Melges 24 at St Petersburgh NOOD

Participation grows to 47 boats as Bertrand and Dockery win their divisions

Tuesday February 22nd 2005, Author: Joy Dunigan, Location: Australasia
John Bertrand and his Fusion M crew of Scott Nixon, Andrew Scott and George Peet are the 2005 Melges 24 St. Petersburg NOOD Champions. They were also selected as the first team to ever accept the award for the very first Overall St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta. Never once did Bertrand and his team score worse than third during the regatta. What was Bertrand's key to success? "Awesome sails, great crew!" Bertrand elaborated: "We came here with the idea to work on a few things. If we could win that would be great. I'd say we accomplished what we wanted to do. Tough fleet. We had a great regatta. The conditions were pretty challenging. We were able to get off the line and be in the front row most of the races, so we never had to scramble and take risks. It's really satisfying to do that, normally a couple of times you can get caught in the back and have to scramble for position. In this regatta we got out early and had speed."

The first race on Sunday started on time - winds 5-8 knots out of the east with a light chop. The fleet got off to a great start including Karen Gottwald on Cagey, Bob Dockery on Barracuda as well as Doug Fisher. Coming in three-wide on the first windward mark of a three-leg race, Fisher and Dockery were strong and both possessed tremendous boat speed. Simultaneously, Geoffery Pierini on Gazoo tacks in trying to squeeze in without touching the mark. He touched - Fisher and Dockery leave him behind, Bertrand slips right by rounding third. Jeff Ecklund Star rounded fourth.

Fisher, Dockery, Bertrand and Ecklund were really fast on the downwind run. They rounded all in the same positions at the leeward mark with Gottwald rounding fifth. The wind picked up a bit as they headed to the finish. Fisher, fighting the current, maintained his lead to the finish followed by Dockery in second, Bertrand in third, Ecklund was fourth with Pierini came back strong landing fifth.

The last race of the day was originally set to be a five-leg race and with the wind diminishing fast, the fleet was anxious to get the race off to a quick start. Bertrand once again, came off the line with great speed, this time his lead being challenged by Doug Kessler on Liberty rounding the first mark in second position right behing Bertrand. Fisher and Ecklund battled it out upwind with Fisher rounding third, Ecklund fourth, and Martin Kullman on Tommy Bahama fifth. Kullman had explosive speed downwind in the light air conditions allowing him to get ahead of Bertrand - if only for a moment - rounding the leeward mark in first, Bertrand second. Ecklund picked up a spot rounding third, Kessler dropped to fourth. On the second upwind beat, the winds really died leaving the fleet to contend with light wind and a very strong current.

All the leaders went to weather and what looked like they had overstood the mark, the current evened things out putting them right on the layline. The race committee decided to shorten the course and declare the teams would finish at the mark. Bertrand was first, followed by Kullman in second, Ecklund third. Fisher lost some ground on the second upwind beat coming in fourth and Kessler in fifth.

Overall this was a milestone regatta for the fleet. In 2003, the M24 fleet enjoyed 24 boats on the line. In 2004, we established the St. Petersburg NOOD as a North American Ranking event and the participation level soared to 34. This year, the competition increased to 47.

The 2005 Melges 24 St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta overall standings included John Bertrand in first place with 11 points. In second place was 2004 St. Pete's Melges 24 Champion Doug Fisher with 26 points followed by Martin Kullman in third with 44 points.

On Sunday the USMCA continued to award Corinthian winners as well as Overall Melges 24 Corinthian winners. Presented by USMCA Class President, Karen Gottwald; USMCA Vice President, Scott Gregory and Joy Dunigan, USMCA Class Communications Director presented to following:

Daily Corinithian Winners:
1.) Marc Hollerbach FOO
2.) Bob Dockery BARRACUDA
3.) Ryan Hamm WHEN PIGS FLY
4.) Paul Hulsey BUMPIN' DONUTS
5.) Travis Weisleder CARLOAN.COM

Overall Corinithian Winners:
1.) Bob Dockery BARRACUDA
2.) Paul Hulsey BUMPIN' DONUTS
3.) Marc Hollerbach FOO
5.) Ryan Hamm WHEN PIGS FLY

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