2018 Melges 24 US National Champions - CAN835 MIKEY -Jeff Madrigali-helm, Ian Sloan-trim, Kevin Welch owner & mast, Serena Village-bow - Photo: IM24CA/ZGN
2018 Melges 24 US National (Corinthian) Champions - USA549 AVERAGE,Santa Barbara, California -Kent Pierce- helm & co-owner, Eric Stokke-jib & downwind tactics & co-owner, Jon Bell- upwind tactics & spin,Lauren Bell-mast, Sarah Schaupeter-bow
STAGE 3 (FINALE) - 2018 DIVERSIFIED U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, BELVEDERE, CA (Sept 7-9)
The 2018 M24 NorAm Tour finished in style on the Berkeley Circle of San Francisco Bay. Many in the fleet considered this some of the best big-air MELGES 24 sailing they had ever experienced. Each day ofthisfinal Stage of the Tour started with a warm and sunny 15-16 knot breeze that built to 24-27 knots.
Soling Olympic medalist and Melges 24 veteran, Jeff Madrigali made a much anticipated return to the helm of Kevin Welch's CAN835 MIKEY to help the2017 M24 North American Championship victors and M24 NorAm Tour champion team claim the 2018 US Nationals. Richard Reid's CAN853 ZINGARA finished a close second and Kent Pierce's USA549 AVERAGE turned in a solid performance for third overall and first in the Corinthian division.
2018 M24 NorAm Tour Champion - Richard Reid had the following to say about the tour's final Stage on Berkeley Circle -
"I'd always heard that ‘The Bay' offered some of the best sailing you would do in a Melges 24 and I'd still say it was under rated! Reliable building breeze, square courses, great officiating and of course killer view. The SFYC was neat, friendly and poured the perfect martini, and who could argue with the view from that deck."
Here's some background on Zingara's success by Reid: "Thanks for the recognition, as you know this is a boat/fleet that rewards teamwork and practice so we stick to the following few basics:
An active playbook that updates settings and modes
Ongoing worklist and inventory sheet to keep Zing in top form
Arrive early to practice & make sure of setup
Arrange for tuning partners and coaching whenever possible
Put ourselves in harm's way ie travel and make sure we race against the best teams."
Reid shared a bit about the makeup of the team: "We know each other well, and have sailed with each other on and off for years. I have sailed with Billy Gooderham for 15 years, Mike Wolfs lives down the street from me and Scott Nixon has been helping me out with the Zingara program for 5 years now. To answer the question we have been sailing as a team for 18 months."
2018 M24 NorAm Tour (Corinthian) Champion skipper Kent Pierce gave us a few words on the USA549 AVERAGE journey: "So an IT guy, a commercial real estate broker, a mechanical engineer, a second-grade teacher and Jon Bell walked into a bar... let's go sailing they said, it'll be fun they said. So, they packed up their crap and drove to San Francisco. When they got there they learned a few things: what do you mean there's more than one type of spinnaker? How many turns over base?! Seriously? So, they packed up their crap and went back to their beer can races in Santa Barbara, bought another spinnaker and wound up their rig.
The next year they said, let's go to Santa Cruz, it'll be fun. And it was.(Brady's Yacht Club became the YC of record for the California Cup)
If Santa Cruz was that fun, the Gorge will be awesome! So, they packed up their tents and their kids and their sleeping bags and headed to Oregon for the North Americans where they had the best time ever! After they finished fourth overall and second Corinthian, they said "this is fun, let's keep doing this!"
But, sometimes life gets in the way and high school graduations are life events not to be missed, so the 2018 Worlds wasn't in the cards.
Having missed the Worlds made them even more eager for the US Nationals in San Francisco, where--on one of the many downwind planing legs, Jon Bell was heard to say, "I don't mind telling you guys, I'm having a lot of fun right now!"