Shark attack

Philippe Kahn's 14 year old son trounces Harry Melges at Melges 24 Worlds reports Fiona Brown

Friday October 17th 2003, Author: Fiona Brown, Location: United States
If you'd told us six days ago that a fourteen year old kid would have Harry Melges on the ropes going into the final day of the Audi Melges 24 World Championship in San Francisco we'd have politely laughed you out of court. Today we have egg on our faces and Shark Kahn and his Pegasus 1 crew of Richard Clarke, Mark Christensen, Brian Hutchenson and Brian Lee have Harry Melges, Jeff Ecklund, Hans Melges and Steve Inman well and truly worried.

Today's two races brought thrills and spills as Melges and Kahn both found themselves down in the cheap seats for a change. After yesterday's shifts the wind was rock steady at 225 and racing got underway at lunch time in 6 knots, which increased to around 16 knots by the end of race eight.

The first start was fraught and Harry Melges ended up wallowing in the third row as the fleet, and his main rival, sped off up the beat. After a first mark rounding at 29th Melges spent the race playing catch up to eventually finish 11th. Kahn meanwhile was once again showing that he is not to be trifled with and took second place on the first lap behind Paul Brotherton, helming for Ian Cleaver. By the second windward mark Kahn had the lead and eventually won by nearly two minutes. Brotherton duelled with Kerry Poe for second as Brian Porter, Flavio Favini, helming for Franco Rossini, Egidio Babbi and Sebastian Col made heavy work out of fourth, eventually crossing the finish line in that order within seconds.

In race eight it was Kahn's turn to find himself out in the cold. Having put in a respectable beat he looked set for a top ten first rounding as he approached on port. Unfortunately the starboard layline was full to bursting and couldn't find a slot until the low 20s. If his older and more experienced rivals hoped this would leave the youngster dazed and confused they were to be sadly disappointed and Kahn simply dug in and worked his tail off, finally finishing sixteeth. Up ahead Melges was fairing only a little better, his first mark rounding of tenth seemed solid enough and with his legendary speed the spectators fully expected him to storm his way to the front. By the second windward mark he was up to seventh but he lost again on the second run and found himself back in tenth, eventually just pipping Sebastian Col on the finish line for eight. At the front of the fleet reigning Melges 24 European Champion Luca Santella, helming Giovani Maspero's Joe Fly Team, took the tape for only the second time this regatta winning the race by a over a minute. Brian Porter eventually took second after some fun and games with Dave Ullman. Don Jesberg was fourth while Sheldon Ecklund and local hero Seadon Wijsen struggled over fifth with Ecklund finally getting it. Rob Greenhalgh, helming for Paul Lovejoy, came in seventh just ahead of Melges.

Going into the final day Shark Kahn now leads on 17 points with Harry Melges just one point behind him. Brian Porter (42 points) and Luca Santella (47 points) are set for an equally tight battle for third place. Since Cedric Pouligny and Morgan Reeser swopped helm/tactician roles the P&P Team have seen an significant improvement in their fortunes and they are now lying fifth overall (65 points) ahead of Egidio Babbi (71 points), Rob Greenhalgh (72 points), Dave Ullman (74 points), Paul Brotherton (78 points) and Jamie Lea (84 points).

The leaders were not the only ones to have an eventful day. The most serious incident was a leeward mark collision in race eight between Keith Grzelak and Denise Surtees which left Grzelak with a large hole in the port quarter and Surtees with a broken pole. Fortunately Grzelak's crew were able to stuff the hole with a sail bag and keep the boat fully heeled to starboard for the tow home. Martin Wedge was the other high profile casualty when he lost his rig in race eight and found himself forming an interesting obstruction on the second down wind leg. Fortunately the St Francis Yacht Club safety team swung into immediate action in both cases escorting everyone safely to the dock.

Two final races are schedule for tomorrow, although the fact that racing is already postponed until noon and no races can be started after two pm will make for a tight programme.

Positions

Pos Sail No. Boat Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Tot
1 49 PEGASUS 24-1 Samuel "Shark" Kahn 5 3 1 2 3 2 1 16.00* 17
2 17 STAR Harry Melges 1 1 2 4 1 1 11.00* 8 18
3 24 FULL THROTTLE Brian Porter 8 8 12.00* 3 7 10 4 2 42
4 4 JOE FLY Luca Santella 3 6 14.00* 1 14 9 13 1 47
5 9 P&P SAILING TEAM Phillipe Ligot 22.00* 10 20 14 2 3 7 9 65
6 3 EBREX LOGISTIC Babbi Egidio 10 13 3 22.00* 9 13 6 17 71
7 12 UNPROTECTED Robert Greenhalgh 2 9 28.00* 7 18 4 25 7 72
8 39 Dave Ullman 19 7 13 5 11 16 24.00* 3 74
9 11 Ian Cleaver 18 69.00* 6 10 12 15 2 15 78
10 13 BLACK SEAL Jamie Lea 17 18 29.00* 9 4 5 12 19 84
11 68 HOME SLICE Seadon Wijsen 6 16 18 16 26.00* 14 9 6 85
12 6 BLU MOON Flavio Favini 14 2 23 23 29.00* 8 5 12 87
13 38 MONSOON Bruce Ayres 13 30.00* 5 8 21 28 10 11 96
14 50 PEGASUS 24-3 Philippe Kahn 7 5 17 13 22 11 29 35.00* 104
15 64 EGO Don Jesberg 33 19 16 11 5 21 37.00* 4 109
16 14 BARBARIANS Rob Smith 16 24.00* 15 19 20 20 8 13 111
17 18 TICKLER Sheldon Ecklund 26 20 41.00* 20 6 18 17 5 112
18 21 WINDQUEST John Bertrand 9 11 45.00* 18 13 17 26 20 114
19 20 GILL Stuart Rix 12 4 22 28 8 12 44.00* 32 118
20 10 GROUPE LUNCIEN BARRIERE Olivier Ponthieu 4 33 8 21 35.00* 26 30 10 132
21 37 ROCK N ROLL Argyle Campbell 23 23 27 33.00* 16 7 28 14 138
22 26 WICKED FEET Tom Freytag 34 22 35.00* 26 10 6 21 22 141
23 61 CAVALLINO Lammens / Draganic 30 21 7 12 25 34.00* 31 21 147
24 8 WICHARD Le Moign Damien 29 17 9 24 23 22 40.00* 24 148
25 72 BACKBREAKER Kenneth Kaan 31 15 4 15 30 31 39.00* 23 149
26 43 SOUTHERN SPARS James Spithill 21 14 26 30 33.00* 27 18 26 162
27 59 SABOTAGE Jeff Thorpe 24 28 21 29 31.00* 19 22 25 168
28 7 HARD CORE Charon Benoit 15 27 10 17 43.00* 32 42 31 174
29 2 MASUI M Dietrich Scheder 37.00* 37 25 27 27 23 19 18 176
30 40 AVERAGE WHITE BOAT Doug Weitz / Matt McQueen 11 27 38 6 24 69.00* 34 39 179
31 58 GRINDER Jeff Littfin 28 31 31 42.00* 19 35 15 30 189
32 47 MINOR THREAT Peter Dalton 25 32 33 32 27 30 52.00* 29 208
33 67 SURFEIT Peter Vessella 49 69.00* 11 35 17 44 32 25 213
34 15 Martin Wedge 32 12 42 39 45 24 20 69.00* 214
35 34 STRYK Kerry Poe 40 38 32 43.00* 34 37 3 33 217
36 48 SOFA KING FAST Dennis Bassano 20 26 69.00* 44 15 25 45 47 222
37 19 RHINO Sean Scarborough 38 39 52.00* 49 38 29 14 28 235
38 52 SMOKESHOW Scott Dale 41 69.00* 43 40 28 41 16 34 243
39 36 Jeffrey Brizes 27 43 19 54.00* 41 48 41 36 255
40 69 TEAM MOSELEY Rick Moseley 46 29 24 47 69.00* 36 46 27 255
41 23 FLYER 02 Chuck Holtzman 43 25 30 31 69.00* 49 35 44 257
42 62 SMOKIN Kevin Clark 36 35 65.00* 25 37 42 59 40 274
43 5 TAPE THAT Coco & Carlos Vroon 45 40 62.00* 41 36 38 36 38 274
44 35 BANDIT Andy Mack 39 34 51 55.00* 32 51 33 37 277
45 16 SILVER Joe Woods 47 69.00* 34 36 39 40 51 53 300
46 75 JOLLY TAR Bill Wright 69.00* 41 39 46 49 33 47 46 301
47 1 SITTING DUCK Claes Rojining 42 36 53.00* 48 40 52 48 41 307
48 51 GO DOGS GO Pepe Parsons 54 54 55.00* 53 47 39 23 50 320
49 60 ABRACADABRA III Dennis Surtees 35 42 49 37 53 47 63 69.00* 326
50 56 NIKITA Krak Arntson 62.00* 48 40 38 58 57 43 45 329
51 42 ENIGMA Hubert Guy 44 51 54 45 44 50 56.00* 42 330
52 65 LIGHT BRIGADE Warren Davidson 48 46 61 34 51 69.00* 55 43 338
53 27 TWISTED MISTER Keith Grzelak 57 44 36 51 52 55 66.00* 52 347
54 44 PERSONAL PUFF Dan Hauserman 55 55 37 50 56.00* 54 53 51 355
55 29 DANGEROUS WHEN WET Chris Winnard 52 47 58 58 46 69.00* 54 55 370
56 55 SEA YA Patricio Sly 69.00* 69.00D 57 59 48 46 38 57 374
57 46 CARPE CERVISIAM Dean Daniels 69.00* 53 50 56 61 43 61 54 378
58 31 GOOSE N'DUCK Paul Bennett 63 56 64 64 69.00* 56 27 56 386
59 53 BONES Robert Harff 69.00* 52 56 69.00D 54 45 62 48 386
60 25 BLINGBLING Evan Jahn 53 69.00* 46 61 64 69 50 49 392
61 28 TIKANGA Charles Guildner 59 58 48 69.00* 50 60 49 69 393
62 30 PUTTANESCA Marv Toland 64.00* 57 60 52 55 53 57 59 393
63 41 DONT BE NO DREAD Rob Arrand 65 69.00* 44 57 59 59 58 52 394
64 66 VA VA VOOM Nigel Donnelly 60 45 69.00* 62 57 62 64 60 410
65 32 TROPHY WIFE Glenn Klute 61 49 63.00* 63 62 61 60 63 419
66 33 USA 183 Doug Du Bois 56 69.00* 47 60 60 69 69 61 422
67 57 ATOMIC DOG Team Atomic Dog 51 59 66 69.00* 63 58 67 58 422
68 54 ROCKET WIDGET Darrel Lager 58 50 59 69.00* 69 63 65 62 426

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