Kevin Welch’s Mikey Gives Up Perfection, But Maintains Lead
2 June 2014
Article courtesy of Sam Rogers - Melges 24 Sailors exited their slips at Bayview Yacht Club in what looked like promising breeze out of the Northeast, and it appeared for a moment that teams would be able to stretch their legs, do some hiking and have some fast paced racing. As the course was laid and the temperature rose, the breeze slowly began to die resembling conditions similar to day 1, even lighter at times. Unlike the flat water the fleet was treated to, Day 2 saw left over lump which made the light air that much more challenging. After getting the first start off on time, the fleet struggled against adverse current, only to have the first race brought back after the breeze dropped below class minimums.
With a lengthy delay, a small thermal began to fill, enough to get another race off. Taking advantage of stellar starts thus far in the regatta, Kevin Welch with Jeff Madrigali serving as helmsman started near the pin, had a clean lane and was able to keep their boat moving fast to the left corner. Steve Rynne on Mojo challenged Mikey upwind, stay close on their heels around the top mark. Once on the run, Mikey would extend, continuing their “picket fence” scoreline of all first places, followed by a hard charging Zig Zag, then Mojo.
As the light conditions continued to show on the lake, the PRO got another race started, making it 5 races in the event that were raced at the minimum wind conditions. Race 5 got off cleanly, and a few moments after the start, it was Mikey once again who poked out on the boat end of the line and asserted themselves in the front of the pack. This time however, Augie Hernandez sailing with his brother Zach on High Voltage had enough of the pefect scoreline from Welch, and came charging in from the right side, taking a small lead around the first mark.
Maintaining the lead on the final downwind with Welch right on his tail, they both extended to the starboard corner downwind, and set up for the all important gybe. It looked like Welch would get a good jump, and be able to roll Hernandez, however the team on High Voltage was able to pull off a stellar light air gybe, get their breeze forward of Welch, and scoot out to take the bullet. While Welch lost his string of bullets, his performance for the day pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the rest of the fleet.
Post racing a class debrief was organized, allowing ideas about set-up, sailing in light air, and general tips to be exchanged between teams. Jeff Madrigali, Scott Nixon and Mike Buckley sat on a panel and led the discussion, and with great turnout from the fleet, there were some great questions and discussion points. The Melges 24 fleet is strong, and there is more to come in future events.