Lovell/Benrud clinch it

Rougarou claims US Melges 32 National Championship

Monday September 14th 2009, Author: Joy Dunigan, Location: United Kingdom
Congratulations are in order for Andy Lovell on USA-136 Rougarou as he is the 2009 Melges 32 U.S. National Champion, also the division winner of the 45th annual Rolex Big Boat Series. Onboard with Lovell was his brother Johnny calling tactics, Scott Nixon, Karen Sproul, John Bowden, Burt Benrud, Jonathan Colarusso and Michael Danish. “We raced a bunch in light air, last week at North Americans was a learning curve. We prefer the heavy air, but we still never saw more than 20 knots.” said Lovell after collecting the title. “It was challenging and it made it fun.”

The final day of racing concluded under continued cloudy skies and light breezes. After an initial on-the-water postponement that lasted more than an hour, the fleet went racing. The one and only race was the historical, bay tour. It was a clean start with overnight leader Lovell out on the right for pressure who was quick to take the race lead.
A long reach up and across the bay resulted in Lovell rounding a minute ahead of Philippe Kahn (San Francisco, Calif.) on USA-166 Pegasus 32, then Stephen Pugh on USA-158 Taboo. Kahn was the first to set the kite for the second mark looking to make a move on Lovell's lead, gaining fast. Pugh in third, Don Jesberg on USA-162 Viva a little off the pace in fourth. On their way to the city front, Lovell stalled completely and at one point said they felt like they were going backwards. Lovell and his team got the boat moving again, but not before the entire fleet has passed leaving them dead last.
Kahn turned on the speed as he headed for the bottom, pulling out front by a substantial margin, Pugh right on his heels. They brought it back to the bridge for the finish, Kahn winning by approximately a minute-and-a-half. Pugh was second, Jesberg finished third. Lovell finished nine minutes behind.

Lovell won the championship with an impressive 1-2-1-5-1-1-4 scoreline putting him ahead by three points of Jesberg in second, Pugh finished third overall.

The International Melges 32 Class would like to extend a very sincere thanks to all the owners that traveled to compete and be with the fleet over the last two weekends. Without your participation the championships would not have been the same.

A very special thanks to North American Fleet president Stephen Pugh as he generously provided the class with the Taboo tender to bring race reports and photos to everyone back home that was unable to attend. Thanks to Tom Geisler, who traveled to promote the 2010 U.S. National Championship and assisted with driving the IM32CA press boat. Otherwise stories and photos would not have been possible.

An additional thanks to John Craig and Melanie Roberts with the St. Francis Yacht Club for accommodating the Melges 32 Class Nationals. The IM32CA looks forward to working once more with these fine individuals as the class prepares for the 2010 Melges 32 World Championship, hosted by StFYC.


Pos Boat Owner R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Tot
1 Rougarou Andy Lovell / Burton Benrud 1 2 1 5 1 1 4 15
2 Viva Donald Jesberg 3 1 3 3 2 3 3 18
3 Taboo Stephen Pugh 2 5 4 2 4 2 2 21
4 Pegasus Philippe Kahn 5 3 2 1 7/DNF 7/DNS 1 26
5 Melvin Pat Hughes 4 4 5 4 3 4 7/DNF 31
6 Full Throttle John Porter 7/DNS 7/DNS 7/DNS 7/DNS 7/DNS 7/DNS 7/DNS 49

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