Kopf into the lead

Near perfect scoreline for Charleston team at the Melges 24 Atlantic Coast Championship

Saturday November 22nd 2008, Author: Joy Dunigan, Location: United Kingdom
The 20 boat strong Melges 24 fleet could not have asked for more perfect racing conditions for the 2008 Atlantic Coast Championship (ACC) hosted by the Davis Island Yacht Club located off Tampa Bay, Fla. It's no surprise that Steve Kopf on USA-773 Blur from Charleston, S.C. and his comprised team of Michael Miller, John Milligan and Chuck Coyer had a big day. They were blazing fast and just simply blew the competition away by handing out a 1-1-2-1 score line.

"It was the whole package today," said Kopf following racing. "The breeze actually held up longer today than I thought it would. We went out early and got the rig tuned just right. By the first race the boat felt great and was doing exactly what we wanted it to do. This is how we like to sail. The crew work was really awesome today. We were on fire!"

A total of four great races were conducted - three windward/leeward Course 4s followed by a nice extended five-legger wrapped things up nice for the fleet. The conditions. Stellar. Really beautiful weather with relatively warm temperatures and some shifty, dying breeze ranging from 12 knots to as much as 18 made for a great day out on the water.

The story of the day was Kopf's dominance, however his strong performance was complemented by John Kolius on USA-776 KO Sailing from LaPorte, Tx. Kolius and his crew of David Clement, David Whelan and Nicolas Guzman showed some speed of their own. They lashed out at Kopf in race two taking the win. His perseverance served him well giving way to a well-deserved 2-1-2-4 result. Kolius' team put up a great fight as did USMCA President and IMCA Vice Chairman Travis Weisleder from Richmond, Va. on USA-605 Carloan.com. Weisleder is in good company as well - Ed Furry, Skip Dieball and John Wake are crew.


Amateur's are a growing part of the Melges 24 class. More and more sailors are understanding this division of the class and are really warming up to the recognition possibilities if you compete as a Corinthian. This year the class has implemented a new process by which these unique teams qualify. The Melges 24 Class rules state that in order to be considered eligible all crew members aboard must maintain a Cat 1 classification from ISAF. Cat 2s are permitted on Corinthian teams only as crew, they may not helm. Teams now need to turn their Corinthian Declaration forms into the USMCA by a given deadline prior to an event. A challenge period follows. Then, at the onset of the event, a final roster is supplied to the Race Committee for scoring and posting on the official notice board.

For the 2008 ACC, ten teams qualified for the division. That's half the fleet and an overwhelming majority of them can be found in the higher percentile of the fleet!
As with the overalls, it was an awesome day for Corinthians. This all-amatuer division really raced their hearts out today. In particular, Rob Butler from Ontario, Canada on CAN-177 Eager Beaver is seated in fourth place overall, first Corinthian; followed by Joe Blouin from Sarasota, Fla. on USA-719 Wicked Witch in fifth overall, second Corinthian. In sixth overall and third Corinthian is fleet newcomer Bob Kroetsch on USA-457 Rogue. A very special congratulations goes out to Bob as he claims the highest score of the day in the Corinthians, a second place finish in Race Four of the day.

"We took a look up the course and chose the right because we felt there would be more breeze on the right side. So we just worked our way up the course and made it happen," said Kroetsch. "This was so much fun. We've never sailed in breeze quite like this. We look forward to doing more of this."

Top 10 overall results (after four races)
1.) Steve Kopf, Blur - 1-2-1-1 = 5
2.) John Kolius, KO Sailing - 2-1-2-4 = 9
3.) Travis Weisleder, Carloan.com - 3-6-3-5 = 17
4.) Rob Butler, Eager Beaver - 6-3-4-12 = 25
5.) Joe Blouin, Wicked Witch - 8-8-7-7 = 30
6.) Bob Kroetsch, Rogue - 13-7-12-2 = 34
7.) Gary Schwarting, Obsession - 7-5-14-10 = 36
8.) Bob McElwain, Scooter - 9-14-6-11 = 40
9.) J.A. Booker, Carmelita - 12-10-13-6 = 41
10.) Shane Vowels, I'm With Stupid - 11-13-10-8 = 42

Top 10 corinthian results (after four races)
1.) Rob Butler, Eager Beaver
2.) Joe Blouin, Wicked Witch
3.) Bob Kroetsch, Rogue
4.) Gary Schwarting, Obsession
5.) Bob McElwain, Scooter
6.) J.A. Booker, Carmelita
7.) Tommy Clough/Jim Gunderson, BIG SKY
8.) James Whatmore, Goux Get Moma
9.) George Haynie, Firewater
9.) Tony Stanley, Hermes

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