Ullman Pulls Ahead to Lead the Melges 24s in St. Pete's

Ullman Pulls Ahead to Lead the Melges 24s in St. Pete's ©2009 JOY | U.S. Melges 24 Class Association Related topics:

14 February 2009

Racing resumed in St. Petersburg at the 2009 Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Regatta with four races, each with its very own winner. Coming out on top overall is 2007 Melges 24 World Champion Dave Ullman (Newport Beach, Calif.) on USA-515 with Doug Fisher calling tactics, Andy Escourt, Scott Liebel and Dan Wittig serving as crew. Seated second overall is fleet newbie and Melges 24 dynamo David O'Reilly (Charleston, S.C.) on USA-700 Ardor. In third, is the one, and only lady helm on the course Debbie Willits (Kemah, Tx.) on USA-657 Black Widow.

After a very short postponement, the AP was dropped and the fleet went racing the moment they hit the course under plentiful sunshine, moderate temperatures with a light southwest breeze at around 5-8 mph and light chop. The first start resulted in a general recall. The second start was intense as the pin end was favored and the fight was extreme with Ullman, along side of Paul Hulsey (Detroit, Mich.) on USA-740 Hoodlum Racing looking to the left for pressure. The racing was tight to the mark with the left paying off big for Ullman as he rounded the weathermark in first, then Hulsey, Willits was third and Argyle Campbell (Newport Beach, Calif.) on USA-630 Rock n'Roll was fourth and fellow West Coaster Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.) on USA-587 WTF was fifth. With each leg completed, Ullman extended his lead to take the win. Willits and Hulsey occasionally battled it out, while Campbell put the moves on the fleet taking over second. O'Reilly worked his way to the front to take third. Hulsey was fourth. Willits accepted sixth as she was overpowered by Neilly Williamson (Oyster Bay Cove, N.Y.) on USA-771 Millewa Milluna in fifth.

The second race was five legs and the breeze building ever so slightly for the start. John Podmajersky (Chicago, Ill.) on USA-511 has done well in St. Petersburg before and offered up an encore performance. A great start put him out front of the fleet early. Soon, he had placed quite a bit of distance between himself and the rest of the fleet and took the overall win. OSA Sailing's Ned Goss (Charleston, S.C.) on USA-626 4 Sale By Owner with Seth Seigler at the helm challenging for second place with Guy Mossman (Charleston, S.C.) on his brand new Melges 24 USA-786 and O'Reilly. Ullman recovered from a rough start and got back in the hunt eventually moving ahead of Mossman and Goss. 2008 North American Champion Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, Md.) on USA-751 Quantum Racing also made a move to challenge Ullman. In the end, Ullman took second, followed by Mossman and Goss. Hutchinson held on for fifth.

Around noon with the clouds moving in fast, the breeze was unsettled as it would drop off one moment and intensify the next. The cloud cover also created some cooler temps on the water but the racing was hotter than ever. Another three leg course was presented with Willits and her crew of Steve Burke, Jack Franco and Chris Nesbit nailing the win. Ullman and Hutchinson were knocking, but Willits, a long-time Melges 24 class member launched out front of the fleet on the first downwind run. Hutchinson and Hulsey were doing their best to try and catch-up, Ullman kept the leader pack within his sights. Willits focused on the racing and took the win, well ahead of Ullman in second and Goss in third.

The final race of the day brought completely overcast conditions to the course. The start was dynamic as O'Reilly looked to the mid-line sag for room to advance, Ullman pulled up alongside with speed off the start. O'Rielly had great momentum, but it was Hutchinson who took command of the fleet at the top mark, then Stuart McNay pushed to the high side on USA-620 Erica and O'Reilly in third. Right at the finish, Field came in and took the line just moments prior to Hutchinson in second. Hulsey pulled up for third.

Rob Butler (Ontario, Canada) on CAN-177 Eager Beaver remains atop the Corinthian division. He and his lovely wife Sandy, friend Barry Huibers and Jim Dickie are just ahead of Tampa's Bob Kroetsch on USA-457 Rogue in second. In third is another local — J A Booker on USA-119 Carmelita with Jesse Combs at the helm.

This event is the first of the very exciting, brand new 2009 SLAM USMCA National Championship Series.

TOP TEN RESULTS (After five races)

  1. Dave Ullman, USA-515; 3-1-2-2-5 = 13
  2. David O'Reilly, Ardor; 1-3-6-5-6 = 21
  3. Debbie Willits, Black Widow; 2-6-16-1-7 = 32
  4. Alan Field, WTF; 9-7-12-6-1 = 35
  5. Paul Hulsey, Hoodlum Racing; 10-4-14-8-3 = 39
  6. Guy Mossman, USA-786; 4-10-3-11-12 = 40
  7. Terry Hutchinson, Quantum Racing; 15-15-5-9-2 = 46
  8. Stuart McNay, Erica; 17-9-8-7-10 = 51
  9. Argyle Campbell, Rock n'Roll; 26.4/ZFP-2-7-12-4 = 51
  10. Seth Seigler/Edward Goss, 4 Sale By Owner; 19-12-4-4-15 = 54

Full Results

Photo Gallery

Each day the USMCA will be offering all the latest news, photo galleries and video. Also be sure to check out the Blog (http://blog.melges24.com/) and Melges 24 YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/IM24CA). We will be on the water and bringing you updates as it happens.

Also see the official event website www.sailingworld.com