Brian McMurray & Deb Campbell Win 2006 Melges 17 Midwinter Championship

Brian McMurray & Deb Campbell Win 2006 Melges 17 Midwinter Championship Related topics:

19 February 2006

Lake Eustis Sailing Club, Lake Eustis, Florida • The exciting new Melges 17 class held it’s first annual midwinter championship this past week at Lake Eustis, Florida. 15 teams made the trip from Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri, South Carolina and Florida.

Martin Zonnenberg, Richard Kinnie, PRO Dave Williams and a large team from Lake Eustis Sailing Club rolled out the red carpet for the Melges 17 teams this year. Lots of help with unloading boats, loading boats on the Zenda Express 8 boat trailer. Incredible new-hull trophies that went six deep for skipper and crew. A special dinner hosted by Martin Zonnenberg.

The sailing was fantastic. Lots of light air practice on Friday. Three light air races on Saturday which was probably good for the northern teams shaking off the snow and ice. Then two really fun and fast medium air races on Sunday. PRO Williams and his teams gave us perfect courses and lengths for the conditions.

The event saw several lead changes and opportunities really for five different teams to win had the races stopped at any point during the last two races. It was tight. We had four different race winners during the series which was great considering we had five races.

Ken Wruk (skipper) and Dave Navin

Brian McMurray (skipper) and Deb Campbell

Mary Anne Ward (skipper) and Sam Rogers

Kirk Donaldson (skipper) and Ian Donaldson

Ken Wruk and Dave Navin from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin made a strong comeback on the last beat of the first race to win this race. Less than 40 seconds separated the first five boats.

Brian McMurray and Deb Campbell showed their great speed like they had this year’s national championship and won race 2. This too was a come from behind win.

Mary Anne Ward with Sam Rogers crewing were the fastest boat downwind all weekend and they used that downwind speed to get by Blain Unicume and Eric Hood who led the first half of race 3. They won this race going away with their lead accented by a late but large last beat shift.

Race 4 saw Kirk and Ian Donaldson jump off the line fast in the breeze and they never looked back. They were tough all week. They had one bad race in the beginning that hurt them in the end.

Race 5 decided the event. It could have gone several different ways during race 5 and for that matter race 4. Brian McMurray and Deb Campbell showed why they were the regatta favorites going into this event and put the hammer down to win the race and the event.

Bob and Cam Heathcote actually were creeping up the ladder and came out strong on day 2 with a 2nd in race 4 but then fell to 9th in the last and final race.

Congratulations to Brian and Deb on their engagement. Congratulations also to Bob and now Cam Heathcote, as it was Cam’s birthday on Sunday. It was cool seeing some father, son combos there. Kirk and Ian Donaldson sailing together. Mark and Blain Unicume competing against each other. Many thanks to all the M17 sailors and Eustis Sailing Club members for assisting Team Melges with the unloading and loading of the massive Zenda Express Regatta trailer.


  1. McMurray; 4-1-3-3-1-=12
  2. Donaldson; 8-2-2-1-2= 15
  3. Ward; 2-5-1-4-3= 15
  4. Unicume, B.; 3-3-5-6-4=21
  5. Heathcote; 7-4-4-2-9 = 26
  6. Wruk; 1-9-6-5-6=27
  7. Marenakos; 9-19-8-8-5= 40
  8. Unicume, M.; 6-6-7-9-12= 40
  9. Tillema; 5-7-9-13-11= 45
  10. Brand; 11-8-11-7-8= 45
  11. Wynkoop; 12-11-13-10-10=56
  12. Filbreth; 13-12-14-DNC-7=62
  13. Fauntleroy; 10-15-10-11-dsq=62
  14. Dipasqua, C.; 14-14-12-12-13= 65
  15. Dipasqua, P.;DNF-13-DNF-DNS-DNS= 77

So that is a wrap-up on our first Midwinter Championship.

Check out It is a great place to sail in the winter time. Next up the C Scow and MC Scow Midwinter Championships.

Last but not least many thanks to Martin, Jeff Annis, Tommy Harken, Lenny Krawcheck for all the kind words given to me and the special awards given to me on my last day racing as a professional. It was very special for such close friends of mine to acknowledge where we have been together and how sailing has changed over the last ten years in the southeast with all of our combined efforts. Thanks guys!

PHOTO: Back Row (left to right): Cam Heathcote, Bob Heathcote, Ian Donaldson, Kirk Donaldson, Mary Anne Ward, Sam Rogers, Ken Wruk and Dave Navin. Front Row (left to right): Deb Campbell, Brian McMurray, Blain Unicume and Eric Hood.

For more information about the Melges 17 visit or go online at the Official Web site of the Melges 17 Class Association at

Eric Hood
Team Unicume
USA 145
Melges Performance Sailboats & North Sails Zenda.