Porter favourite

Rich Roberts previews the imminent 2007 FullPower Melges 24 World Championship

Wednesday May 2nd 2007, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States
Perhaps nobody has been sailing a Melges 24 longer than Brian Porter and few have sailed one as well, which may mean he is overdue approaching the 2007 Fullpower Melges 24 World Championship May 3-12, hosted by the Santa Cruz Yacht Club.

Porter, from the boat's backwoods birthplace in Lake Geneva, WI, has finished as high as second with "a couple of thirds," he said, in the class's nine previous global events, and he blew away the competition in the Pacific Coast Championship with four first-place finishes in six races on nearby San Francisco Bay last month.

Not all of the major international players he'll see at Santa Cruz were there, but the event was more intense than the norm in its position as a springboard to the Worlds, where there will be 60 boats from seven countries. But Porter's confidence has never been higher and his boat, Full Throttle, is living up to its name.

"We started really well and had great speed," he said. "I've played with a lot of different sails over the last couple of years trying to get an edge, and I've gone back to what I know. Now we have good speed with just our standard sails and setup."

A better test will be the Pre-Worlds tune-up regatta Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, at Santa Cruz preceding the Worlds May 8-12. Porter will be sailing with a crew of Harry Melges III, the 2002 world champion; Andy Burdick and his brother, John Porter.

Other strong contenders will include veteran Dave Ullman, current U.S. national champion Chris Larson, driving for Scott Holmgren; Italy's Gabrio Zandona, driving Joe Fly for owner Giovanni Maspero; Riccardo Simoneschi, the recent Key West winner, and past world champions Vince Brun (1998 and '99) and Samuel (Shark) Kahn (2003).

Porter, who turned 49 last weekend, is bouncing back from what he called "my worst event ever" at Key West in January when he finished 14th overall.

Now, he said, "All the top guys are equally fast. I always feel like we have an edge downwind . . . [and] "the windier the better for me."

At 6-7 and 225 pounds, Porter said, "I should be the guy hiking out in the middle of the boat," and he looks forward to a typically windy Monterey Bay - which it wasn't when he won the North Americans there a year ago. "We were all excited about planing downwind all weekend, but we had light air and rain," he said. "Lately they've had pretty good breeze. It makes it a lot easier in the big, tough fleets when there's breeze so you can extricate yourself from the pack."

The pack will include 'the gang of four' boats from the Pegasus fleet of Philippe Kahn, the creator of the camera phone whose Fullpower company is the title sponsor. But Kahn is emphatic that nobody will be team racing, not even him with his 17-year-old son, Shark. In the PCC where Ullman placed second, Shark was third and Philippe finished ninth.

"We are racing each other," Kahn said. "He tacked on me twice at the PCC...and you know the story of the Mumm 30 Worlds [in 2004] and how my protest cost him the championship."

The entry list also includes 27 Corinthians - boats without pros on board - led by German legend Alba Batzill driving for Eddy Eich as the current European Corinthian champions; 2002 U.S. national champion Bruce Ayres of Newport Beach, and St. Petersburg NOOD winner Othmar Mueller von Blumencron, a Swiss national living in Great Falls, Va.

The Santa Cruz YC hosts have a full schedule of activities planned ashore. The hospitality will include on-site concessions run by local businesses offering specialty coffee and pastries by Java Junction, pre-ordered race lunches by Erik's DeliCafé and bottled water by Crystal Springs, available by the case.

There also will be post-race social events, with complimentary beverage most evenings provided by sponsors like Sierra Nevada, Pusser's Rum and Seabright Brewery. Hors d'ouevres will be available each night, with dinners on two nights, featuring Polynesian specialties from Aloha Grill and BBQ'd tri-tip by club member/restaurateur Walter Oliveri of Aldo's.

There will be daily prizes for top-place finishers, sponsored by Harken, and giveaways from Pusser's Rum, West Marine, Starbrite and New England Ropes. There will also be some great raffle prizes, including a custom M/24 transport cover from Lohmann Sails and Covers. North Sails is providing skipper's bags, and all participants will receive discount tickets to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Full information, including Notice of Race, entry form and media info and registration, will be available at www.melges24worlds2007.com . Further information about the International Melges 24 Class is available from www.melges24.com .

Entries

Sail no
Name Skipper
Corinthian
USA-558  
Sofa King Fast   Bret Gripenstraw /   Dennis Bassano  
YES 
USA-617 
All or None  Chris   Doubek 
NO 
USA-555 
Ego  Donald   Jesberg 
YES 
ITA-643 
BETE BOSSINI  AMADORI   EZIO 
NO 
USA-077 
BONES  Robert   Harf 
YES 
USA-184 
TAMARACK RACING  Jeff Lindheim   Sam Vasquez 
YES 
USA-540 
BACON  Matt   MacGregor 
YES 
USA-347 
Cool Beans  Gary   Stuntz 
NO 
USA-331 
Go, Dogs. Go!  Tim   Hawkins 
NO 
USA-551 
gazoo  Geoffrey   Pierini 
NO 
USA-637 
Monsoon  Bruce   Ayres 
YES 
ITA-438 
Altea  Andrea   Racchelli 
NO 
USA-206 
O-Positive  Orion   Pritchard 
NO 
AUS-019 
Matilda  Richard   Leslie 
NO 
USA-678 
Pegasus 678  Pegasus   Racing 
NO 
USA-492 
Pegasus 492  Pegasus   Racing 
NO 
USA-575 
Pegasus 575  Pegasus   Racing 
NO 
USA-505 
Pegasus 505  David   Ullman 
NO 
ITA-693 
Giacomel Audi Q8  Riccardo   Simoneschi 
NO 
ITA-550 
Joe Fly  Giovanni   Maspero 
NO 
USA-052 
Derivative  Mark   Surber 
YES 
USA-024 
Smokin  Kevin   Clark 
YES 
USA-679 
gannet  Othmar   Mueller von Blumencron 
YES 
USA-498 
Personal Puff  Dan   Hauserman 
YES 
USA-595 
taboo  Stephen   Pugh 
YES 
GER-582 
Courage X  Edwin   Eich 
YES 
GBR-592 
Team Gill  Simon   Strauss 
NO 
USA-539 
Brick House  Kristen   Lane 
NO 
USA-631 
West Marine Rigging  Scott   Holmgren 
NO 
GBR-694 
Mojo  Miles   Quinton 
NO 
USA-525 
Flygfisk  Tom   Kassberg 
YES 
GBR-569 
Team Barbarians  Stuart   Simpson 
NO 
USA-140 
Wuuf Daddy  Dean   Daniels 
YES 
USA-397 
Grinder  Jeff   Littfin 
YES 
USA-570 
AIRIS  cesare   bressan 
NO 
USA-556 
Lounge Act  Loren   Colahan 
YES 
USA-330 
Trailblazer  Dave   Emberson 
YES 
GBR-676 
Bateauneuf  Eamonn   ONolan 
YES 
GBR-435 
Jam Jam  Michelle   Brachet 
NO 
USA-649 
Full Throttle  Brian   Porter 
NO 
USA-456 
Wiggle Room  Chris   Johnson 
NO 
USA-248 
Nothing Ventured  Thomas   Klenke 
NO 
USA-131 
Karma  George   Roland 
YES 
GBR-690 
excellent  john   pollard 
NO 
USA-066 
Goose n Duck  Paul   Bennett 
NO 
USA-520 
Flexi Flyer 2  Mitchell   Wells 
YES 
USA-606 
chillout  Jim Golden   /Brad Jungels 
YES 
FRA-571 
Groupe Partouche Casinos  Benjamin   Cohen 
NO 
USA-630 
Rock n Roll  Argyle   Campbell 
NO 
USA-587 
WTF  Alan   Field 
NO 
GBR-685 
Black Seal  Richard   Thompson 
YES 
USA-221 
Twisted Mister  Keith   Grzelak 
YES 
USA-553 
553
Vincent   Brun 
NO 
USA-181 
Partygirl  Ryan   Mitchell 
YES 
USA-044 
BRD  Paul   Clifford 
YES 
USA-219 
Pullen Realty Group  Jim   Granger 
YES 
USA-675 
12happythoughts  DAVID   BREDE 
NO 
USA-TDB 
tbd  bora   gulari 
NO 
USA-680 
680
Douglas   Forster 
NO 
USA-614 
Wheres Bob  Robert   Tennant 
NO 

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