Lesa Gutenkunst Is 2009 Melges 17 Midwinter Champion!

16 March 2009

The 2009 Melges 17 Midwinter Championship was held this past weekend, unveiling the very first woman to ever win the coveted title — Lesa Gutenkunst from Pewaukee, Wisc. on the helm alongside her husband/crew John took top honors. Congratulations Lesa and John!

In addition to a successful run at Midwinters — Lesa and John won the Velocitek Speed Challenge with a 14.2 knots on Sunday. They are officially entered in the overall competition! 

Bill and wife Angie Wiggins placed second overall and in third was another husband and wife duo — class veterans Brian and Deb McMurray.

The three-day regatta produced some terrific sailing conditions and completed ten races total. The eight-strong Melges 17 fleet took to the open waters of Lake Eustis last Friday for 4 on Friday, 4 on Saturday and another 2 on Sunday.

The nice spring breeze prevailed in the mornings, but the fleet found itself waiting until the wee hours of the afternoons before chalking up the final two races each day. It was worth the wait! The breeze potential increased day-by-day until Sunday — perfect, awesome Melges 17 racing!

View the Official Photo Gallery for the 2009 Melges 17 Midwinter Championship 

Special thanks to Andy Burdick from Melges Performance Sailboats! On the prior Thrusday, he primed and primped the fleet with a full dose of Zenda University — the perfect warm-up to a super Midwinter Challenge! 

Official apparel sponsor SLAM took the fleet by storm. Everyone loved the gear! Thanks to Filippo Bovio and his team from at Regata, LLC for making this event very special.

Each day after racing, Latis Yachting Solutions supplied the beer. Thanks to John Woodruff — no one went thirsty!

The Melges 17 displayed the faster side of life as this event. It was the first of several to be featured on the 2009 Melges 17 Velocitek Speed Challenge Tour of Regattas. You too can attempt to set speed records. Get a Melges 17 and ride with the wind — as fast as you can! Stay close to melges17.com as more information regarding this very exciting aspect of the class will be posted. A sincere thank you from the class to Palmetto Performance Yachting for bringing this exciting new item to the class!

Thanks to the Lake Eustis Sailing Club for their warm welcome and hospitality! Race committee work from the Lake Eustis Sailing Club was spectacular — as always! 

More incredible Scow racing is on the way! This coming weekend — more than 75 MC Scows will converge on Lake Eustis for the 2009 Midwinter Challenge. Stay close to melges.com — photos and other updates will be coming at ya!