This weekend, on August 21-23, hosted by the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club (MBYC), 14 Audi Melges 20s will start the very first Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship with Sebago as the official footwear sponsor.
"There is an undeniable buzz in the air at MBYC. Everyone is incredibly excited. We are especially thrilled that we are the first to be able to hold the National Championship for the Audi Melges 20. Boats are already here. As you walk through the parking lot you can just feel the energy," says Regatta Chair Michael Kiss.
The vast majority of the competitors are from the Michigan area. Entrants include Chuck Holzman on Flyer, Charleston Race Week Champion Marc Hollerbach on Blackjack, Detroit NOOD Champ Eric Wynsma on Superfly and John Arendshorst on Blink. Several teams are traveling from all parts of the U.S.A. to participate including Joe Williams from Seattle, Wash. on Habit, Dave Hammett from the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, Md. on Simplified Sophistication and Pieter Taselaar from New York, N.Y. on Bliksem.
Taselaar’s rise to Melges fame came to be and is ongoing predominantly in the International Melges 32 Class. This weekend he tries his hand at the Audi Melges 20. Plan on seeing members of his star-studded champion team in Macatawa such as Morning Light star Jeremy Wilmot calling tactics and Willem Van Waay as crew.
The origin of competition that awaits the fleet has no parameters. Breaking the border is John Sherlock from Port Credit, Canada sailing his Audi Melges 20 CAN-141.
Traveling all the way from Italy are two very strong competitors - Marco Morino on Sei Tu 20 and current Audi Melges 20 Sailing Series leader Benedetto Giallongo on Value Team. They are raring and ready to try their luck at racing in the U.S.A. Giallongo is currently undefeated in the Audi Sailing Series 2009. It’s pretty safe to assume this fleet has officially put him on notice.
Registration takes place on Thursday, August 20 with championship racing kicking off on Friday and continuing until Sunday. Full race reports and results will be published after racing each day.