seventh to fifth (39 points), P&P went from sixteenth
to sixth (49 points), Dave Ullman dropped a place to seventh
(51 points) and Jamie Lea came up from eighteen to equal eighth
with Philippe Kahn (53 points). Stuart Rix came from fifteenth
to tenth (58 points).
With four more races to go it's still wide open between Harry Melges
and Shark Kahn and third to fifth are only separated by seven
points so we can expect plenty more fun out of this championship.
Full Results and Scores