After a nailbiting final race, Keith Musto clinched the Melges naitonal championship from Jamie Lea
The Commodore Ferries Melges 24 UK National Championship from June11-15 at Guernsey Yacht Club attracted 25 entries from the UK and France.
Despite a relatively low turnout the quality of the fleet was extremely high and included reigning UK Champion Mike Budd, Paul Brotherton helming for Ed Leask, Olympic silver medallist Keith Musto, Jamie Lea helming for Richard Thompson, Rob Smith and Tom Freytag. Light and variable conditions in the early part of the week made for some interesting results with no one crew dominating at any point during the event.
Day one brought very light airs and saw Tom Freytag take the overall lead with a 1, 2 scoreline with Jamie Lea hard on his heels with 3,2. Rob Smith finished the day in third with Mike Budd fourth overall.
Day two was a flat calm and an early decision to abandon racing left the crews free to enjoy the delights of St Peter Port and in particular the local golf courses.
By day three the weather was beginning to improve and it was just possible to get another two races completed. Tom Freytag had an average day and only managed 11,9 dropping him down to third overall. Most consistent performers were Neil Harrison with two seconds and Paul Brotherton with two thirds while Jamie Lea and Keith Musto each scored a first and sixth. Overall Lea was now leading by 16 points from Musto with Freytag third and Brotherton fourth.
Day four finally produced some decent sailing conditions and all three scheduled races were run. Tom Freytag saw his hopes of winning the event evaporate when he was black-flagged in the first race of the day. Keith Musto was the day’s top performer with 4,1,2 while Jamie Lea managed to maintain the overall lead by 4 points with 2, 5, 4. Paul Brotherton pulled up to third while Rob Smith had a good day bringing him up to fourth overall.
Going into the final day Lea, Musto and Brotherton were all still very much in the frame. Both of the scheduled races were completed and to put the icing on the cake the sun finally came out. Race eight saw a good old fashioned dog fight between Brotherton and Musto with Brotherton eventually getting the upper hand. Jamie Lea had a disastrous race ending up 11th while Rob Smith slotted in another third.
Going into the final race Musto led with 37 points, Lea was in second with 41.4 and Brotherton was third with 44. Battle was commenced and the spectating sponsors were treated to a superb demonstration of Melges sailing. Lea won the race by several lenghts but Musto hung on to second to take the championship overall. Brotherton’s third secured his third overall while Rob Smith came fifth to take fourth overall.
Thanks must go to the Guernsey Yacht Club, PRO George Chapman, sponsors Commodore Ferries, Cooper Brouard Ltd, WKD Vodka Blue, Guernsey Tourist Board and Long Port Properties Ltd and all those who helped make this such a successful event.