The Melges 24 celebrated 20 years of incredible racing at this year’s World Championship at the San Francisco Yacht Club. Melges Rocks was the theme of the festivities and the week long event lived up to its billing. MELGES ROCKS.
Front and center of the activity was North Sails. Not only did North Sails represent in the final standings, but North Sails were on virtually every boat in one form or another. The North Sails are the best in the Melges 24 class and that was clear. The results prove it, the market share shows it.
The biggest advantage that we see on and off the water is the energetic sales force present at virtually every Melges 24 Regatta. In particular, this World Championship was filled with North Representatives helping sailors on and off the water.
North Representatives at this years Melges 24 Worlds included: Harry Melges III, Jim Gluek, Seadon Wijsen, Jeremy Wilmot, Charlie Enright, Vince Brun, Andy Burdick, Mike Wolfes, Federico Michett, Nigel Young, Maurice O'Connell, Jesper Feldt & Jamie Lea. Certainly there were others helping to represent North Sails. Thank you for this energy!
Throughout the 9 race series you could tell that the leading North boats had a speed edge in all conditions. The championship had a wide range of conditions. Wind varied from 8-18 and along with this the sea state varied too. One day of racing was under shore and the water was quite flat. Bottom line is the North Sails showed their speed advantage in all conditions and we feel that is why the North Sails are so popular. They are easy to tune, fast in all conditions and well supported by an expert group of sailors.
Congratulations to Don Jesberg who is a local favorite and excellent sailor. Don won the World Championship Corinthian Division on and off the water. Superior sailing with his team powered by North Sails but Don was also a gracious host to all of the sailors. Communicated well in advance to so many, guided and helped so many as they arrived to his hometown. We are proud to have Don on the North Sails Team. Congratulations and thank you Don Jesberg and Team Viva!
Through the journey of the Melges 24, 20 years and going, Brian Porter and his Full Throttle team have been together racing, supporting, promoting the Melges Team and North Sails. Leading up to this years championship Brian can be proud of being the North American, US National Champion, Gold Cup Champion and pretty much every other regatta champion there could be in the is prestigious class.
Three times he has been second in the World Championship and in two of these occasions he had the opportunity to win the title on the final run of the final race only to come up short. Gracious as always and always a proponent of excellent sportsmanship, Porter would always congratulate the winning teams. Always very heart felt and sincere. This time around though Brian Porter raced the final race of the worlds care-free and confident. Appreciating the opportunity to be close to that World Title once again. This time though Brian Porter and the Full Throttle Team wins.
1. Brian Porter
2. Flavio Favini
3. Kim Christensen
4. Bora Gulari
5. Nathan Wilmot
6. Giovanni Pizzatti *
7. Riccardo Simonesci * >
8. Terry Hutchinson
9. Harry Melges III
10. Andrea Racchelli
1st Place Corinthian World Champion – Don Jesberg
So, what is the inside story. How did Porter do it and what sails did he use to win the Melges 24 World Championship?
North Sail Selection:
Through careful thought, sailing and preparing and great counsel from the likes of Vince Brun, Harry Melges and Federico Michetti, Team Full Throttle raced with the following standard designs from North.
AP-3 Mainsail – now with a Black Film which makes the sails look even faster! The standard shape that is so consistent in all conditions. Easy to tune and trim.
J-7+ Jib – This North jib design has been around for a long time and has proven to be fast in all conditions. Porter wanted to play the conservative route as none of his team felt that the Big Winds in San Francisco would stay throughout the championship. The prediction was correct and this sail helped to win the World Championship in the varying conditions.
Max Runner – Not sure there if anyone faster in the Melges 24 downwind than Brian Porter. Brian’s choice has always been the North Max Runner. A versatile sail that can be used in all conditions. This sail was used in 7 of the 9 races at this years World Championship by Team Full Throttle.
PZ-2 – A new sail that has a far greater range than advertised. A sail you can race at full speed in the passing lane (higher mode). Also a sail that you can race at in a typical VMG mode. This is not your average reacher. The sail has more cross over making it a safe bet. The race that Full Throttle won at the Worlds was 16 knots at the start and dropped to 8 knots in the end. The downwind speed was strong in this race even as the wind diminished. This sail is a must have for your arsenal.
World Championship Focus
Our team was fortunate enough to race with now 5- time Melges 24 Champion Federico Michetti. We have known Federico for a long time. Raced with him and against him on so many occasions. Here is the insiders scoop on what Federico brings to a Melges 24 program.
Strong preparation: In his mind, the boat needs to be 100% in all aspects before he can freely go race around the track. Don’t bring any extra gear when you sail with Federico. And make sure you have the minimum in terms of spares on the boat. From bow to stern, Federico makes sure everything is clean, well maintained, taped, tuned and ready to rock and roll come day one of racing. He will not walk away from the boat until it is done. He would never leave the boat with a work list for morning. It was done that night knowing that the next race day was for focusing on that day’s racing conditions.
Tuning – he follows the North Tuning Guide – no secrets!
Upwind Weight Movement – Federico is aggressive with his weight movement upwind. Fore and aft movement. In flat water, marginal hiking the crew is far forward in the boat. If we move into the boat we lay low or flat. He was also quick to move the forward crew inside the boat if it looked like it would stay light for a time period. If the wind increases and the chop builds like we have all seen in San Francisco, Federico is quick to move the crew weight aft some so that the bow is out of the water through the waves. This proved to be FAST. Windy or light, Federico has an extremely sensitive feel for what the boat likes. We suggest you try the same. Move around, feel the boat and try different weight techniques.
Downwind Sailing – Ok, biggest secret of all. Are you ready…..???? This comes from Brian Porter and Federico actually. Donwnwind we like to keep the luff of the kite firm in most conditions. Meaning, not a lot of curl along the luff of the asymmetrical sail. This keeps the leech of the sail firmer and allows you to sail fast and low. This is fast and a trick we have perfected over the years. Federico is a master of this. Full Throttle downwind speed! You can do this with either sail – the Max Runner or the Power Zone Reachers. Try this, you will like it.
Downwind Weight Movement – never be slow to react to the wind and angle of heel. Too many boats kept their weight all the way aft as the wind diminished in many of the races. Move forward, keep the boat on what we call a “lazy plane”. Never a very high angle, but never low and slow. Move your weight fore and aft to see what is best. Be aggressive in your weight movement. If you stay in the back of the boat too long you will be forced to sail a high angle. Searching for speed and for wind. By sailing lower in the cross over conditions that we had in San Francisco we easily picked up over 20 boats through the 9 race championship. Possibly more. However, when it is time to rip – get your weight aft and get your Melges 24 in the groove – there is not another boat on the planet like it. FUN.
Jib Trim – Trim hard. Sure, you want to have the leech tell tale on the jib to flow but maybe not all of the time. A slight stall from time to time in the moderate, flat water condition proved to be really fast. We would exit a tack with the jib tell tale flowing. 30 seconds later we would go to our max trim point which forced the leech telltale to stall 50% of the time. From off the boat and to leeward, the leech of the jib looks quite closed up high but with a high aspect (tall ) jib you need the top to be closed. This is really good in the 10-16 range. Below 10 and above 16 you need to be careful not to trim too much – keep flow up high – especially in extreme chop.
Thank you to the San Francisco Yacht Club and all of the hard work the members and volunteers put into this major championship. Sperry Top-Sider for being the primary sponsor as well as all of the other sponsor associated with the Melges 24. Thank you to the Melges 24 Class and in particular Fiona Brown for her hard work and dedication over the years. She is fantastic.
If there is ever anything North Sails can do for you Melges 24 program please count on a long list of experienced representatives. Tuning, Technique, Sail Selection – count on the North Sails Team to help.