After a tricky final race yesterday Argyle Campbell and crew win Melges 24 North American championship

In a tense and tricky final race on Lake St Claire, Detroit, California’s Argyle Campbell and his crew of Don Jesberg, Robert Kinney and Aaron Serenis aboard Rock & Roll became the Melges 24 North American Champions 2004.

Second place went to Britain’s John Pollard, sailing Westward Sails, with Brian Porter and the Full Throttle crew from Wisconsin third. Tom Freytag, also from Wisconsin and sailing Wicked Feet with Billy Freytag, Rob Rowe and junior, took fourth place overall and also claimed the Melges 24 North American Corinthian Championship, for all amateur crews, despite being unable to sail in the final race.

Two attempts had to be made to complete the final race of the series with the first eventually running out of time after the wind died off completely. By 1230 a moderately stable 4 knots had filled in from 180 and the fleet was underway again on a much shortened 0.6 mile course.

At the first mark John Pollard headed the fleet from Melges 24 newbie Mark Hollerbach, competing in his first Melges 24 event, with Brian Porter and Travis Weisleder hard on their heels. Campbell rounded in 11th place leaving him plenty of work to do to defend his 4 point lead. Down the first run Campbell pulled up to 10th and the leading five held their slots. At the leeward mark Campbell played his joker by tacking right immediately on the mark whilst the rest of the fleet initially stood out to the left. Pollard tried to hedge his bets but as the fleet came together at the second weather mark both Hollerbach and Pepe Parsons, helming for Tim Hawkins, had managed to slip by him. Campbell’s early tack had done the trick and he rounded fourth ahead of Porter and Weisleder.

On the final run the fleet gybed immediately with the exception of Pollard who made a last ditch effort to put some boats between himself and Campbell by holding on starboard briefly but a shift had turned the run into a port gybe benefit and he quickly cut his loses and gybed over. At the finish it was Hollerbach, Parsons, Pollard, Campbell, Porter and Weisleder.

Overall Argyle Campbell scored 21 to win by 3 points from John Pollard on 24, with Brian Porter third on 29. Tom Freytag was fourth with 34 and led the Corinthian Division by 9 points from Chuck Holzman on 43 with Travis Weisleder on 41 and Joe Woods on 65.